At 45 years old, actor Todd Bridges has seen and done it all. For twenty-five years, he has victoriously survived a rapidly changing business and continues to work among some of the most famous and influential people in the world. Most recently penning the autobiography entitled Killing Willis, the talented phoneme shows no signs of slowing down.
Todd knew he was destined for show business when he was only six years of age while watching Sanford and Son. After moving to California at such an early age, he was quickly discovered and went to work on a Jell-O commercial. After that, Todd went on to book over 60 national commercials. As the first black child actor to become a series regular on a hit show, Todd starred on The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie opposite the late great Michael Landon. He went on to guest star on Barney Miller, which eventually spun-off into the series Fish.
However, Todd’s jump into super stardom came when Norman Lear set out to create a new type of show that would cross the racial boundaries. And when Gary Coleman and TV veteran Conrad Bain came on board, Diff’rent Strokes was born. In order to balance the Coleman’s wisecracks, the producers selected Bridges as his older brother, “Willis.” After introducing the American audience to the show in the fall of 1978, Todd Bridges became an international celebrity and household name by the age of 15. The show became an instant success and ran strong for eight years, over which Todd guest starred on various other shows including The Love Boat, Facts of Life, Hello Larry, Battle of the Network Stars, Circus of the Stars and was chosen to portray the role of Chicken George’s grandson in the historical television miniseries Roots.
After Diff’rent Strokes ended its long run in 1986, things became difficult for Todd. All of a sudden, no one would hire him due to his being typecast as “Willis Drummond”. He began to experience turbulent times, which would later lead to drug addiction and trouble with the authorities. While this would put a pause to his career for nearly ten years, Todd was able to turn his life around and has been sober ever since.
With a multitude of talents, Todd currently works as an actor, director, writer and producer. He has created his own production company, DVFILM WORKS and has starred in several projects including Dead Rail with Lou Diamond Phillips, Jane Doe with Lea Thompson, 1210 Camille Street with Faizon Love, Hollywood Horror with Tia and Tamara Mowry and A Testimony, and is the co-star to the Columbia Pictures film, “That’s My Boy,” starring Adam Sandler. He recently directed, produced and starred in the short about his life entitled Building Bridges and a full-length feature film called Full Circle. His directorial credits also include the feature film, Flossin, the life story of his pastor and childhood friend, Pastor Ernest Johnson.
Most importantly, Todd is a proud husband and father. He has been married for 12 years to his wife, Dori and they have a 12 -year-old son, Spencir and his 13 year old daughter Bo . Now an activist against drugs and alcohol, Todd continues to travel the nation speaking to thousands of kids each day, warning them about the dangers of drug use and negative peer pressure.