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Diff'rent Strokes
Nancy Reagan visiting the set of Diff'rent Strokes in 1983
Created by Jeff Harris
Bernie Kukoff
Starring Conrad Bain
Gary Coleman
Todd Bridges
Dana Plato
Charlotte Rae (1978–1979)
Nedra Volz (1980–1982)
Mary Jo Catlett (1982–1986)
Janet Jackson (1980–1984)
Dixie Carter (1984–1985)
Danny Cooksey (1984–1986)
Shavar Ross (1980–1986)
Mary Ann Mobley (1985–1986)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 8
No. of episodes 189
Executive producer(s) Budd Grossman
(season 1)
Howard Leeds
(seasons 2-6)
Blake Hunter
(seasons 5-7)
Martin Cohan
(season 7)
Bob Brunner
Ken Hecht
(season 8)
Camera setup Single camera
Running time Approx. 21 min. (30 min. with commercials)
Original network NBC (1978–1985)
ABC (1985–1986)
Original release November 3, 1978 – March 7, 1986

Diff'rent Strokes is an American sitcom created by Jeff Harris and Bernie Kukoff. Diff'rent Strokes is set in New York City. It ran for 8 seasons and had 189 episodes. Diff'rent Strokes launched the career of four of its stars Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, Dana Plato, and Conrad Bain.


The show is about a rich man Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his daughter Kimberly Drummond (Dana Plato) living in an apartment in New York City. Shortly before his maid died, she wanted him to take care of her two children, Arnold and Willis Jackson (Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges). They go through funny adventures and face realistic problems that can effect Arnold or the Drummond family.

Cast and characters

Conrad Bain is the only cast member to appear in all Diff'rent Strokes episodes. Gary Coleman did not appear in two.

Main characters

  • Conrad Bain as Phillip Drummond, a friendly, rich white widower. He runs the Trans Allied, Inc. He was born December 3, 1931 in Manhattan. He has two adopted African-American sons, 12-year-old Willis and 8-year-old Arnold Jackson. He also has an older sister named Sophia. He then remarried Maggie McKinney.
  • Dana Plato as Kimberly Drummond, Phillip's only biological child. She was shown as a caring, loving big sister to both Willis and Arnold. As a rich teenager, though, she had various problems.
  • Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson, the younger brother of Willis. He was born in Harlem, New York City on October 19, 1971. Arnold was known for his catch phrase, Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?, which became a part of popular culture.
  • Todd Bridges as Willis Jackson, the older brother of Arnold. He was born in Harlem on April 27, 1965. Willis's catch phrase is Say what?

Other characters

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