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Diff'rent Strokes 

The misadventures of a wealthy Manhattan family who adopted the children of their late African American housekeeper from Harlem.
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8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1986   1985   1984   1983   1982   1981   … See all »
2 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Conrad Bain ...  Philip Drummond 181 episodes, 1978-1986
Gary Coleman ...  Arnold Jackson 180 episodes, 1978-1986
Todd Bridges ...  Willis Jackson 172 episodes, 1978-1986
Dana Plato ...  Kimberly Drummond / ... 140 episodes, 1978-1986
Mary Jo Catlett ...  Pearl Gallagher 73 episodes, 1982-1986
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Storyline

Phillip Drummond, a widowed Manhattan millionaire and president of the mega-firm Trans Allied Inc., adopts two African American orphans from Harlem, 8-year-old Arnold and 12-year-old Willis. Drummond had made a promise to their dying mother, his housekeeper, that he would care for the boys after she passes away; their father had died years earlier. The boys, whom Drummond always introduced as his two sons, went from rags to riches literally overnight. At first, Willis was rather skeptical of their newfound wealth, but eventually, both he and Arnold felt right at home in their newfound surroundings. Also part of the family were Drummond's beautiful daughter, 13-year-old Kimberly; and his no-nonsense housekeeper, Edna Garrett. As the years passed, Mrs. Garrett left to become housemother at the Eastland School for Girls; she was replaced by the cantankerous Adelaide Brubaker and still later, charming Pearl Gallagher. Arnold's friends, Dudley and Robbie (and later, Charlie); Willis' ... Written by Brian Rathjen <briguy_52732@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Can the funniest, most opinionated nine year old south of Harlem find happiness as the adopted son of a suave, lily-white Park Avenue millionaire? (season 1)

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Family

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

45 Minutes from Harlem See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tandem Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (189 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For unknown reasons, Todd Bridges doesn't appear in the series finale. However, Willis only appeared sporadically during the final season, as he was largely away at college, and the series never aired a proper finale. See more »

Quotes

Philip Drummond: I'd better send for the limosine. Mother gets very impatient if she's kept waiting. I was born 3 days late. She didn't speak to me for a year.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Two hour-long episodes on the first season DVD are presented in their edited, two-part syndicated versions. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Bang Theory: The Infestation Hypothesis (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Diff'rent Strokes
(Theme Song)
Written by Alan Thicke, Al Burton and Gloria Loring
Performed by Alan Thicke
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

25th Anniversary--What You Talkin' About?
6 June 2003 | by juliafwilliamsSee all my reviews

It's hard to believe, but 2003 marks 25 years since Gary Coleman asked Willis what he was talking about.

Norman Lear, who broke a lot of ground heretofore with All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, and Good Times, continued his magic touch with Diff'rent Strokes. A 25th anniversary marathon on any given television station would be a great way to remember this show, notwithstanding that Miss Dana Plato is no longer of this earth.

This show made Gary Coleman Gary Coleman, and he truly made the show what it was.


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