Dana Plato

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Dana Michelle Plato (November 7, 1964 – May 8, 1999)[2] was an American actress notable for playing the role of Kimberly Drummond in the U.S. television sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. Plato's career declined after her departure from the show, with appearances in low-budget films including softcore pornography. She had longstanding personal problems and committed suicide on May 8, 1999, by overdosing on prescription medication.[3][4]

Contents

Childhood

Plato was born Dana Michelle Strain on November 7, 1964, in Maywood, California, to Linda Strain, an unwed 16-year-old, who was already caring for an 18-month-old. Linda Strain put her infant daughter Dana up for adoption. Dean (August 16, 1926 - February 24, 1997) and Florine "Kay" Plato (December 27, 1938 - January 2, 1988)[5] adopted the child in June 1965 and raised her in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County. Her adoptive parents divorced when she was three.[6]

Career in television and film

Kay Plato began taking Dana to auditions when she was very young. By the age of seven, Plato began doing television commercials, reportedly appearing in over 100 spots for companies as diverse as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dole, and Atlantic Richfield. She claimed she was offered two highly sought-after movie roles: the part of possessed child Regan MacNeil in the 1973 film, The Exorcist, and the starring role in Louis Malle's 1978 film, Pretty Baby. According to Plato, her mother vetoed both jobs, either fearing Plato would be typecast, or subjected to unsavory subject matter.[7] Exorcist author/screenwriter William Peter Blatty said in the book Former Child Stars: The Story of America's Least Wanted that he had "no such recollection" of Plato being offered the role.

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