Dana Michelle Plato was born in Maywood, California on November 7,
1964. Her first excursion into the film world occurred when she was
eleven in the television film "Beyond the Bermuda Triangle". Dana
never really made an impact on the TV screen until she landed the
part of Kimberly Drummond in the TV hit sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes"
from1978-1984. After the series ended, Dana had a hard time trying
to find other acting work. Sometimes she would surface in a made
for TV movie or a low budget film for the silver screen. Times were
rough. Her marriage to Lanny Lambert lasted a year, but produced a
son. She was arrested in 1991 for robbing a video store in Las
Vegas, but was placed on probation. The following year Dana was,
again, arrested for forging a prescription for Valium. Things were
at a low ebb. She had just finished an interview with Howard Stern,
in the spring of 1999, when she and her fiancé, Robert Menchaca,
were headed back to California. The interview was one in which Dana
hoped to revive her stalled career. They stopped at his parents
house in Moore, Oklahoma for a weekend Mother's Day visit before
continuing on to California. On Saturday, May 8, 1999, Dana died of
what appeared to be an accidental overdose of a painkiller called
Loritab. Later, on May 21, a coroner's inquest ruled her death a
suicide due to a large amount of drugs in her body and her history
of past suicide attempts. She was 34 years old.
Biography courtesy of the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com).