Dana Plato

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Dana Plato

Dana Plato (* 7. November 1964 in Maywood , California as Dana Michelle Strain , † 8. May 1999 in Moore , Oklahoma ) was a US film actress .


Childhood and youth

Dana Strain was born the illegitimate daughter of Linda Strain, a 16-year-old young woman who could not look after the child enough. She therefore gave Dana up for adoption , who was adopted as a child by Dean and Florine Plato in June 1965. Dana Plato then grew up in Los Angeles .


Plato knew early on that she wanted to be an actress. She had to give up her first dream of becoming a professional figure skater because of health problems. As a child, she appeared in over 100 commercials in front of the camera. The 11-year-old made her film debut in 1975 in an episode of the television series The Six Million Dollar Man . In the same year she was in the television film Beyond the Bermuda Triangle in front of the camera. In 1977 she applied for the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars , but unsuccessfully. In 1978 she got one of the leading roles in the sitcom Still Questions Arnold? , for which she was nominated for two Young Artist Awards . In total, she stood in front of the camera in about eight years in 142 episodes.

In April 1984 she married her longtime boyfriend, rock musician Lanny Lambert. When she announced she was pregnant, the producers of Still Questions Arnold? an occasion to terminate them. Pregnancy would not be beneficial for the role of Kimberley Drummond , so the reasoning. In early July 1984, their son Tyler was born.

Social descent

The departure from the series meant the turning point in her life for Dana Plato. In early 1988, her adoptive parents died within just two weeks; in March 1990 she announced the divorce from her husband. Since she did not have a regular income at the time, her son's custody was granted to her husband. Another key factor in the judge's decision to leave Tyler in his father's care was the five-page series of pictures that Dana Plato had made of herself in the June 1989 Playboy issue.

In 1991, Plato settled in Las Vegas , Nevada . She had a drinking problem and used other drugs . She got by doing odd jobs. In the same year, she committed an armed robbery of a video rental in Las Vegas and looted $ 200; when she was arrested shortly afterwards, her weapon turned out to be an air rifle . Entertainer Wayne Newton paid the $ 13,000 bail; in the subsequent trial, Dana Plato was sentenced to a five-year suspended sentence. In January 1992, she was arrested again for parole violation for using diazepam . After 30 days in prison, she was released and enrolled on a drug rehab program.

In the mid-1990s, Plato still managed to get film offers, but only appearances in so-called B-movies . In 1998 she stood in front of the camera in the erotic film Different Strokes ; a film that is primarily intended for a lesbian audience. In an interview with the author Diane Anderson-Minshall , Plato first came out as a lesbian, but later denied this. One indication that Plato was not a lesbian was the announcement of his engagement to Robert Menchaca, a 28-year-old musician with whom Plato lived in an RV in Santa Rosa County , Florida .


On Mother's Day in 1999, Plato and Menchaca were guests of the musician's mother in Moore (Oklahoma), where Plato took an overdose of Carisoprodol paired with Vicodin . She died of it at the age of 34. The coroner rated her death as a suicide , but some friends disagreed and thought her death was an accident.

On 6 May 2010, almost exactly eleven years after the death of his mother, Tyler Lambert committed at the age of 25 years suicide by shooting himself in the head with a gun. Like his mother, he had problems with alcohol and other drugs as a young adult.


  • 1975: The Six Million Dollar Man ( The Six Million Dollar Man , TV series, one episode)
  • 1975: Missing in the Bermuda Triangle ( Beyond the Bermuda Triangle , TV movie)
  • 1976–1980: An American Family ( Family , TV series, two episodes)
  • 1977: Return to Boggy Creek
  • 1977: Exorcist II - The Heretic (Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  • 1978: What Really Happened to the Class of '65 (TV series, one episode)
  • 1978: The Crazy California Hotel (California Suite)
  • 1978–1986: Any further questions Arnold? ( Diff'rent Strokes , TV series, 134 episodes)
  • 1979: The Facts of Life (TV series, episode)
  • 1979: Hello, Larry (TV series, three episodes)
  • 1979–1980: CHiPs (TV series, two episodes)
  • 1980: Young Fates ( ABC Afterschool Specials , TV series, an episode)
  • 1981: A Step in Time (TV movie)
  • 1983: High School USA (TV movie)
  • 1984: Love Boat ( The Love Boat , TV series, an episode)
  • 1985: Our Loud Home ( Growing Pains , TV series, an episode)
  • 1989: Prime Suspect
  • 1992: Night Trap (VS)
  • 1992: The Sounds of Silence
  • 1992: Bikini Beach Race
  • 1995: Body Instinct (Compelling Evidence)
  • 1995: Lethal Cowboy
  • 1995: Millennium Day
  • 1997: Blade Boxer
  • 1997: Help! My dog ​​is talking (tiger)
  • 1998: Different Strokes
  • 1998: The Hostage
  • 1998: Desperation Boulevard
  • 1999: Silent Scream
  • 2002: Pacino Is Missing

Web links

Commons : Dana Plato  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Entry at filmreference.com
  2. ^ Seeking Serenity . In: PEOPLE.com . ( people.com [accessed October 2, 2018]).
  3. ABC News: Plato's Son 'Wanted to Be With Mom'. May 13, 2010, accessed October 2, 2018 .