Dana Plato's was the stereotypical life of a child star who couldn't make the transition to adult acting. She was the second child of a young unmarried birthmother who relinquished her for adoption as a baby. She was adopted by the Plato family of southern California in June 1965.
After a large number of television commercials she was cast as Kimberley Drummond in the NBC (later ABC) situation comedy Diff'rent Strokes in 1978. In 1984 she was fired from the series because of her pregnancy, and from then on her career and personal life spiraled continuously downhill. Her mother died in 1988 and her husband left her at the same time, winning custody of their son. In failed attempts to restart her career she posed nude for a 1989 issue of Playboy and made several B-grade and soft-core pornographic movies. In 1992 she was arrested for the armed robbery of a video store and also for forging a Valium prescription, and her drug problem eventually led to suicide by an overdose in 1999.
In 1998 she came out in the lesbian magazine, Girlfriends, but later claimed it had simply been an experimental phase.
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