Dana Plato - Howard Stern Final Interview - 5/7/99 (1 of 4)





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Uploaded on Oct 12, 2009

Dana Plato final interview with Howard Stern one day before her death from drug overdose (eventually ruled a suicide)


Dana Michelle Plato (November 7, 1964 May 8, 1999) 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 died from an overdose of prescription medication on May 8, 1999.

Final interview and death

On May 7, 1999, Plato appeared on The Howard Stern Show, where she told Stern and Robin Quivers that she was engaged to the 28-year-old Robert Menchaca, and that he was managing her career. She was frank about her situation, discussing her financial problems and past run-ins with the law. She admitted to being a recovering alcoholic/drug addict, but claimed that she had been sober for more than ten years by that point, and was not using any drugs, with the exception of prescribed painkillers due to discomfort and pain from the recent extraction of her wisdom teeth. Many of her callers called her everything from a "has been" to an addict. She was referred to by one caller as an "ex-con lesbian drug addict with mental problems". This provoked a defiant Plato, as she offered to take a drug test on the air (and even placed a large wager on the results of the test to one particularly doubtful caller). Some callers, however, came to Plato's defense by consoling and complimenting her. After the first three negative calls, a caller named Julie told Dana that she looked and sounded great, and could not fathom why people were attacking her the way they were, and although they were cruel to her, she was supportive. Plato wept while offering her gratitude, as well to a later caller who claimed to be a recovering addict, and told her that he believed everything she said. Other callers asked her relatively "neutral" (mostly Diff'rent Strokes related) questions, such as, "What happened to your kid?" "Did Todd (Bridges) break your arm (in a playful brawl gone wrong) on the set of Diff'rent Strokes?", "Have you ever had the opportunity of seeing Janet Jackson change during the taping of Diff'rent Strokes?" and, likely most humorously, "I need a date with Dana!" which gave Plato a good laugh. Stern later mentioned that she was scheduled to appear at a concert event, The Expo of the Extreme, in Chicago two weeks after the interview.[9]

The next day, Plato and Menchaca were returning to California, hoping to revive her stagnant career. The couple stopped at Menchaca's mother's home in Moore, Oklahoma (coincidentally, the birthplace of another Diff'rent Strokes cast member, Danny Cooksey) for a Mother's Day visit. Plato went to lie down inside her recreational vehicle parked outside the house and subsequently died of an overdose from Vanadom (Soma) and Vicodin. Her death at the early age of 34 was eventually ruled a suicide. Subsequently both Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges, who remained friends with Plato after Diff'rent Strokes, have said they do not believe she intended to kill herself, and that they believe it was an accidental overdose.

Much confusion remains about her precise age.[citation needed] Oklahoma authorities, presumably taking the information from Plato's Florida driver's license, determined her birth date to be November 1, 1963,[11] making her 35 when she died, while many news sources reported that she was born on November 7, 1964.[citation needed] Plato claimed that she was only 34 years old at one point during her Howard Stern appearance, which took place one day before she died. Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.[citation needed]



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