Todd Bridges, star of “Different Strokes”, will be signing copies of Killing Willis
*3/23/10 7:00 PM at Barnes & Noble – Grove Drive. Los Angeles, CA.
*3/25/10 7:00 PM at Borders Books – Tampa Avenue. Northridge, CA.
Order a signed copy of Killing Willis. One copy still remaining.
Todd Anthony Bridges (born May 27, 1965) is an American actor and wrestler. Bridges is best known for his role as Willis Jackson on the television series Diff’rent Strokes from 1978 to 1986, and recently his recurring role on the The CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris.
Bridges was born in San Francisco, California. Bridges has a brother and sister who are both actors, Jimmy Bridges and Verda Bridges. His mother, Betty A. Bridges, was also an actress. Todd is married to Dori Bridges and has one son, Spencer Todd Bridges (born July 15, 1998) and a daughter Bo J Rushing.
Bridges became the first African-American child actor to have a recurring role on a successful TV series, The Waltons. He also appeared on Little House on the Prairie, and in the landmark miniseries Roots. He was a regular on the Barney Miller spinoff Fish.
Bridges appeared as a contestant on a 2006 celebrity episode of Fear Factor, but was eliminated after the first stunt. In January 2007, he appeared as a member of the “mob” on the US version of the game show 1 vs. 100. He was eliminated on the first question after failing to correctly answer the question, “Which month has an extra day during a leap year?” He appeared on MyNetworkTV’s new show, Decision House with his wife, Dori Bridges on the episode titled, “Burned Bridges” aired on November 14, 2007.
In March 2008 Bridges appeared on truTV’s The Smoking Gun Presents: World’s Dumbest… as a frequent commentator. That same year in October, he debuted as one of the contestants on Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling on the CMT Network. He is a member of Team Beefcake (coached by former wrestler Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake). On the show, Bridges’ wrestling persona is the character “Mr. Not So Perfect.” The judges praised him for his athleticism. After reaching the finals along with Butterbean and Dustin Diamond, Bridges was defeated by Dennis Rodman.
He has two bands called Todd Bridges and The What You Talkin About Willis Experience.
In his 20’s, Bridges battled a cocaine addiction for several years. In 1988, he was arrested and tried for the attempted murder of Kenneth “Tex” Clay, a Los Angeles area drug dealer, who prosecutors argued had been shot by Bridges while on a binge. Bridges pleaded not guilty to the charges and was represented by the high-profile defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. Cochran successfully portrayed Bridges as an abused minor who had been driven to drugs by an exploitive entertainment industry, and was now being unfairly framed. A witness finally testified that Bridges was not present at the time of the shooting. Bridges was acquitted of all charges by a jury.
In 1993, Bridges was involved in an altercation with a tenant, David Joseph Kitchen, in his house after a disagreement about unpaid rent. Kitchen attacked Bridges with a sword, then Bridges retaliated by stabbing him in the chest with a kitchen knife. The prosecutors dropped the charges, concluding Bridges had acted in self-defense.
In 1998, Todd Bridges and his brother James Bridges were credited with saving the life of a 50 year old paraplegic woman, Stella Kline. The woman nearly drowned when her wheelchair rolled into a lake while she was fishing. Quoting Kline, “I was thanking God that he was there, and you know, everybody’s been saying nothing but bad stuff about Todd Bridges on the news and in the papers . . . He has a heart of gold.” Todd Bridges remarked on the rescue, “We felt God put us there at the right time to save this lady’s life, because there was no one else around.”
He appeared as a contestant on the Fox reality show Skating with Celebrities, but was eliminated on the second episode of the show. Bridges defeated Vanilla Ice on a 2002 episode of Celebrity Boxing. Additionally, Bridges appeared along with Gary Coleman and Vanilla Ice on a VH-1’s celebrity-reality show The Surreal Life. (Coleman was featured in the 2004 season of The Surreal Life, where he managed a restaurant at which the other cast members worked.