Growing Pains: The Trials and Tribulations of 1980s TV Child Stars

A look at the troubled lives of Dana Plato, Andrew Koenig, Tracey Gold, MacKenzie Phillips, Corey Feldman, Jodi Sweetin, Gary Coleman, and Dustin Diamond.

Tyler Lambert once aspired to follow his famous mother, “Diff’rent Strokes” actress Dana Plato, into show business. Instead, like her, he took a detour into drugs and eventual suicide.

Johnny Whitaker, Plato’s former manager and a friend of the family, told he once tried to intervene in Lambert’s drug use.

“I did say, ‘You know your mother had a problem, which means you may have a problem because it is a family disease,'” said Whitaker, a former child actor who played Jody on “Family Affair” and is now a certified drug counselor. “Dana passed away because of the disease. And when the toxicology reports come in, I’m sure they will show something.”

Lambert, 25, committed suicide on May 6, just days before Mother’s Day and the 11th anniversary of Plato’s 1999 death from a drug overdose.

In the days leading up to Lambert’s suicide, a long-time family friend told Whitaker that Lambert had “become very withdrawn and hadn’t talked to anybody for three or four days.” The same friend told Whitaker that Lambert always said, “he wanted to be with Mom.”

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