Lanny Lambert was married with Dana Plato who was an influential teen idol of the late 1970s and early 1980s. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and was a talented figure skater before becoming an actress.
Her breakout role was in the Academy Award–winning 1978 picture California Suite, when she portrayed Jenny Warren. For her role as Kimberly Drummond on Diff’rent Strokes, she received praise and recognition from a wide audience.
For most of her life, Plato battled addiction to drugs. She was first arrested in 1991 for robbing a video store, and then again in 1992 for falsifying a prescription for medication.
At the age of 34, Plato overdosed on prescription pills and was discovered dead in her motor home on May 8, 1999. She was declared to have committed suicide after her death was first ruled an accident. Her personal life has been called a “tragedy” after all these years.
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Who was Lanny Lambert?
Lanny Lambert was a rock guitarist. He and Dana Plato dated for several months before getting married. In December 1983, Plato moved in Lanny. The couple married on April 24, 1984, and their only child, Tyler Edward Lambert, was born on July 2, 1984.
When it was revealed that she was pregnant, she was written out of Diff’rent Strokes. Her co-star Conrad Bain revealed that she was happy about her baby, stating in an interview with People magazine:
“She deliberately got pregnant while doing the series, when I spoke to her about it, she was enthusiastic about having done that… [saying that] ‘When I get the baby, I will never be alone again.”
Lanny Lambert and Dana Plato separation
Lanny Lambert separated from Dana Plato in January 1988, the same week her mother died of scleroderma. In desperation, she signed over power of attorney to an accountant who disappeared with the majority of her money, leaving her with less than $150,000.
She claimed the accountant was never found nor prosecuted despite an exhaustive search, and that he had also stolen more than $11 million from other clients. During her March 1990 divorce, Plato lost custody of her son to Lambert and was given visitation rights.
After that, Dana Plato got engaged to filmmaker Fred Potts, but their relationship failed. After a month of marriage in Vancouver to actor and producer Scott Atkins (Scotty Gelt), the union was dissolved. Prior to her passing, Plato was six years her junior and engaged to her manager, Robert Menchaca. The two of them shared a mobile home in Navarre, Florida.
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