80′s Actor Todd Bridges Back In The Spotlight
80′s Actor Todd Bridges Back In The Spotlight (in ‘That’s My Boy)
By Wilson Morales
June 11, 2012
On June 15th, Todd Bridges will make a long-awaited return to the big screen in the highly anticipated Adam Sandler comedy, ‘That’s My Boy,’ his first studio film in decades.
While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd’s 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd’s world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up. Trying desperately to reconnect with his son, Donny is now forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills.
Along with Kim Fields (The Facts of Life), who’s in What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and John Amos (Good Times) and Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons, 227), who will appear in Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, Bridges is of the few TV actors from the late 70s/ early 80s making an appearance on the big screen.
For eight season (1978-1986), Bridges was known as the older brother Willis Jackson on ‘Diff’rent Strokes,’ which starred the late Gary Coleman, the late Dana Plato, and Conrad Bain.
Besides being the first black child actor to become a series regular on a hit show, Bridges also starred on The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie opposite the late great Michael Landon. He went on to guest star on Barney Miller, which eventually spun-off into the series Fish.
After the show ended, Willis’ career was stalled for a period of time due to his brushes with the law, but eventually he found his way back, and wrote a book, Killing Willis. In recent times, he’s appeared as a contestant on a few reality shows such as Skating with Celebrities and Celebrity Boxing.
Blackfilm.com caught up with Bridges as he briely talked about his appearance in ‘That’s My Boy.’
What’s your role in the film?
Todd Bridges: I play myself. I have four nice scenes in the film and a lot of dialogue and you have a chance to see me a lot. It was nice to be in it. You will laugh your butt off. It’s very good and it will have you leaving the theater happy.
How did you end up in the film?
TB: I met Adam on the Paramount set and when I ran into him, he hooked me up. He actually did what he said he was going to do. That’s pretty rare in this business.
Were you nervous to getting back in front of the camera?
TB: Not at all. I have been working this whole time. I went in and did my thing and had fun.
How was working with Adam?
TB: That was a lot of fun. Adam is dynamic fun, and let me do my own thing, which was really cool.
What has kept you working throughout these years?
TB: Just knowing that things were going to turn around. I knew that if I kept doing the right thing, that things will change. And they have. How many actors at my age can actually say, or who were in my position, can still be seen on the big screen? Not a lot of folks from my generation have.
What sort of films do you enjoy watching?
TB: I love action films. The Avengers is one of my favorite movies this year. Everything else I have seen has been decent but the Avengers is the one that sticks out.
Do you think that you and Conrad Bain be on TV Land again?
TB: I’ve been to some of their awards shows. There are only two of us left. Conrad is about 80 years old and I don’t think he will come out. I spoke to him recently and I don’t think he cares about this stuff.
What made ‘Different Stroke’ last for eight seasons? Not many shows last that long these days on TV.
TB: Well, some of the shows on TV now are actually funny. I think the shows were different back then because all you had were four channels, and now you have at least 500 channels.
I see that you have appeared on numerous reality projects. What’s the attraction to do doing them?
TB: Well, I always try to pick the right kind of stuff. I make sure that stuff that I pick was smart, wasn’t damaging, and wouldn’t anything hurtful to my career or life. I was pretty wise with those decisions. I was a recurring character on ‘Everyone Hates Chris’ and I did an episode of ‘Are We There Yet?’