Carl Payne

Carl Payne

Actor / Writer / Director

Todd Bridges has been a leading Hollywood actor for more than 25 years.  His popular autobiography, Killing Willis, has led to numerous interviews on such programs as Oprah, The View, and Piers Morgan.

Todd Bridges began his acting career at the age of six, appearing in more than 60 national television commercials. He was the first African-American child actor to become a series regular on hit TV shows such as The Waltons, and Barney Miller. Todd’s leap to superstardom came when he played Gary Coleman’s older brother “Willis” on the hit show Diff’rent Strokes, which ran for eight years.  This success led to regular appearances on other top television programs including Love Boat, The Facts of Life, and the award-winning Roots.

After Diff’rent Strokes ended its long run in 1986, things became difficult for Todd.  Typecast as “Willis Drummond,” Todd was unable to find work and became disheartened.  He turned to alcohol and drugs, which led to legal troubles.  Due to the ravages of drug addiction, Todd’s career stalled for nearly ten years. However, after receiving help for his addictions, and through his religious faith, Todd was able to turn his life around. As of 2011, Todd is celebrating 18 years of sobriety.

Todd currently works as an actor, director, writer, producer, and is the creator of his own production company, DVFILM WORKs. He recently signed to appear opposite Adam Sandler in a feature film that begins production later this year.

Todd believes his life’s calling is to encourage others who face the difficult challenges of alcohol and drug addiction.


Learning the Industry for childhood actors  1 pm – 1:45 pm 

Staying in business against all odds 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

Todd Bridges99.00 USDMaster Class 1:15 pm
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