Actor/Comedian Todd Anthony Bridges was born in San Francisco, California, on May 27, 1965. Todd Bridges grew up in a Hollywood family; his parents, James and Betty, were both actors, as were his older siblings Jimmy and Verda. His parents, finding little success as performers, found more stable work as agents and acting coaches. The Bridges’ clients included their own children, and by the time Todd was 4 they had already begun managing his career. That year he got his first modeling job, posing for a magazine ad. When he was 9, Todd made his acting debut in a Jell-O commercial with his family. The gig resulted in more acting work for Bridges, including a 1975 appearance on the TV show Barney Miller and a role in the made-for-television movie, Katherine (1975).
In 1977, Todd appeared in the critically acclaimed mini-series Roots, as well as the popular TV dramas Little House on the Prairie, Love Boat and The Waltons. Around that same time, thanks to his earlier appearance on Barney Miller, Bridges secured a role on the Barney Miller spin-off, Fish. In his first co-starring role, the 10-year-old played a streetwise jokester named Loomis. While Fish was canceled after only one season, Bridges’ performance caught the attention of producer Norman Lear. At the age of 12, Bridges finally got his big break: a starring role on an ensemble comedy show called Diff’rent Strokes. The role would change Bridges’ life.
In 1998 Todd turned to Christianity for help with his problems. Around this time, he founded the Todd Bridges Youth Foundation, a nonprofit youth center in Los Angeles that provides sports, computer training, and acting courses for inner-city children. He also met future wife, Dori Smith, whom he married on May 25, 1998. The couple welcomed a son, Spencir, in July 1998. Several years later, in April 2001, Bridges made headlines yet again—this time, for helping to save a paraplegic woman from drowning. The actor, who was on a fishing trip with family at Lake Balboa Park in Los Angeles, saw the woman get her fishing line tangled up in her wheelchair controls. As the woman lurched face-down in the lake, Bridges leapt to action, pulling her out of the chair and lifting her from the water.
Bridges also saw a resurgence in his acting career. He made appearances on multiple reality shows including Celebrity Boxing (2002) and Fear Factor (2006). He also had a recurring role on the Chris Rock sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, which aired from 2005 until 2009. In 2010, he appeared on Oprah Winfrey to promote his new book, Killing Willis, which discussed his acting career, drug addiction and trouble with the law.