In the series “Black and White“, Arnold Y Willis jackson, two African American brothers born in the New York neighborhood of Harlem, are orphaned and adopted by Philip Drummond, a man of a very good economic position and who lives with his daughter Kimberly and the housekeeper in a penthouse on Park Avenue, in one of the richest areas of the city.
The stories that are happening between them – when little was said about discrimination and the need for integration – are delicious and circulate among topics of advanced for the time. In addition, each of the characters was recorded in memory.
Although, over the years it became known that the personal life of the actors who played the assembled brothers was not so charming and several tragedies crossed their destinies.
Willis and Arnold, the adorable brothers from “Black and White.”
Willis Jackson’s stormy adolescence
Willis, the actor Todd bridges who played the eldest of the Harlem brothers, is the only survivor of the main core of the program and also had a very hard personal history (Dana Plato, Kimberly, died of an overdose and Gary Coleman, Arnold, at 42 years of age, due to a cerebral hemorrhage).
Bridges, son of the actress and director Betty Alice Pryor, while composing the character of Willis He was entering adolescence and began with an internal torment that he was able to process and bring to light much later.
As it became known many years later, he lived with a secret that is torturous and that even his castmates did not know.
His manager at the time abused him and psychically injured him to such an extent that he blocked his ability to express what he felt and his possibilities to grow and position himself in his career.
That led him to try to erase the episodes of his childhood from his head. To such an extent is his pain for those years, that already 55 years old, he still tries to escape when they recognize him and greet him with a “What are you talking about Willis?”, the classic hose from Arnold.
Todd Bridges is 55 years old. He is dedicated to acting and production.
Drugs, arrests and depression
His escape from his inner nightmares was drugs. At the age of twelve he was already consuming regularly and some time later he became addicted to crack, one of the hardest substances.
“I was going to work under the influence of drugs and I was only 12 years old.”
The trigger for this situation, which he could only count for a few years, was the constant sexual abuse by his representative from those years.
“But my father took his side. What hurt me the most in life is that he called me a liar,” he told a while ago in an interview on Fox News, when he was encouraged to release his ghosts and reveal his shades.
Willis from “Black and White” was able to get out of drug hell.
“My own colleagues did not know the drama that I was going through. Even in the program there were episodes in which we touched on the subject of pedophilia and nobody suspected,” he confessed in 2010, in his book, Killing Willis, “Killing Willis”.
Willis, after “Black and White”
At the end of the cycle – which lasted from 78 to 86 – he lived on the street, weighed 50 kilos and was accused of the murder of a Los Angeles dealer. He was imprisoned for nine months and was acquitted after two trials and thanks to the defense of lawyer Johnnie Cochran, a professional well known for carrying out media cases such as that of OJ Simpson.
Situations of depression and another arrest followed. This time for drug possession. They granted him bail and there he understood that he had to start rehabilitation.
“I decided to go and recover. I was not quite ready yet at that time, so when they admitted me I was very angry. I went crazy in the hospital,” he said.
“Black and White” aired from 78 to 86 and was a worldwide success.
At the time he clung to religion and with various tools at hand he was able to put his life back together.
He has two children and is dedicated to acting. Although without the shine it had in the years of “Black and white” and due to economic need, he came to accept cameos and interventions in reality shows.
Today it is divided between series and films “class B” and a role as producer. “Producing is a lot more fun than acting. I don’t have to work hard to learn the lyrics, just work to drink coffee,” he said in a post on Twitter.
A difficult story that took him many years to heal and rebuild.