SUICIDE BY COP. It was my only way out. I couldn't see any other solution. I didn't care enough about myself or anything else to find another answer. Officers from the Burbank Police Department had pulled me over on a residential street. I was on my way back from scoring drugs for a girl I knew, and I had a sixteenth of speed in the hiding place in my car. Their squad cars were parked close behind my Mercedes, with their lights flashing, sirens blaring. They were out of their cars now, coming up on me, their weapons drawn and held steady, right at my head.

I reached for my gun.

This was December 29, 1992, and I was worn out. It'd been a long time coming. I'd been using and dealing on and off for six years, and even though I'd been trying to get my act cleaned up, it clearly wasn't working. I decided to give the cops what I knew they wanted, the chance to say they'd taken down Todd Bridges, the former child star turned drug dealer, whether they got me with bullets or with bars.

I never would have let myself get caught with drugs in my car before. When I was a serious dealer of crack and methamphetamine, I dealt to supply my own addiction to both. Being high made me more alert, and I was high all the time. Sometimes things got real weird, and I felt like I was living in one of the movies I had acted in during my old life. But I always knew when the cops were watching me, and I kept my stuff well hidden.

The drugs and dealing had been exciting for a while. But more importantly, they had kept me numb. They made me forget all of the bad things that had happened to me as a child. On the outside, I'd had it all, living the life I'd always dreamed of as a TV star with a lead part on the hit shows Fish and Diff'rent Strokes. But that wasn't the whole story.

Excerpted from Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted by Todd Bridges with Sarah Tomlinson. Copyright ?? 2010 by Touchstone. Reprinted by permission of Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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