An Open Letter to Danny Cooksey: Sam on Different Strokes


Dear Danny,

You were Sam!  You were cute little redheaded Sam on Different Strokes.  You came to us out of nowhere.  When executives saw that Gary Coleman wasn’t growing and not getting any cuter they realized a new spark would have to reinvigorate the show.  And boy did you ever.  With your country music, fun little accent and moral fiber you gave that show new life.  We loved you.  I loved you.

And then you went on hiatus.  You grew up a little and appeared out of nowhere on that show Salute Your Shorts on Nickelodeon (also in Terminator 2 when everyone in the world looked at you and went “isn’t that the little kid from Different Strokes?”).  You still had red hair but tried to portray yourself as tough and “metal” like by allowing the hair to grow way too long.   I for one didn’t buy it.  You weighed 6 lbs soaking wet and the thought of you as a badass just never played well.

And as if the long hair and toughness wasn’t enough you went out and joined a rock band.  You released a CD and it didn’t do too well.  You’re currently still in a band (called Arbuckle).    You’ll try to be tough for the rest of your life and I’ll always know you as Sam.  I just want you to know that.

You’ve lent your voice to many a cartoon and video games over the years and I applaud you for sticking with it all this time.   Perhaps one day we can shoot the shit about being tough.  Honestly I have no clue how to be a cool dude.  Maybe you can teach me.

Your friend,

Natty B

  • J5

    Is that the guy from Hey Dude or the one from Salute your Shorts?

  • Brendan

    It’s Budnick from Salute your Shorts! Where’s Donkey Lips?

  • Anonymous

    He was on “Salute Your Shorts”, not “Hey Dude”.

    But yeah, he’s a cool guy.

  • Kevin

    Yeah, he’s actually from Salute Your Shorts. I personally thought he ruled as Bobby Budnick. Different Strokes was sort of before my time but Nickelodeon WAS my childhood, and Salute Your Shorts might have been my favorite show back then…

  • Charlie

    Salute your shorts

  • Mutant Turd

    He was also the voice of the rich kid, Max I think his name was, on Tiny Toon Adventures.

  • J5

    @ Brendan
    Donkey Lips was making a rap album last I heard. No bullshit.

    That and he was in an interstellar bubble wrap suit yelling about “ZOLTAN!”

  • Nattyb

    My bad guys, I made the change – it was Salute your Shorts – Budnick!

  • Brendan


    Do you remember the show on MTV, called Singled Out? It had Jenny McCarthy as one of the hosts…Anyway, I shit you not, Donkey Lips was a contestant on the show. He got booted in the first round when the girl said no to freckles. It always struck me as comical that he kept getting on gameshows and failing, I vaguely remember he was on an episode of Nick Arcade as well. I think he and Budnick played Clarrissa and Fergison.

  • J5

    The only episode of singled out I rememebr is the one where the had Bruce Lee-Roy from The Last Dragon on there, but Donkey Lips should have taken home the gold!

    Oh and I’d like to see Bud & Ferguson duke it out in a ginger battle of epic proportions, sadly I dont have the funds or the know how, so Unreality, please make this ginger battle happen.

  • J5

    Judging from that last post….spelling is not my strongest attribute.

  • Brendan

    It’s not the Clarissa v. salute battle but it is 4 members of salute your shorts on Nick Arcade with Donkey Lips and Budnick on a team!!

    yeah i know, I am a google search wizard, no need for thanks.

  • Madison

    Natty, great call on him being in T2. EVERY time I see that movie – and I have seen it a million times – I always freak out that Sam from Different Strokes is friends with John Connor.

  • MacGyver1138

    Different Strokes was before my time, but I instantly recognized him as the T2 ginger. The long hair always annoyed me, even when I first saw that movie at about the age of 9 or so.

  • Tim

    What a weird letter to write. I, at first, got real sad, because I definitely remember this kid on everything when I grew up and thought he died or something. Read the first few lines of that letter and tell me it doesn’t sound like a letter someone would tuck into someone’s casket. Then I googled him and realized he’s still alive and thought what an odd letter. Just a letter to tell him he’s cool, you like his acting, and you want him to teach you how to be cool someday? I love this site, but damn that’s weird. Do you think he’ll respond? Do you think he’ll take you out for dinner sometime? Huh? Maybe I’ll write a letter that that little kid that played Michelle’s friend on Full House that was a killer in Pet Cemetary. ??