NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A local actor who has family and roots in Moore, Oklahoma, spent the evening watching coverage and monitoring social media after a mile-wide tornado devastated his hometown on Monday.

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Danny Cooksey, a voice and television actor who was made famous by his childhood role as Sam McKinney in the TV sitcom ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ is a native of Moore, a suburb located southeast Oklahoma City.

“It’s a nice place, and it’s very sad,” Cooksey told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler. “There’s going to be a lot of displaced people.”

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Around 3p.m., the mile-wide tornado generated winds as fast as 200 miles an hour, damaging two schools and scores of homes, and killing more than 50 people. Crews were still searching for survivors as of Monday evening.

Cooksey said he had spoken to family and learned from Facebook that his loved ones were safe, though one of his cousins lost his home.

He also learned via Facebook that his grandparents had taken shelter in a local Wal-Mart.

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Cooksey and his wife traveled back to his hometown after a tornado swept the area in 1999. According to the actor, as bad as it looked on television, it was much worse up close.