Conrad Bain, who played Phillip Drummond on the ’80s hit “Diff’rent Strokes,” has died at 89.
The Canadian-born actor died at his Livermore, Calif., home on Monday of natural causes, according to reports.
Best known for his role as the rich father on “Diff’rent Strokes,” Bain’s acting career also included stints on Broadway (“Uncle Vanya,” “The Owl and the Pussycat,” “On Golden Pond,” “The Dining Room”) and film ( “Bananas, I Never Sang for My Father”); and the TV show “Maude.”
“Diff’rent Strokes” debuted on NBC in 1978, an era when television comedies tackled relevant social issues. “Diff’rent Strokes” touched on serious themes, but was known better as a family comedy that drew most of its laughs from its standout child actor, Gary Coleman.
Bain’s character Philip Drummond, a wealthy Manhattan widower, had promised his dying housekeeper that he would raise her sons, played by Coleman and Todd Bridges. Race and class relations became topics on the show as much as the typical trials of growing up.
Bridges is the only surviving regular member of the cast, as Dana Plato died in 1999 after a drug overdose, and the star of the show, Gary Coleman, died in 2010 after falling down a flight of stairs.
Charlotte Rae who appeared in the first season as housekeeper Edna Garrett, also survives.
Bridges told reporters, “I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Conrad, as we were looking forward to celebrating his 90th birthday next month. In addition to being a positive and supportive father figure both on and off-screen, Conrad was well-loved and made going to work each day enjoyable for all of us. He will be missed, but never forgotten.”
Bain married artist Monica Sloan in 1945. She died in 2009. He is survived by three children: Jennifer, Kent and Mark and a twin brother, Bonar.