Actor Conrad Bain
, best known for playing the father figure on the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, has died at age 89
. TMZ reported Wednesday night that Bain died Monday in Livermore, Calif. Other details about his death were not made known.
“He was an amazing person,” his daughter, Jennifer, told the gossip website. She said Bain had spent his remaining days surrounded around family.
Born in Lethbridge, Alta., Bain was drawn to acting early on. He first enrolled in the Banff School of Fine Art after high school but took a break and joined the Canadian Army during the Second World War. After the war, Bain went on to study at New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He became a citizen of the United States in 1946.
His lengthy acting career is littered with everything from small theatre productions to appearances at Stratford’s Shakespeare Festval to off-Broadway to daytime TV. In 1972, Bain was offered a co-starring role on the show Maude. A spin-off of All in the Family, starring Bea Arthur, Bain played Arthur Hamon, the conservative curmudgeon character constantly at odds with Arthur’s Maude, a free-spirited feminist. Maude ran from 1972-78.
But it was with Diff’rent Strokes that would make Bain become a comedic star. He played the role of Phillip Drummond, the wealthy widowed Manhattan millionare who took in Gary Coleman’s scene-stealing sassy character, Arnold Jackson. Along with adopting Arnold’s brother, Willis, played by Todd Bridges, and his character’s own daughter Kimberly, played by Dana Plato, the show ran successfully from 1978-86 and has become iconic in the canon of television sitcoms.
Bain’s daughter, Jennifer, went on to tell say that he was “a lot like Mr. Drummond, but much more interesting in real life. He was an amazing father.”
Bain was just a few weeks shy of his 90th birthday on Feb. 4.