Actor Conrad Bain, who found fame playing Willis and Arnold’s adoptive dad on the ’80s TV hit Diff’rent Strokes, died Monday at his home in Livermore, California. He was 89.
Diff’rent Strokes ran for eight seasons between 1978 and 1985. In his most famous role, Bain played Philip Drummond, a wealthy White widower who adopted his late maid’s two young sons.
Before Strokes, Bain played conservative neighbor Dr. Arthur Harmon alongside Bea Arthur on the feminist sitcom Maude. He also was a journeyman actor on stage, screen and television.
According to the star’s daughter, Jennifer, Bain succumbed to natural causes and spent the last days of his life surrounded by family.
“He was an amazing person. He was a lot like [his TV character] Mr. Drummond, but much more interesting in real life. He was an amazing father.”
Bain is also survived by his three sons, and his twin brother, Bonar.
Diff’rent Strokes launched Bain, along with his co-stars, Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges and Dana Plato, into stardom. The series is perhaps best remembered, however, for the grim fates that befell its young stars.
Plato — who struggled with drug abuse — and Coleman both died in recent years. Bridges, the sole surviving lead cast member, made headlines for his crack addiction and arrest for a drug-related shooting in 1989.