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'Diff'rent Strokes' Conrad Bain Dies at 89

Conrad Bain with Gary ColemanConrad Bain, the sweet and caring father on the 1978-1985 sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes, died of natural causes in his hometown of Livermore, California, on Monday. Bain was 89.

Bain’s daughter, Jennifer Bain, confirmed her father’s death to PEOPLE. She told the magazine of her father’s passing, saying “He’d been unconscious for a couple of days, but he was comfortable and it was very peaceful. I was able to be with him very close to the end [and] able to put my ear to his heart and sing him songs.”

Bain had success in such shows as Diff’rent Stokes, Maude (1972-1978) and Mr. President (1987-1988).  The actor also guest-stared in many television shows, such as The Facts of Life, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Dark Shadows. 

Bain can attribute some of his acting success to studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. One of his first roles was at the Ontario Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which is also Bain’s native country, Canada. However, Bain was somewhat overshadowed by his younger co-stars in Diff’rent Strokes, on and off the screen.

Jennifer Bain explained, “My father really was a lot like his character in Diff’rent Strokes.”  She went on to say, “He had that warmth and stability. He also was a very intellectual person.”

Bain’s character in Diff’rent Strokes portrated a very successful businessman, Phillip Drummond, who lived a practical, yet lavish lifestyle.  Mr. Drummond had one older daughter, played by Dana Plato and two adoptive sons, played by Todd Bridges and Gary Coleman.

Bridges went on to struggle with substance-abuse problems, while Coleman had personal and financial problems, later dying in 2010 at the age of 42.

“Dad was proud of his work on that show. And the problems the kids had in their lives later affected him. He felt terrible about it,” Jennifer Bain said about her late father. She went on to say, “dad had a kind heart. He was an open-hearted man.”

Conrad Bain is survived by his daughter, Jennifer, three sons and his twin brother, Bonar Bain. Bain’s wife, Monica, passed away in 2009.

 

 

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