Conrad Bain, Mr. Drummond on Diff'rent Strokes, Dies at 89

Celebrity News Jan. 16, 2013 AT 2:30PM
Conrad Bain Conrad Bain Credit: Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank

Goodbye, Mr. Drummond. Conrad Bain, the actor who played Phillip Drummond on beloved TV sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, has died at age 89, TMZ confirms. While details surrounding the star's death are scant so far, he reportedly died at a retirement home in Livermore, Calif.

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Bain is survived by three sons, one daughter, and a twin brother, Bonar Bain. "He was an amazing person," his daughter Jennifer told TMZ. "He was a lot like Mr. Drummond, but much more interesting in real life. He was an amazing father."

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Born in Lethbridge in the Canadian province of Alberta, Bain first cut his teeth as a theater actor on the Broadway stage in plays like The Iceman Cometh, Candide, An Enemy of the People, Uncle Vanya and On Borrowed Time. Film credits included Lovers and Other Strangers and the early Woody Allen comedy Bananas.

Todd Bridges on March 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California
Todd Bridges on March 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California
Credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

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On the small screen, he starred opposite Bea Arthur on Maude as Dr. Arthur Harmon (1972 to 1978). But Bain's most enduring role arrived with Diff'rent Strokes, which debuted in 1978 and ran until 1986. He starred as the uptown Manhattan millionaire Phillip Drummond, who adopts two African-American boys, Willis (Todd Bridges) and Arnold (the late Gary Coleman).

Coleman passed away at age 42 following a brain hemmorhage; actress Dana Plato, who played Mr. Drummond's biological daughter Kimberly, died in 1999 following a drug overdose.

UPDATE: Surviving castmate Todd Bridges tells Us Weekly:

"I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Conrad as we were looking forward to celebrating his 90th birthday next month," Bridges, 47, says. "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." Bridges, who has overcome his problems with drug addiction, added that he had remained in contact with his TV dad throughout his life, and spoke to him just last week. The actor was "the glue" of the Diff'rent Strokes cast, he said.

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