Conrad Bain, who played father Philip Drummond on the popular early 1980s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, died this week, just a couple of weeks shy of his 90th birthday, Fox News reported Wednesday.
The Canadian-born Bain spent many years as a Shakespearean actor and appeared in many Broadway stage productions. His sitcom career didn’t begin until the 1970s, when he co-starred on Maude. Diff’rent Strokes ran for eight years, ending in 1986, and continued in re-runs for many years after that. Bain also played the Drummond character on crossover episodes of both The Facts of Life and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Bain significantly outlived two of children on the show: Dana Plato (daughter Kimberly) died in 1999, while Gary Coleman (Arnold) passed away in 2010. Of principal cast members on the show, Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett) is still alive at age 86- and appeared a few years ago in the Adam Sandler film “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan”- and Todd Bridges (Willis) is still living as well.
Ironically, the father on Webster, the other concurrent sitcom about an adorable African-American child adopted by a white family, was played by Alex Karras, who passed away just a few months ago.