Bain was also well known in the states for his earlier long-running character of Dr. Arthur Harmon on the Bea Arthur comedy vehicle, Maude. The actor died from natural causes in Livermore, Califonia at a residential home.
“I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Conrad as we were looking forward to celebrating his 90th birthday next month,” said co-star Todd Bridges, Yahoo News reports.
The series saw two African American boys from Harlem, Arnold and Willis Jackson, taken in by rich white upper-class Park Avenue businessman Phillip Drummond and his daughter Kimberly, for whom their deceased mother previously worked as a housekeeper. The series ran from 1978 to 1986 airing originally on NBC before switching to ABC. The series aired on ITV in the UK.
While a television hit, off screen Diff’rent Strokes’ younger stars struggled after TV fame with the actress who played Bain’s on-screen daughter Kimberly, Dana Plato, was for years addicted to drugs, ultimately committing suicide fourteen years ago.
In 2010 Gary Coleman, who as a child actor played cheeky Arnold in the show, died after years struggling as an actor and money problems. Surviving cast member Bridges, who starred as Coleman’s older brother Willis, has also battled drug abuse in the past. Bridges credits Conrad with helping him turn his life around.
Conrad Bain was born in Alberta, Canada. Other acting credits include 1960s creepy soap Dark Shadows, drama The Love Boat and sitcom Mr. President.
We celebrate Conrad Bain with the opening credits to his hit sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes
Conrad Stafford Bain February 4th , 1923 – January 14th, 2013