Conrad Bain, the veteran actor who rose to real fame as the lovable father figure Phillip Drummond on the TV sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," died of natural causes Monday night in Livermore, Calif. He was 89.
Bain's daughter Jennifer remembers him as "an amazing father."
"He was a lot like Mr. Drummond, but much more interesting in real life," she told TMZ
Bain's Phillip Drummond was a wealthy Manhattan widower who promised his dying housekeeper he'd raise her two sons, played by Todd Bridges and comedic standout child star Gary Coleman. The show debuted on NBC in 1978 and had a six-series run before closing out its final two seasons on ABC.
Bain was often questioned about his co-stars, who got into some trouble after the show ended.
Coleman, who died in 2010, had almost constant financial and legal problems in addition to health issues from the kidney disease that stunted his growth and required transplants.
Bridges and Dana Plato, who played Bain's teenage daughter, both had arrest records and drug problems. Plato died of a drug overdose in 1999 at age 34.
Bain said in interviews later that he struggled to talk about their troubled lives because of his love for them.
Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, Bain decided to pursue acting after serving as the stage manager in a high school production of "Our Town."
He moved to New York City in 1948 after serving in the Canadian army during World War II and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He performed in different stage plays and took a few smaller television roles, but lucked out with a recurring part on Norm Lear's CBS comedy "Maude."
Bain married artist Monica Sloan in 1945. She died in 2009. He is survived by his three children.
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