Conrad Bain Dies at 89

01/16/2013 at 02:05 PM EST

Conrad Bain, Diff'rent Strokes Star, Dies
Conrad Bain
Gregg DeGuire/Wireimage
Conrad Bain, the easygoing TV star who played the Park Avenue father on the 1978-85 sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, died in his hometown of Livermore, Calif., on Monday. He was 89.

His daughter, Jennifer Bain, confirmed his death to PEOPLE, and said her father died of natural causes.

"He'd been unconscious for a couple of days, but he was comfortable and it was very peaceful," she said of her dad, who also played the argumentative neighbor on the 1972-78 hit show Maude.

"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."

A highly professional actor who gained early experience at Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival in his native Canada and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Bain nonetheless was often overshadowed by his costars.

Conrad Bain Dies at 89| Diff'rent Strokes, Conrad Bain, Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges

From left: Todd Bridges, Conrad Bain and Gary Coleman, on Diff'rent Strokes


On Diff'rent Strokes, where he was successful businessman Phillip Drummond, the scene-stealers were Todd Bridges and, especially, Gary Coleman, who played his adoptive sons. On Maude, they were Beatrice Arthur, the star of the show, and Rue McClanahan, who played Lillian, the wife of Bain's character, Dr. Arthur Harmon.

"My father really was a lot like his character in Diff'rent Strokes," said his daughter. "He had that warmth and stability. He also was a very intellectual person."

She added, "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." (Bridges struggled with substance-abuse problems, while Coleman, who had personal and financial problems, died in 2010, at the age of 42.)

"Dad had a kind heart," said Jennifer Bain. "He was an open-hearted man."

Besides his daughter, Bain is survived by a twin brother, Bonar Bain, and three sons. Their mother, Bain's wife Monica, died in 2009.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Chelsea Clinton is Pregnant!
  • Exclusive Royal Tour Diary

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters