Conrad Bain, who played the adoptive father of Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges on the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, has died at the age of 89. According to family sources, Bain passed away on Monday in a retirement home in Livermore, California. No further details have been released.
A prolific stage actor prior to his television career, Bain found worldwide fame relatively late in life. After seeing Bain's performances in off-Broadway productions of Scuba Duba and Steambath, legendary producer Norman Lear invited him to Hollywood in 1971 to play Dr. Arthur Harmon, the stuffy and sardonic Republican next-door neighbor on CBS's All in the Family spinoff Maude, starring Bea Arthur in the title role. The sitcom aired from 1972 until 1978.
Near the end of Maude's run, Bain agreed to appear in another comedy series produced by Lear's company that turned out to be Diff'rent Strokes, which ran for seven seasons on NBC and one on ABC from 1978 until 1986. Bain became a beloved pop-culture figure in the mid '80s for his portrayal of Philip Drummond, a wealthy widower with a teenage daughter who adopted the two African American sons of his recently deceased housekeeper, eight-year-old Arnold and 12-year-old Willis. Coleman's Arnold spouted one of the most well-known catchphrases in TV history ("What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?") and the show enjoyed tremendous success before ratings dropped and it was canceled.
Bain appeared in a number of other series, TV movies, and feature films in his career. He was married to Monica Sloan in 1945 and enjoyed 64 years of wedded bliss before her death in 2009. He is survived by three sons, a daughter, and his twin brother Bonar.