Conrad Stafford Bain (February 4, 1923 – January 14, 2013) was a Canadian-American actor. His television credits include a leading role as Phillip Drummond in the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, as Dr. Arthur Harmon on Maude, and as Charlie Ross in Mr. President (1987-1988).
Conrad Bain was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, the son of Jean Agnes (née Young) and Stafford Harrison Bain, who was a wholesaler. He studied at the Banff School of Fine Arts before serving in the Canadian Army during World War II. He later studied in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, graduating in 1948; one of his classmates was comedian Don Rickles. Bain became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1946.
After a stint at the Stratford Festival in Canada, Bain had further success as a stage actor in the 1956 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. The New York Times reviewer noted that his role was “especially well acted.” Bain’s Broadway theatre credits include Candide, Advise and Consent, An Enemy of the People, Uncle Vanya, and On Borrowed Time. Off Broadway, he appeared in the original run of Steambath. While doing stage work in New York City, Bain also found work on television, appearing in the cult supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows as the town innkeeper, Mr. Wells, during seasons 1 and 2. His character was killed off by werewolf Chris Jennings (Don Briscoe).
In the early 1960s, Bain was one of the principal organizers of the Actors Federal Credit Union. In an article in the Credit Union Times, he recalled that “the effort grew out of the fact that, at least in the world of financial services, actors and other performers got no respect and, more importantly, no access to credit.”
It was at a meeting of the Actors’ Equity [Union] where a member stood up and asked why we didn’t do something about actors not being able to get any credit, much less a mortgage or anything like that. Someone else stood up and echoed what the first member said, pointing out that the issue really was one of equity and actors didn’t have any when it came to the banks.
Remember this: no share payment is too small. The main objective should be to establish a consistent habit of saving. In return, you can have the security of knowing that there is a place to turn to when you need a loan, a place where you will be met with dignity and respect, rather than suspicion and prejudice.
Bain served as the credit union’s first president.
In the early 1970s, Bain appeared in New York–based films like Lovers and Other Strangers and Woody Allen’s Bananas before achieving national recognition for his work in television. He is best known for his roles as Dr. Arthur Harmon, Bea Arthur’s title character’s conservative nemesis, who married her best friend, Vivian, in Maude (1972–78). He then starred in Diff’rent Strokes (1978–86) as Park Avenue millionaire Phillip Drummond, who adopted two African-American orphaned boys from Harlem, Willis and Arnold, to live with him and his daughter, Kimberly, and housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett. In 1979, he played Phillip Drummond in an episode of The Facts of Life. In 1996, Bain reprised his role of Phillip Drummond along with Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson on the series finale of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Bain had two sons and a daughter with Monica Sloan (1923–2009), to whom he was married in 1945 until her death in 2009. Bain’s identical twin brother was actor Bonar Bain (1923–2005), who once played Arnold Harmon, the twin brother of Conrad’s Maude character, Arthur Harmon.
Bain died from complications following a stroke on January 14, 2013, in Livermore, California, at the age of 89. His body was cremated.
|1967||The Borgia Stick||Lawyer||TV Movie, Uncredited|
|A Lovely Way to Die||James Lawrence|
|Star!||Salesman at Cartier’s||Uncredited|
|Coogan’s Bluff||Madison Avenue Man|
|1970||Lovers and Other Strangers||Priest in Confessional|
|I Never Sang for My Father||Rev. Sam Pell|
|1971||Fury on Wheels||Lester Jump||Alternate title: Jump|
|A New Leaf||Professor Heinrich||Uncredited|
|The Anderson Tapes||Dr. Rubicoff|
|Who Killed Mary What’s ‘Er Name?||Val Rooney|
|Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story||President Richard M. Nixon||Short film|
|1972||A Fan’s Notes||Poppy|
|Up the Sandbox||Dr. Gordon|
|A Pleasure Doing Business||Herb|
|1981||Child Bride of Short Creek||Frank King||TV movie|
|1990||Postcards from the Edge||Grandpa|
|1952||Studio One in Hollywood||Dr. Caldwell||Episode: “The Hospital”|
|1956||Evans||Episode: “Family Protection”|
|1961||Naked City||Miller||Episode: “The Day the Island Almost Sank”|
|The Defenders||D.A. Fred Monahan||Episode: “Gideon’s Follies”|
|1965||The Trials of O’Brien||District Attorney||Episode: “Dead End on Flugel Street”|
|1966||Dark Shadows||Hotel Clerk||Episodes #1.1, #1.11, #1.61|
|1968||Dark Shadows||Mr. Wells||Episode #1.632|
|1970||The Edge of Night||Dr. Charles Weldon #1||Unknown episodes|
|1972–1978||Maude||Dr. Arthur Harmon||Main cast (121 episodes)|
|1978||The Waverly Wonders||Tate Sr.||Episode: “Tate vs. Tate”|
|Grandpa Goes to Washington||Robert Green||Episode: “Kelley at the Bat”|
|The Love Boat||Les||Episode: “Till Death Do Us Part-Maybe/Locked Away/Chubs”|
|1978–1986||Diff’rent Strokes||Philip Drummond||Main cast (189 episodes)|
|1979||Hello, Larry||Episode: “The Trip: Part 2”|
|The Facts of Life||Episode: “Rough Housing”|
|Hello, Larry||Episode: “Feudin’ and Fussin’: Part 2”|
|Episode: “Thanksgiving Crossover: Part 2”|
|1980||The Beatrice Arthur Special||Himself||TV special, Uncredited|
|CHiPs||Episode: “The Great 5K Star Race and Boulder Wrap Party: Part 2”|
|1985||The Love Boat||Leslie Campbell||Episode: “Instinct/Unmade for Each Other/BOS”|
|Charles Custers||Episode: “A Day in Port”|
|1987–1988||Mr. President||Charlie Ross||Main cast (24 episodes)|
|1993||The Adventures of the Black Stallion||Tobias Doyle||Episode: “Legends Never Die”|
|1996||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Philip Drummond||Episode: “I, Done: Part 2”, (final appearance)|