Actor Conrad Bain

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).

Early life

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.

He wrote:

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.

Personal life

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.



Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Borgia Stick Lawyer TV Movie, Uncredited
1968 Madigan Hotel Clerk
A Lovely Way to Die James Lawrence
Star! Salesman at Cartier’s Uncredited
Coogan’s Bluff Madison Avenue Man
1969 Last Summer Sidney Uncredited
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
Bananas Semple
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
1975 Twigs Swede TV movie
1979 C.H.O.M.P.S. Ralph Norton
A Pleasure Doing Business Herb
1981 Child Bride of Short Creek Frank King TV movie
1990 Postcards from the Edge Grandpa


Year Title Role Notes
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
1967 N.Y.P.D. Manager Episode: “Shakedown”
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)

External Links

Actor Conrad Bain – Wikipedia

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