Last Monday, Conrad Bain passed away due to natural causes. Conrad was best known for playing kind-hearted millionaire Mr. Drummond on the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. The show was centered around Mr. Drummond, a Manhattan millionaire, his teenage daughter Kimberly, and his two adopted sons. The show was revolutionary because Mr. Drummond was a Caucasian widower who adopted two African American boys. Americans were exposed to a non-traditional television family and loved it. With the exception of I Love Lucy, people were used to seeing families that were strictly Caucasian. The show is considered a pop culture phenomenon and is loved by many across the globe.


Conrad Bain’s on-screen children were played by actors Dana Plato, Todd Bridges (Willis), and Gary Coleman (Arnold), all of whom had problems finding work when the series ended. Dana Plato’s acting career consisted of many made-for-television films and starring in a video game. Unfortunately, she also suffered from a drug addiction which ultimately took her life in 1999. She was on Howard Stern the day before her untimely death hoping it would reprise her career.

Todd Bridges played Willis Jackson. He was Conrad’s eldest on-screen son. He is also the only living star from Diff’rent Strokes. He is best known for his role on the popular sitcom. However, he did appear in many independent films, made guest appearances, and did a two-year stint on Chris Rock’s show Everybody Hates Chris. He also suffered from drug abuse and had a few run-ins with the law. In the late 1980s, he was on trial for the murder of a Los Angeles drug dealer; Johnny Cochran, a well known defense attorney, represented the troubled star, and eventually he was acquitted. He is no longer involved with drugs and occasionally makes guest appearances on reality TV shows such as Celebrity Boxing. His son is an actor, appearing in an episode of iCarly and Daddy Day Care, which starred Eddie Murphy. He is very upset about Conrad’s death and said he always called him up for advice. He also said he was a lot like his character, Mr. Drummond, in real life.

Gary Coleman was best known for his role as Arnold Jackson, the youngest character on the popular television series. The character was quite charming and spunky; Coleman made the phrase “Whatchu talkin about Willis?” a highlight of the show. After the series ended, Coleman starred in a couple of made-for-TV movies, made a guest appearance in John Cena’s music video, and was number one on VH1’s countdown of 100 Greatest Child Stars. He struggled with financial issues in his late adult years and passed away in 2010 after falling down a flight of stairs. He was only 42 years old.

Conrad Bain was most known for playing Mr. Drummond, but he was a well-known stage actor and appeared in films before gaining notoriety on television.  Before Diff’rent Strokes, he was on the television series Maude, a spin-off of All In The Family. He played Dr. Arthur Harmon, a conservative character who often had political arguments with liberal Maude. After Diff’rent Strokes ended, he made guest appearances on shows such as The Facts of Life, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,and The Love Boat. Conrad Bain was a wonderful actor that brought one of the most popular sitcoms of the 70s to life.

He will be greatly missed.