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A quick study who could play anything from Shakespeare to O’Neill, he found work in stock companies in the United States and the Bahamas, making his New York debut in 1956 as Larry Slade in “The Iceman Cometh” at the Circle in the Square.

With his plain looks and down-to-earth manner, he was always cast as a character actor.

It was an audition for a role in the 1971 film “Cold Turkey” that led Bain to TV stardom. He didn’t get the part but “Cold Turkey” director Norman Lear remembered him when he created “Maude.”

Conrad Stafford Bain attended high school in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, deciding on his life’s work after an appearance as the stage manager in a high school production of “Our Town.”

He married artist Monica Sloan in 1945. She died in 2009. He is survived by three children: Jennifer, Kent and Mark.

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Associated Press writer Bob Thomas in Los Angeles contributed to this report.