Charlotte Rae, Who Played Mrs. Garrett on 'The Facts of Life,' Dies at 92

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Charlotte Rae, an actress whose career on stage, the silver screen and television spanned decades, has died. She was 92. 

Rae was best known for her role as housekeeper Edna Garrett, first on “Diff’rent Strokes” and then on its spin-off, "The Facts of Life."

Both shows premiered in the 1970s and ran well into the 1980s. 

Her cause of death was not immediately known, but loved ones confirmed she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at her home in Los Angeles Sunday. 

Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee in 1926, she studied drama at Northwestern University and then moved to New York to follow her dreams of becoming an actress.

She became a comedian, and landed a role in the TV comedy "Car 54, Where Are You?" in the early ‘60s. 

Rae earned an Emmy nomination for her work in the 1975 TV drama, "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom."

She also appeared in “The Vagina Monologues” in New York, where she also appeared on Broadway in shows including the musical "Li'l Abner."

Rae’s most well-known role was as Mrs. Garrett.

"I loved that woman," she said of her character during an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. "She was such a nice lady. She was a good cook."

With her son, Larry, Rae wrote an autobiography entitled, "The Fact of My Life," and in 2016, noted she had remained close with many of her co-stars.

“I'm still close to the girls,” she said. “They're beautiful. They're beautiful. Now, it's woman to woman — not woman to children."

Rae was diagnosed with bone cancer last year. In addition to her son, Rae is survived by her sister and three grandchildren. 

As news of her passing spread, Rae’s former co-stars took to social media to mourn the loss.

"['Diff'rent Strokes'] would not have been the same without you #CharlotteRae,” actor Todd Bridges posted on Twitter. "You were loved by everyone on our show and you were loved by everyone on the facts of life will miss you 'My heart is full of Pain' Rest in peace my friend."

Actress Kim Fields, who worked with Rae on "The Facts of Life," said on Twitter: "You all already know my heart is heavy yet.... sorry, no words at the moment just love and tears... and yeah, smiles.... #charlotterae #ripcharlotterae."

Comedian Larry Wilmore added: “My first tv gig a millennium of moons ago was on The Facts of Life. She was just the best and nicest lady. ... RIP Ms. Rae."


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