Charlotte Rae, the Drummonds' housekeeper on "Diff'rent Strokes" and the wise and patient housemother of a brood of teenage girls on the long-running sitcom “The Facts of Life,” has died. She was 92.
Rae died at her Los Angeles home Sunday with her family at her side, her publicist said. A cause of death was not immediately available, but Rae was diagnosed last year with bone cancer after beating pancreatic cancer.
She was Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, on April 22, 1926, graduated from Shorewood High School in 1944. After studying drama at Northwestern University, then moved to New York where, despite early plans to be a “serious” actress, she quickly found work doing satirical sketches in Greenwich Village clubs.
She originated the character of Mrs. Garrett in 1978 during the first season of NBC’s comedy “Diff’rent Strokes,” then took Mrs. Garrett with her for the spinoff “Facts of Life,” which premiered the following season.
Initially set at a girls’ boarding school, that NBC series ran for nine seasons. Rae left after its seventh year, however, explaining later, “I needed some time for the rest of my life.”
Some of her former co-stars recall her lovingly in their Tweets...