Charlotte Rae, the Emmy and Tony-nominated actress (and Wisconsin native) who starred as Mrs. Garrett on “The Facts of Life” and “Diff'rent Strokes,” died Sunday at the age of 92.
Though she announced in April 2017 that she was diagnosed with bone cancer, and seven years prior to that was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her cause of death has not yet been released. She died at her home in Los Angeles.
She was born in Milwaukee, named Charlotte Rae Lubotsky, on April 22, 1926. Her older sister Beverly had a brief career as an opera singer; her younger sister Miriam co-wrote several musicals, so show business certainly ran in the familly. Charlotte Rae made a name for herself on the “Phil Silvers Show” and “Car 54, Where are You?” She played Molly the Mail Lady on “Sesame Street” in 1971-1972.
Her most famous role as Edna Garrett began on "Diff'rent Strokes" in 1978; by 1980, we took the good, we took the bad, we took them both, and then we had "The Facts of Life." Rae is survived by her sister, her son, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
And to show you a younger Charlotte Rae - though with a vocal delivery similar to what we saw on "Facts of Life," here she is doing a stand-up comedy routine on the early TV show "This Is Show Business", where she makes a sport of dieting.