Actress Charlotte Rae, best known for her role as Mrs. Garrett on classic sitcoms “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life,” has died. Rae died in her Los Angeles home on Sunday, according to Entertainment Weekly. She was 92.
In April 2017, the actress revealed that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer. At the time, she told People the diagnosis came after an earlier cancer scare. ”
“Last Monday, I found out I have bone cancer,” Rae said at the time. “About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — which is a miracle that they found it because usually it’s too late. My mother, sister and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew.”
Rae was born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1926. According to Huffington Post, she dropped her last name when she became involved in acting, starting in theater and radio. She eventually broke into television with her role as Sylvia Schnauser on “Car 54, Where Are You?” in the early 60s.
But it was when she was cast in 1978’s “Diff’rent Strokes” that she became a household name. Rae played housekeeper Edna Garret on the show, a role that led to a spin-off in 1979 called “The Facts of Life,” about a girls’ boarding school and their house mother, who was Rae’s Edna Garrett.
Co-star Todd Bridges, who played Willis Jackson on “Diff’rent Strokes,” tweeted his condolences about the loss of Rae, noting she was “loved by everyone:”
Different Strokes would not have been the same without you #CharlotteRae. 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 pic.twitter.com/8FbterNz3S
— Todd Bridges (@ToddBridges) August 6, 2018
Actress Kim Fields — who played Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey on “The Facts of Life” — also shared her thoughts on Twitter, saying there were “no words at the moment just love and tears:”
— Kim Fields (@KimVFields) August 6, 2018
Comedian Larry Wilmore said his “first tv gig a millennium of moons ago” had been on “The Facts of Life,” where Rae had been “the best and nicest lady:”
Saddened to hear about Charlotte Rae's passing. My first tv gig a millennium of moons ago was on The Facts of Life. She was just the best and nicest lady. I look like I'm twelve playing a cop. RIP Ms. Rae. https://t.co/7ef6hYZTHR
— Larry Wilmore (@larrywilmore) August 6, 2018
Rest in peace, Charlotte Rae. You will be missed.