Aug. 6 (UPI) — Charlotte Rae, the actress best known for starring as Edna Garrett in “Diff’rent Strokes” followed by its spinoff “The Facts of Life,” has died at the age of 92.
Rae died inside her home in Los Angeles, publicist Harlan Boll confirmed. The television star announced in April 2017 that she was diagnosed with bone cancer, choosing not to undergo treatment.
“Now I have to figure out whether I want to go have treatment again or opt for life. I love life. I’ve had a wonderful one already … I’ve had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening. I’d like to choose life. I’m grateful for the life I’ve already had,” she said at the time in a statement.
Rae first portrayed housekeeper Mrs. Garrett on “Diff’rent Strokes” before she continued playing the character for seven seasons on “The Facts of Life.” The spinoff followed a girls boarding school with Mrs. Garrett serving as the house mother who would help students with life advice. The show tackled themes of dating, depression and AIDS.
Rae exited “The Facts of Life” in 1986 due to health reasons with actress Cloris Leachman stepping in as the sister of Mrs. Garrett. The show went off the air two years later. Rae also portrayed Mrs. Garrett in 1982’s “The Facts of Life Goes to Paris” and in 2001’s “The Facts of Life Reunion.”
Rae, who received two Tony Award nominations for her stage work in “Pickwick” in 1966 and for “Morning, Noon and Night” in 1969, also appeared in other television shows such as “The United States Steel Hour,” “The Phil Silvers Show,” “Car 54, Where Are You?,” “The Defenders,” “The Partridge Family,” “McMillan & Wife,” “Love, American Style,” “All in the Family,” “Good Times,” “Barney Miller,” “Sesame Street,” “The Rich Little Show,” “101 Dalmatians: The Series,” “ER,” “The King of Queens,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Sisters” and “Girl Meets World,” among others.
She starred in films including “Bananas,” “The Hot Rock,” “Hair,” “Don’t Mess With the Zohan,” “Love Sick Love” and “Ricki and the Flash.”
Rae released a memoir in 2015 titled “The Facts of My Life” which discussed her struggle with discovering that her husband at the time, John Strauss, was bisexual.
Rae is survived by her son Larry Strauss and his wife, sister Miriam and grandchildren Sean, Carly and Nora. Her first son Andrew Strauss died in 1999.
“You all already know my heart is heavy yet…. sorry, no words at the moment just love and tears… and yeah, smiles…. #charlotterae #ripcharlotterae,” “The Facts of Life” star Kim Fields said on Twitter.
“It’s with a heavy heart & lots of tears (but a smile as i think of her) that I now move through the world without this incredible force of a woman being in it. she was my champion, a teacher, a proud example of the tenacity and perseverance needed to live an actor’s life. i love you char. i will continue to make you proud. and, as I send sympathies to Larry and the rest of the family, I wish you the happiest of homecomings,” “The Facts of Life” star Mindy Cohn said on Instagram alongside a photo of herself with Rae.
“‘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,” “Diff’rent Strokes” star Todd Bridges said on Twitter.