Charlotte Rae, the Emmy and Tony-nominated actress who entertained TV audiences as Mrs. Garrett on “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” died Sunday at the age of 92, her publicist announced.
The actress passed away in her home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, according to the publicist, who did not provide a cause of death.
Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky, she was best known for her role as beloved housemother Edna Garrett, who first appeared on “Diff’rent Strokes” in 1978 before earning her own spinoff, “The Facts of Life,” the following year.
Viewers quickly fell in love with Mrs. Garrett, who also served as a wise yet sharp-tongued mentor to the young women on “The Facts of Life.” By 1986, she left the show, saying there was nothing left to pursue with her character.
The actress started her career on the radio and in theater as a teenager.
She announced in April 2017 that she was diagnosed with bone cancer, and seven years prior to that was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
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Charlotte Rae said it was a “miracle” they found the pancreatic cancer “because usually, it’s too late.” She revealed her mother, sister and uncle died of pancreatic cancer and that she was cancer-free after six months of chemotherapy.
The actress told Fox News last spring that she still stayed in touch with her family from “The Facts of Life,” and that when Kim Fields, who played Tootie, was on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” in 2016, Rae was in the studio cheering her on.
Actress Charlotte Rae poses in her New York apartment Oct. 3, 2006, in New York.
Rae added that she wasn’t surprised the show continued to be adored by fans.
“The show touched on issues that could bring parents and children together,” she explained. “And people enjoyed it. When I did a book signing at Barnes and Noble, I noticed there were a lot of people who stood in line and they told me that I meant so much to them… They were very attached to Mrs. Garrett. And they all wanted a hug from me! And I gave it to them. All of them.”
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