Charlotte Rae, Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life, Dies at 92

Sheri SchwartzAug 07, 2018

Charlotte Rae, who starred as Edna Garret on the classic '70s and '80s sitcoms "Diff'rent Stroke" and "The Facts of Life", has died at age 92.

Her cause of death was not immediately known, but loved ones confirmed she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family at her home in Los Angeles Sunday.

The TV star was diagnosed with bone cancer at the end of April 2017 and previously suffered from pancreatic cancer. That same year she released her autobiography "The Facts of My Life", co-written by her son Larry Strauss. She was just the best and nicest lady.

During her time in the Big Apple, she took to the stage and earned two Tony nominations for "Pickwick" (1966) and "Morning, Noon and Night" (1969). Her advice, after seven decades of making art and entertainment, was this: "Savor the day and be good to yourself, love yourself, and then you can be good to others and be of service to others". They met in the 1950s when both were working on The Colgate Comedy Hour. She continued making guest appearances on TV and taking small roles in films.

Charlotte's career skyrocketed in a 1978 when she was cast as the housekeeper in Diff'rent Strokes. By hiring Rae as the household maid, he convinced Norman Lear to produce through his company Tandem Productions, and the show was an instant hit, starring Maude breakout Conrad Bain and newly discovered child star Gary Coleman.

After becoming a popular breakout character on the show, she got her own spin-off - The Facts Of Life. An episode of Diff'rent Strokes, called The Girls School, served as a backdoor pilot in the spring. "'My heart is full of Pain.' Rest in peace my friend". She then asked if her role could be reduced.

Off-stage and off-screen, Charlotte's life was a rich mixture of joy and heartbreak that included a 25 year marriage to and creative partnership with legendary composer and music editor and supervisor, John Strausswith whom she had two sons, Andy Strauss (who died in 1999) and Larry Strauss with whom she wrote her memoir, The Facts of My Life, in 2015.

She previously battled pancreatic cancer in private, telling the outlet that the public was unaware she was undergoing chemotherapy until she announced her recovery.

Stage work was a passion for Rae, who in NY had appeared in a landmark production of Kurt Weill's "Threepenny Opera" and as Mammy Yokum in the hit musical "L'il Abner".

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