LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Charlotte Rae, the diminutive but larger-than-life star of sitcoms and stage, has died. Rae was 92.
Her publicist confirmed the actress’ death to CBSLA. Rae died peacefully in Los Angeles around 4:30 p.m. at home surrounded by loved ones.
Last year, Rae told People Magazine she had been diagnosed with bone cancer.
The actress worked in TV and stage for decades, but is perhaps best known for playing den mother Edna Garrett on TV’s popular sitcom “The Facts of Life” (1979-1988).
Rae dispensed wise and sage advice to four young women (played by Nancy McKeon, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields and Mindy Cohn) whether they wanted it or not.
The Tony- and Emmy-nominated actress was born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky on April 22, 1926, in Milwaukee.
She was born into a family of aspiring performers. Her older sister, Beverly, had a brief career as an opera singer and her younger sister, Miriam, co-wrote several musicals.
On the way up, Rae rubbed elbows with all the up-and-coming talents of the time. She even roomed with actress Cloris Leachman, who would also later play the den mother role on “Facts” after Rae left the show in 1986.
Before starring on “Facts,” Rae made a name for herself playing “The Twitch” on the “Phil Silvers Show” and the role of Sylvia Schnauzer on “Car 54, Where are You?” Kids first saw her as Molly the Mail Lady on “Sesame Street” in 1971-1972.
The character of Mrs. Garrett began on the show “Diff’rent Strokes” (1978-84). Rae also briefly played the role on the short-lived “Hello, Larry.”
Several of her costars mourned Rae on social media.
Her longtime publicist, B. Harlan Boll, said Rae had a 25-year marriage to legendary composer and music editor, John Strauss. They 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.
Private and public services are yet to be announced.