Remembering Charlotte Rae, TV's Mrs. Garrett, in Photos
The actress, a beloved star of "The Facts of Life," has died at age 92.
NBC/NBC via Getty Images
Published August 6, 2018
Published 10 days ago
Charlotte Rae, the actress who charmed audiences as Mrs. Garrett on the 1980s sitcom “The Facts of Life,” died Sunday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 92.
Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rae started her career in theater and radio, but it was her role as housekeeper Edna Garrett on “Diff’rent Strokes” that secured her success in Hollywood. Given the popularity of her character, it was Rae herself who proposed a spin-off about Mrs. Garrett. That show would become “The Facts of Life,” an NBC sitcom about a girls’ boarding school where Rae’s "Mrs. G" played the house mother.
In April 2017, Rae announced that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer. In her statement, the actress remained cheerful, saying, “At 91, every day is a birthday. I want to tell everybody to celebrate every day, to savor the day and be good to yourself, love yourself, and then you can be good to others and be of service to others.”
Here, a look back at Charlotte Rae’s life in the spotlight.
Ray Fisher/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty ImagesCENTER STAGERae as Rose Brice in a 1967 stage production of "Funny Girl."
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesON THE BIG SCREENPlaying opposite Treat Williams in a scene from 1979's "Hair."
NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesTUNE INRae as housekeeper Edna Garrett in a scene from the TV show "Diff'rent Strokes." Also pictured: Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson, Conrad Bain as Phillip Drummond, Dana Plato as Kimberly Drummond, and Todd Bridges as Willis Jackson.NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesWHAT YOU TALKIN' 'BOUT, MRS. GARRETT?Rae and Coleman share the screen in 1978.
NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesMODERN FAMILYRae pictured with the cast of "Diff'rent Strokes" in 1979.NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesMOTHER HENRae and Coleman share another on-screen moment.NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesBREAKOUT ROLEReprising her role as the kooky Edna Garrett in "The Facts of Life," Rae played opposite Kim Fields (Tootie), Lisa Whelchel (Blair), Mindy Cohn (Natalie), and Nancy McKeon (Jo). Pictured: Molly Ringwald (right) in the season 1 episode "Overachieving."
NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesHAUNTED HOUSECohn, Fields, and Rae in the 1983 episode "Halloween Story."NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesSEEING STARS"The Facts of Life" was also where the world first met a young, budding actor named George Clooney, who played handyman George Burnett in 17 episodes in the seventh and eighth seasons. Pictured: Clooney poses with the cast.NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesEVERYBODY LOVES GEORGEPictured: Clooney with the rest of the "Facts of Life" cast in the 1985 episode "Into the Frying Pan."
NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesHEART TO HEARTRae and Cohn in a scene from the 1981 episode "Fear Strikes Back."NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesMRS. GARRETT KNOWS BESTAnother classic Mrs. G moment.NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesBUTTING INMcKeon, Rae, and Whelchel get close.
NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesALL SMILESSharing a laugh with Conrad Bain in a 1978 episode of "Diff'rent Strokes."Epics/Getty ImagesFRIEND TO ALLCharlotte Rae shares a moment with a dolphin in the 1969 science-fiction comedy "Hello Down There."NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesALL IN THE FAMILYA cast photo from season 1 of "The Facts of Life."
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesSTAYING STRONGIn the 2017 statement where she announced her bone cancer diagnosis, Rae also revealed that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer seven years earlier (the same disease that killed her mother), but had been cancer-free after six months of chemo. With the new diagnosis, Rae faced the tough decision of whether or not to seek treatment once again, stating, "I’m feeling so terrific and so glad to be above ground. Now I have to figure out whether I want to go have treatment again or opt for life.” She continued, “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.” Pictured: Rae attends Hallmark's Home and Family "Facts of Life Reunion," February 2016.NBC/NBC via Getty ImagesCHARLOTTE RAEApril 22, 1926 - August 5, 2018