The Facts of Life Star Charlotte Rae Dies at 92

Facts of Life

Facts of Life

Initially set at a girls' boarding school, that NBC series ran for nine seasons, though Rae left after its seventh year. There she was cast in the short-lived Norman Lear sitcom "Hot L Baltimore" and a similarly unsuccessful variety show hosted by Rich Little before scoring "Diff'rent Strokes", on which Mrs. Garrett was the family's housekeeper. She was nominated for an Emmy for best actress in a comedy in 1982, losing to Carol Kane for "Taxi". Her cause of death has not been confirmed, but in 2017, she did reveal that she was suffering from pancreatic and bone cancer. (Jessica Biel and Leonardo DiCaprio are now eyeing a reboot of the series.) Rae earned an Emmy nomination in 1982 for her performance in the series but lost to Carol Kane for Taxi.

Health problems never slowed Rae down though. But she continued to appear on television, in guest spots on "St. I'm grateful for the life I've already had". She later did local theater, but broke into television as Sylvia Schnauser, the wife of Al Lewis' Officer Leo Schnauser on the classic comedy vehicle 54, Where Are You? She racked up over 90 credits across six decades, making her final appearance in the 2015 Meryl Streep movie Ricki and the Flash.

She is survived by her son Larry Strauss, sister Miriam Guten and three grandchildren.

Facts of Life
Facts of Life

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. Her other son Andy Strauss died in 1999. Her ex-husband, composer John Strauss, died in 2011 after a battle with Parkinson's. Rae was divorced from John Strauss after 25 years of marriage.

Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky on April 22, 1926, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rae attended Northwestern University, where she met many future stars, including Agnes Nixon, Charlton Heston, Paul Lynde, and Cloris Leachman, who would become a good friend.

Rae played the beloved TV character until 1986, when health reasons forced her to step down. I don't mind it. "I have this decision to make".

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