Charlotte Rae, the actress, singer and comedienne who won acclaim on Broadway and was best known for her starring role as a girls boarding school housemother on U.S. television’s “The Facts of Life” from 1979 to 1986, has died at the age of 92.
Rae died at her home in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon surrounded by her family, her manager Paul Hilepo wrote in an email.
Rae earned an Emmy Award nomination in 1982 for her role as Edna Garrett on “The Facts of Life,” a series built around young actresses Lisa Whelchel, Nancy McKeon, Kim Fields and Mindy Cohn but held together by show business veteran Rae.
She originated the role in 1978 on another situation comedy, “Diff’rent Strokes,” and her character proved so popular that “The Facts of Life” was created as a spinoff for her, also on the NBC network.
She was born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky on April 22, 1926, in Milwaukee, the daughter of Russian immigrants. She dropped her last name for show business. After college, she worked in Chicago on TV and radio before moving to New York City, where she developed a nightclub act and broke into Broadway.
She survived a bout with pancreatic cancer in 2009. Rae divorced her husband in 1976 after having two sons.