Charlotte Rae (April 22, 1926 – August 5, 2018) was an American character actress, comedienne, singer and dancer whose career spanned six decades.
Rae was known for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and its spin-off, The Facts of Life (in which she had the starring role from 1979–1986). She received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy in 1982. She also appeared in two Facts of Life television movies: The Facts of Life Goes to Paris in 1982 and The Facts of Life Reunion in 2001. She voiced the character of "Nanny" in 101 Dalmatians: The Series and Aunt Pristine Figg in Tom and Jerry: The Movie. She also appeared as Gammy Hart in Girl Meets World.
In 2015, she returned to film in the feature film Ricki and the Flash, with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Rick Springfield. In November 2015, Rae released her autobiography, The Facts of My Life, which was co-written with her son, Larry Strauss.
Rae married composer John Strauss on November 4, 1951. In the mid 1970s, he came out as bisexual, and the couple divorced in 1976. Strauss died in 2011 at age 90 following a long battle with Parkinson's disease. The couple had two sons, Larry and Andrew.
In 1982, Rae had a pacemaker implanted in her chest. In 2009, due to the frequency of pancreatic cancer in her own family, Rae was screened, diagnosed early, and became cancer-free after six months of chemotherapy. Her mother, an uncle, and her elder sister Beverly all reportedly died from pancreatic cancer. However, in 2017, aged 91, Rae was diagnosed with bone cancer.
Rae died at her home in Los Angeles on August 5, 2018. She was 92.