Charlotte Rae of TV’s ‘The Facts of Life’ Dead at 92

Courtesy of Photofest
Charlotte Rae

The bubbly comedienne earned two Tony noms and played Woody Allen’s mother in ‘Bananas’ and a long-suffering wife on ‘Car 54, Where Are You?’

Charlotte Rae, who endeared herself to a generation of TV fans as the affable Mrs. Garrett on the long-running NBC sitcom The Facts of Life, died Sunday at her home in Los Angeles, publicist Harlan Boll announced. She was 92.

Rae, who earlier earned two Tony nominations and played Woody Allen’s mother in Bananas(1971) and a long-suffering wife on the classic sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?, revealed in April 2017 that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer, seven years after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

“Now, at the age of 91, I have to make up my mind,” she said in a statement at the time. “I’m not in any pain right now. 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. 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. I’m grateful for the life I’ve already had.”

Rae originated the character of Edna Garrett in 1978 for NBC’s Diff’rent Strokes and then went on to play her for seven seasons on the Facts of Life spinoff. In 1982, she received an Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.

Debuting in 1979, Facts of Life revolved around a group of teenage girls attending a private New York boarding school. Guiding them through the trials and tribulations of adolescence was Edna Garrett, their no-nonsense, but always understanding, housemother. (A reboot is in the works at Sony.)



  1. Charlotte Rae in her Facts of Life character was certainly watchable. A wise-ish adult trying to guide newly-emerging adults into the world. Actually, her show reminds me of a show our whole family watched when I was growing up, Family Affair with Brian Keith and Sebastian Cabot.

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