Charlotte Rae, the actress most known for her role as Mrs. Edna Garrett from two hit sitcoms, “Diff’rent Strokes” and later “The Facts of Life“, was diagnosed with bone cancer last week.
This isn’t Rae’s first battle with cancer. Approximately seven years ago after six months of chemotherapy, she beat pancreatic cancer, the same disease that took her mother, her sister and her uncle.
However, now at the age of 91 faces a tougher fight where her treatment options may be limited due to her age. With all that she faces she has yet to make a decision as to what path she will take.
In her interview with People magazine Rae said:
“I’m not in any pain right now. I’m feeling terrific and so glad to be above ground. Now I have to figure out whether I want to go have treatment again to opt for life. I love life. I’ve had a wonderful one already. I have this decision to make.”
The Wisconsin-born actress who started her acting career in the 1950’s on stage and TV was cast as the housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett, on the hit TV show “Diff’rent Strokes”. Her character was so beloved that it was given its own spinoff show “The Facts of Life” which aired from 1979-1988.
“The Facts of Life” was a household favorite in the 1980’s. In fact, anyone who grew up in that decade that is reading this right now is probably humming the theme song.
The two-time Tony and Emmy award-winning actress shared intimate details of her life in her 2015 memoir, “The Facts of My Life”. She shared the details of her alcoholism, her divorce from her husband John Strauss after he came out as bisexual and even the death of her son Andrew.
Rae seems to have navigated her own life struggles as graciously as her beloved character Mrs. Garrett did and just as her character would have done to the girls in her show she leaves us with wise advice in her book, “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”.
Wishing you a speedy recovery Charlotte.