Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, on April 22, 1926, she had studied drama at Northwestern University, then moved to NY where, despite early plans to be a "serious" actress, she quickly found work doing satirical sketches in Greenwich Village clubs. The actress had previously been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
She played Mrs Garrett in 1978 during the first season of the NBC comedy Diff'rent Strokes, and then took Mrs Garrett with her for the spinoff Facts of Life, which launched the following year.
As successful as she was on TV, Rae was also an accomplished stage actress, creating the role of Mammy Yokum in "Li'l Abner" (1956) and nabbing Tony nominations for "Pickwick" (1965) and "Morning, Noon and Night" (1968).
Her career spanned more than sixty years, beginning in the New York Cabaret scene of the early 50's. I will continue to make you proud.
"It's with a heavy heart and lots of tears (but a smile as I think of her) that I now move through the world without this incredible force of a woman being in it", Cohn said on Instagram.
Tributes came flooding in after the sad news of her death emerged.
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In 1954, Charlotte made her TV debut on an episode of Look Up and Live, which lead to roles in The United States Steel Hour, Car 54 and The Phil Silvers Show.
"You were loved by everyone on our show and you were loved by everyone on the facts of life will miss you 'My heart is full of Pain" Rest in peace my friend'.
For almost a decade, she was the wise housemother of four girls at a boarding school, and to millions more watching their televisions, on the hit series, The Facts of Life.
"At 91, every day is a birthday", the actress, who had already survived pancreatic cancer, told People.
"I want to bring in as much humanity as possible, as well as the humor", she said.
She was married to composer John Strauss. She was remembered fondly by her co-star Todd Bridges.
Charlotte Rae remained on the hit series for seven seasons.