Whatever Happened to Charlotte Rae?

Charlotte Rae Lubotsky was a multitalented American woman with the talents of acting, comedy, and singing. She was one of the three daughters of a retail tire business owner. Charlotte was born on April 22, 1926, and she remained in the entertainment industry for six decades. Let us see whatever this actress has gone through in her life before dying in 2018.

Charlotte Rae’s Acting Career

Before starting her career in acting, Charlotte always wanted to be a serious actress. She told in an interview that she never thought of getting into the comedian acts. She made her debut in 1954 in series like “Look Up and Live” and “United States Steel Hours.” Her performance paved her way to getting roles in multiple other projects like “NBC Television Opera Theatre,” “The DuPont Show of the Week,” and many more. 

She got success in the projects called “Car 54” and “Where are You?”. Charlotte is known for the projects like:

Diff’rent Strokes


Charlotte played the role of a housekeeper, Edna Garrett, in this season. She was one of the daughters born in a large family who depicted a character in her fifties. Her role got so famous that she is still known by her character’s name. Rae left the series in 1986.

The Facts of Life 


This show was inspired by one of the episodes of Diff’rent StrokesThe Girl’s School. This was based on an idea of the housekeeper turning into a housemother who boards students in the private school. The show was named Facts of Life because the series focused on the reality-based issues of young girls like weight gain, depression, diet, drugs, alcohol, as well as dating and relationships. 

The Facts of Life eased her life, and after doing this series, she was well-recognized by the audience. In between the first and second seasons, Rae lost a tremendous amount of weight. With the passage of seasons, Rae got more popularity among her viewers, and that was a huge success. 

Her last film was “Ricki and the Flash” in 2015. She also signed her autobiography in 2015. 

Singing and Theatre 

Charlotte Rae was not only a fabulous actor but also an amazing singer. Her first solo album was released in 1955, called “Songs I Taught My Mother.” 

Before appearing on the TV screen, she was working on theatre in the acts like “Broadway,” “Three Wishes for Jamie,” “Li’l Abner,” and more. 

She Left Facts of Life for Theatre

After seven seasons of the series Facts of life, she gradually disappeared from the last episodes claiming that the girls in the series have become mature enough not to rely on her character’s advice anymore. She wanted to spend more of her time on theatre and traveling, so she disappeared slowly from the series. Despite consistent persuasion by the producers to work for at least 2 more years for the act, she refused and left it at the end of 1985-1986.

Charlotte Rae’s Relationships

Rae got married to John Strauss in 1951, but the relationship could not last forever, and they got divorced after it was revealed that John Strauss was bisexual. Straus was also a patient of Parkinson’s disease, a psychological disorder, and he died at the age of 90 in 2011. The couple had 2 sons, Lawrence and Andrew. Andrew was the elder of the two, and during his life, he struggled with dementia and autism. He died in his 40s because of a heart attack. 

Rae’s Awards

Rae got nominated for numerous projects, which include:

  • Tony Award in 1966 and 1969 for best Featured Actress
  • Primitive Emmy Awards in 1975 for an outstanding single performance by a supporting actress for the project, “Queen of the Stardust.”
  • Primitive Emmy Awards in 1982 for The Facts of Life
  • TV Land Awards in 2011 for the famous “Facts of Life.”
  • Looking Ahead Awards in 2017 for the act called Herself

Rae joined Alcoholics Anonymous 

This is an organization that helps people leave alcohol for the sake of better and more independent life ahead. Charlotte Rae joined this organization in the 1970s, and she always considered it an important part of her life as it helped her be sober and active by restricting alcohol. 

The best part of this international fellowship is that it doesn’t charge the people who need care and want to leave alcohol. The funds are fulfilled by the charity from its members. 

Health Issues 

In her last years, Charlotte suffered from a number of diseases, including:

Pancreatic Cancer

Charlotte was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009. As she was screened and diagnosed early so rendered cancer-free within 6 months by taking chemotherapy.

Bone Cancer

In 2017, Rae was diagnosed with bone cancer. After being diagnosed with bone cancer, Rae was not grieved; rather, she stated the confusion of getting treatment or enjoying life. She then expressed her love for life and stated that she has had a wonderful life and wants to even enjoy it more. 

Heart Disease

Charlotte was a heart patient, and she had a pacemaker implanted in 1982. Once her pacemaker stopped working, and her heart rate dropped to about 35 beats per minute. A second pacemaker was implanted on the right side, which functioned well until her death.

The Demise of Charlotte Rae

Charlotte died on August 5, 2018, at the age of 92 in Los Angeles, California. No particular cause has been reported of her death. Many of her friends expressed grief on her death, and Todd Bridges tweeted and revealed the pain he felt after hearing the demise of one of the most popular co-actors from the “Diff’rent Strokes.” He said that the season could not be the same without her.


Charlotte Rae made it to acting despite not being born with a silver spoon. She was not only an amazing actress but also a comedian as well as a singer. She got married to John Straus, who later came out to be bisexual, which became the reason for their divorce. 

Rae had two sons, the elder of whom died of a heart attack. Her life was full of turns and twists. The most popular of her roles was in the “Facts of Life” in which she played a housemother of teenagers. Her medical condition was also not good, especially near her demise, as she got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, bone cancer and was also a heart patient. She died in 2018.