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Monday, August 6, 2018

Remembering Charlotte Rae 1926 - 2018

Actress Charlotte Rae, who died Sunday at age 92, was best known for her role as Edna Garrett on the NBC sitcom, Diff'rent Strokes (1978-79), and its spin-off, The Facts of Life (1979–86) as well as two TV movies, The Facts of Life Goes to Paris (1982) and The Facts of Life Reunion (2001). In 1982, she received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Other television credits include the 1961-63 NBC sitcom, Car 54, Where Are You?, Sesame Street (1971-72) as Molly the Mail Lady, the 1975 ABC sitcom, Hot l Baltimore, the 1976 NBC variety show, The Rich Little Show, and two animated series - The Itsy Bitsy Spider (1994-95) and 101 Dalmatians: The Series (1997-98). She also received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Special for the 1975 ABC movie, Queen of the Stardust Ballroom.

Her feature film credits include Hello Down There (1969), Jenny (1970), Bananas (1971), The Hot Rock (1972), Rabbit Test (1978), Hair (1979), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) and Ricki and the Flash (2015).

Rae also received two Tony Award nominations for her performances in the 1965 musical, Pickwick, and the 1968 play, Morning, Noon and Night. Other stage credits include Three Wishes for Jamie (1952), Threepenny Opera (1954), The Golden Apple (1954), The Littlest Revue (1956), Li'l Abner (1956-57), Boom Boom Room (1973), Into the Woods (1988-89), Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and Pippin (2000).

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate Charlotte Rae's life and career.

CBS's This Is Show Business in 1954

Rae starred with Art Carney and Marion Lorne in a production of Harvey on the CBS anthology series, DuPont Show of the Month, on September 22, 1958.

'Way Out (a CBS anthology series on June 9, 1961)

Car 54, Where Are You? on November 25, 1962

Hello Down There (1969) with Roddy McDowall

Sesame Street on November 15, 1971

A Charmin TV commercial from the 1970s

All in the Family on November 2, 1974

CBS's Phyllis on November 24, 1975 (Rae became friends with Cloris Leachman at Northwestern University, and Leachman succeeded her on The Facts of Life for the show's last two seasons).

A 1976 Mr. Muscle TV commercial

Our Town (this NBC adaptation of Thornton Wilder's play starred Barbara Bel Geddes and Sada Thompson and aired on May 30, 1977).

Diff'rent Strokes on January 26, 1979

Rae played "Lady in Pink" in Hair (1979).

Based on the British sitcom, Are You Being Served?, Beane's of Boston was an unsold CBS pilot that aired on May 5, 1979, and starred Rae (as Mrs. Slocombe), John Hillerman, Alan Sues, Tom Poston and Lorna Patterson.

The Facts of Life on August 31, 1979

Kennedy Center Tonight: Broadway Plays Washington (a PBS special on March 13, 1982)

The Worst Witch (an HBO film that originally aired on October 26, 1986).

Rae reprised her role as Mrs. Peachum in a 2000 reunion concert of Threepenny Opera, which she first performed in a 1954 off-Broadway production.

Rae was interviewed for the Archive of American Television on November 10, 2016.

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