August 5 was a sad day for family, friends and fans of Charlotte Rae, who was most recognizable for her role as Mrs. Edna Garrett on Diff'rent Strokes and its spin-off The Facts of Life.
Rae's family confirmed that she passed away peacefully surrounded by her loved ones at her home in Los Angeles.
The 92-year-old from Milwaukee had a prolific stage, television and film career that spanned almost six decades. She moved to New York to pursue her dream of becoming an actress after graduating from Northwestern University's drama program.
In the early 60s, she starred in the comedy show Car 54, Where Are You? but her breakout role didn't come until a few years later, when she landed a role in the TV drama Queen of the Stardust Ballroom." In 1975, she earned an Emmy nomination for her role on the show.
Rae's popularity soared even more when she joined Diff'rent Strokes. According to Entertainment Weekly, her character was so well-loved that Rae proposed a spin-off. After a slew of health issues, she took a break from acting in the late 1980s.
Rae eventually returned and lent her voice for the character of "Nanny" in 101 Dalmatians: The Series as well as Aunt Pristine Figg in Tom and Jerry: The Movie.
Over the years, she also appeared on a few Broadway shows, including the musical Li'l Abner. Her final appearance on the silver screen is in the 2018 documentary Broadway: Beyond Golden Age.
While it's unclear what her cause of death is, Rae battled bone cancer in 2017, and was previously diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
"So now, at the age of 91, I have to make up my mind. I’m not in any pain right now. I’m feeling so terrific and so glad to be above ground,” she told People in a statement last year. “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."
Following the unfortunate news of her passing, Rae's co-stars took to social media to pay tribute to the late actress.
"['Diff'rent Strokes'] would not have been the same without you #CharlotteRae,” actor Todd Bridges, who played Willis Jackson, posted on Twitter. "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."
Kim Fields, who worked with Rae on The Facts of Life, said on Twitter: "You all already know my heart is heavy yet.... sorry, no words at the moment just love and tears... and yeah, smiles.... #charlotterae #ripcharlotterae."
Mindy Cohn, who played Natalie Green opposite Rae in The Facts of Life, also penned a touching note on Instagram in the wake of Rae's death.
"It’s with a heavy heart & 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," she wrote in the caption of a photo of herself and Rae. "She was my champion, a teacher, a proud example of the tenacity and perseverance needed to live an actor’s life. I love you char. I will continue to make you proud. and, as I send sympathies to Larry and the rest of the family, I wish you the happiest of homecomings."
it’s with a heavy heart & 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. she was my champion, a teacher, a proud example of the tenacity and perseverance needed to live an actor’s life. i love you char. i will continue to make you proud. and, as I send sympathies to larry and the rest of the family, I wish you the happiest of homecomings. #ripcharlotterae 💔 #ohwhatalife #mwah #tilwemeetagain #thankyou
Other celebrities, like Audra McDonald and comedian Kathy Griffin also had a few words to say about Rae.
She was so sweet, funny, wise, lovely, and brilliant. She will be so missed. Rest In Peace Sweet Charlotte Rae. pic.twitter.com/c7OrehPeb0— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) August 6, 2018
Rest In Peace Charlotte Rae 💕💕💕 pic.twitter.com/22bNTFogpR— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) August 6, 2018
Saddened to hear about Charlotte Rae's passing. My first tv gig a millennium of moons ago was on The Facts of Life. She was just the best and nicest lady. I look like I'm twelve playing a cop. RIP Ms. Rae. https://t.co/7ef6hYZTHR— Larry Wilmore (@larrywilmore) August 6, 2018
Rae is survived by her sister, son Larry and three grandchildren. She will be greatly missed!