Charlotte Rae, the Tony and Emmy-nominated actress who played Mrs. Garrett on ‘The Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’, died on Sunday, August 5, at 92 years old.
According to Fox News, Rae passed away in her Los Angeles home, surrounded by friends and family. Her publicist did not provide a cause of death.
However, in April 2017, Rae announced that she had been diagnosed with bone cancer. This was her second bout with cancer, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009.
To People Magazine, Rae said of her bone cancer diagnosis, “Last Monday, I found out I have bone cancer…About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — which is a miracle that they found it because usually, it’s too late. My mother, sister and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew.”
Rae continued, “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. 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.”
Both Rae’s mother and her older sister died of pancreatic cancer, which is why Rae screened for it frequently. She said to UCLA Health, “I had no symptoms. I had absolutely no symptoms. None whatsoever…They said that it was cancer, and it was contained, but it was growing fast. I just knew that I had to take action as quickly as I could.
After six months of chemotherapy, Rae announced that she was cancer free.
Rae told People that when she first found out about her bone cancer, she wasn’t sure she wanted to go through with another round of treatment, and actually canceled her first appointment. Then she changed her mind.
“I wanted to think about it first,” she said to People. “I think I’m gong to go for it. The side effects were not too bad when I did it originally. I’ve had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening. I’d like to chose life. I’m grateful for the life I’ve already had.”