Monday, August 06, 2018

Remembering Charlotte Rae of The Facts of Life, Diff'rent Strokes; Disney Channel Gets New Sitcom

Charlotte Rae

Actress Charlotte Rae, who starred as Edna Garrett in Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, has died. She died on August 5 at her home in Los Angeles, California. In 2017, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Ms. Rae was 92.

Rae made her television debut in a 1954 episode of The United States Steel Hour. Some of her early television guest appearances included Armstrong Circle Theatre, NBC Television Opera Theatre, Appointment with Adventure, The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, The DuPont Show of the Month, The Phil Silvers Show, Play of the Week, Way Out and From These Roots.

She played the recurring role of Sylvia Schnauser, the wife of Officer Leo Schnauser (Al Lewis), in 10 episodes of Car 54, Where Are You? from 1961 to 1963. Some of her guest appearances in 1970s sitcoms included Temperatures Rising, The Partridge Family, The Paul Lynde Show, All in the Family, Good Times, Phyllis, Barney Miller, All's Fair, CPO Sharkey and Szysznyk. She appeared as Molly the Mail Lady in the third season (1971-1972) of Sesame Street.

Rae received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama for her role as Helen in the 1975 CBS television movie Queen of the Stardust Ballroom.

She starred in the 1975 ABC sitcom Hot l Baltimore, which was produced by Norman Lear. She played Mrs. Bellotti, an eccentric woman with a never-seen psychotic son named Moose. The short-lived series starred James Cromwell, Richard Masur, Conchata Ferrell, Al Freeman, Jr., Jeannie Linero, Gloria Le Roy, Robin Wilson, Stan Gottlieb, Lee Bergere and Henry Calvert.

Diff'rent Strokes

Rae next starred as Edna Garrett in Diff'rent Strokes, which premiered on NBC on November 3, 1978. Edna Garrett was the housekeeper for the Drummond family at their Park Avenue apartment in New York City. Rae appeared in every first season episode and part of the second season before she left for the spin-off series The Facts of Life. The first and second seasons of Diff'rent Strokes also starred Conrad Bain, Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges and Dana Plato. Rae would return for the 1984 episode The Wedding.

The Facts of Life

The backdoor pilot episode on Diff'rent Strokes titled The Girls School on May 4, 1979, led to the spin-off series The Facts of Life. Rae starred as Mrs. Garrett (Mrs. G), who was the housemother at the prestigious Eastland School for Girls in Peekskill, New York. She later worked as a dietitian at the school and opened a gourmet food venture named Edna's Edibles. Rae starred in the first seven seasons before her sister Beverly Ann Stickle (Cloris Leachman) took over the shop and helped look after the girls. She performed some of the lyrics for the first season theme song. The Facts of Life main cast included Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn and Nancy McKeon (1980-1988).

Rae received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the role in 1982. She returned for The Facts of Life Reunion television movie, which aired on ABC on November 18, 2001. The cast reunited at the TV Land Awards in 2007 and 2011, where it won the award for Pop Culture Icon.

Some of her other sitcom guest appearances included The Love Boat, 227, Baby Talk, Can't Hurry Love (which starred Nancy McKeon), The King of Queens and Girl Meets World. Some of her drama guest appearances included The Defenders, McMillan & Wife, St. Elsewhere, Murder, She Wrote, Thunder in Paradise, Sisters, Diagnosis: Murder, Strong Medicine, ER, Life and Pretty Little Liars.

Rae was also known for her voice work. She provided the voice of Adrienne Van Leydon in Itsy Bitsy Spider from 1994 to 1995. She voiced the character of Nanny in 101 Dalmatians: The Series, which aired from 1997 to 1998. In 1993, she voiced the character Aunt Pristine Figg in Tom and Jerry: The Movie.

She also had a long career as a stage actress. She received Tony Award nominations for Pickwick in 1966 and Morning, Noon and Night in 1969. Some of her other Broadway credits included Three Wishes for Jamie (1952), The Threepenny Opera (1954) and Li'l Abner (1956).

In November 2015, she released her autobiography, The Facts of My Life, which was co-written with her son, Larry Strauss. The book was the first opportunity for Charlotte fans to explore the fascinating story of her extraordinary life: poignant and hilarious, a story of courage and triumph, one that speaks for a generation of women breaking barriers, taking on challenges, overcoming personal tragedy, and paving the way for others.

Ms. Rae was wonderful as Mrs. G. She was very much the glue who held the show together. We thank her for the many laughs and hours of entertainment she brought us over the years. She will be deeply missed.

Share your memories on our Facts of Life message board. View photos in our galleries.

The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes can currently be seen on MeTV. The Facts of Life also airs on Logo. We'll keep you posted on any tribute marathons.




Gabby Duran & the Unsittables

Gabby Duran & the Unsittables has received a straight-to-series order, and production is currently underway in Vancouver for a 2019 premiere on Disney Channel. Showrunners and writers Mike Alber and Gabe Snyder (Kirby Buckets) serve as executive producers alongside Joe Nussbaum (Just Add Magic). Nzingha Stewart (Grey's Anatomy, Good Girls) will direct the first episode. Based upon the novel written by Elise Allen and Daryle Conners, this single-cam live-action comedy series stars 12-year-old newcomer Kylie Cantrall as the titular character.

Gabby Duran constantly feels like she's living in the shadows of her uber-polished, successful mother and whip-smart younger sister. She finally finds her moment to shine when she inadvertently lands an out-of-this-world job to babysit an unruly group of very important extraterrestrial children who are hiding out on earth with their families, disguised as everyday kids. Fearless and unapologetically bold, Gabby steps up to the challenge to protect these youngsters and their secret identities, and prove she's the best babysitter in the galaxy.

Starring alongside Cantrall is Maxwell Acee Donovan (Good Kids) as Gabby's bestie and conspiracy-theorist Wesley; Coco Christo (We Take the Low Road) as Gabby's overachieving little sis Olivia; Nathan Lovejoy (The Code) as the wacky Principal Swift; and Valery Ortiz (Switched at Birth) as Gabby's caring and career-driven mom Dina. Recurring star Callan Farris (Kings) will play Jeremy, Gabby's first babysitting assignment.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, August 14

Younger - "Girls on the Side" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Liza is distressed when she meets Caitlin’s middle-aged boyfriend. Diana refuses to back down from a challenge. Josh rebrands.

Teachers - "Hot Deadly Dad" (TV Land, 10:34PM ET/PT)
Ms. Snap convinces Ms. Bennigan that Hot Dad is a serial killer who is still at large in Chicago. Ms. Watson attempts to teach her “dirtbag” student to be upper class, while Ms. Cannon wears leggings that leave little to the imagination.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 13)

Tuesday, August 14

  • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Catch Tracee on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Rhea Seehorn (Whitney/I'm with Her) - Rhea visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also talks about Better Call Saul on the BUILD Series at 1pm.
  • Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Mayim stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • NeNe Leakes (The New Normal) - NeNe is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Anne Heche (Save Me/The Michael J. Fox Show) - Anne appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Meagan Good (Cousin Skeeter/Raising Dad) - Meagan is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jay Ellis (Insecure/The Game) - Jay appears on a repeat The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne/The Tom Show/Tom) -
  • Colin Ferguson (You're the Worst/Coupling) - Colin guest co-hosts Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Melora Hardin (The Office) - Melora talks about The Bold Type on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Emeril Lagasse (Emeril) - Emeril makes blue-cheese-stuffed burgers on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali gives relationship advice on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) and Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Constance and Ken talk about Crazy Rich Asians on the BUILD Series at 2pm.
  • Nick Kroll (The League/Cavemen) - Nick talks about Operation Finale on the BUILD Series at 3pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August)

Alice - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season The Good Place - The Complete Second Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Five

06/05 - Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season
06/05 - New Girl - The Complete Sixth Season
06/05 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-First Season (Blu-ray)
06/12 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fourth Season
06/12 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Third Season
06/12 - The Office - The Complete Series
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete Second Season
06/12 - Step by Step - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One (Blu-ray)
06/19 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Fifth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete First Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete Second Season
07/03 - New Girl - The Final (Seventh) Season
07/10 - Alice - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - The Bill Engvall Show - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season
07/10 - The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season
07/17 - Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life - The Complete Series
07/17 - The Good Place - The Complete Second Season
07/17 - Son of Zorn - The Complete Series
08/07 - Happy Endings - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Five
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest