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

Saturday, April 4

Danger Force - "Say My Name" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The members of Danger Force are given terrible nicknames live on KLVY news, so they come up with a plan to announce to the world who they really are: Volt, AWOL, ShoutOut and Brainstorm.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 30)

Friday, April 3

  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Watch Miley on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • John Krasinski (The Office) - John is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Woody Harrelson (Cheers) - Woody appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kathy Bates (Disjointed) - Kathy is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Billy Eichner (Friends from College/Difficult People/Parks and Recreation) - Billy appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Retta (Parks and Recreation) - Retta is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Norman Lear (Producer of All in the Family/Sanford and Son/One Day at a Time/The Jeffersons/Good Times/Maude) - Norman is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Fortune Feimster (The Mindy Project/Champions) - Fortune appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Billy Gardell (Bob Hearts Abishola/Mike & Molly/Yes, Dear) and Folake Olowofoyeku (Bob Hearts Abishola) - Billy and Folake are guests on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Laura Prepon (That '70s Show/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Laura appears on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela talks about The Good Place on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) - Lisa talks about You Light Up My Christmas on a repeat of Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane is a guest on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February/March/April)

My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One Martin - The Complete Series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season

01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume One
01/02 - My Three Sons - The Fifth Season - Volume Two
01/14 - Veep - The Final (Seventh) Season (Blu-ray)
01/14 - Veep - The Complete Series (DVD)
01/21 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Third Season (WBShop.com)
01/21 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Fifth and Final Season
01/28 - Ballers - The Complete Series
01/28 - The Mindy Project - The Complete Series (DVD)
02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/25 - Better Things - The Complete Third Season
03/17 - Crashing - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

04/03 - Fri-Yay: Community Moving to Netflix Next Week; NBC Announces Final Episodes of Season List
04/02 - American Dad! Celebrates 15th Anniversary; The Official Robin Williams YouTube Channel Launches
04/01 - CBS All Access Is Tooning Out the News in This Pandemic Crisis; The CW Summer 2020 Schedule
03/31 - The CW Announces Returns of Series Affected; Adult Swim Orders YOLO: Crystal Fantasy
03/30 - Schedule Changes on ABC, CW Due to COVID-19; Insecure: The Game
03/29 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 30, 2020)
03/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: One Day at a Time a Hit in Ratings; Late Night Talk Set to Return Next Week
03/27 - Fri-Yay: Review of One Day at a Time Season 4 Premiere; NBC Sets Will & Grace Finale Night and Special I Love Lucy Episode
03/26 - CBS Slates Primetime Special from Home with James Corden; Fox Announces Living Room Concert for America
03/25 - Antenna TV Schedule Change on March 30, Doubling Up Comedies; Millionaire 20th Anniversary Premiere Celebs
03/24 - ABC Giving A Modern Farewell to Series; Samantha Bee Returns from Home on Wednesday
03/23 - Bounce Sitcom Returns April 1, No Foolin'; Never Have I Ever Gets Netflix Premiere Date
03/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 23, 2020)
03/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix and Hulu to Share Rights to Community; Preview of New Netflix Series Never Have I Ever
03/20 - Fri-Yay: Best Sitcom Episodes for Coronavirus Isolation; Antenna TV Weekend Binge Marathons for Tough Times
03/19 - Conan Returns March 30 via iPhone Video; Showtime Alters Schedule for Black Monday
03/18 - Billboard Music Awards Postponed on NBC; Acorn TV Extends Free 30-Day Trial
03/17 - Network Upfronts Canceled But Will Go on Digitally
03/16 - Hallmark Slots More Golden Girls, Frasier; Primetime Schedule Changes Due to Coronavirus
03/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 16, 2020)
03/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Shout! Factory Acquires Broadcasting and Streaming Rights to Stephen J. Cannell Library; Schitt's Creek Plans for Series Finale
03/13 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Moves to Pop TV and Takes Jab at Former Home; Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt's Creek Farewell
03/12 - Quibi Announces Fire Island Sitcom; ABC Picks Up 4th Season of Red Hot Drama
03/11 - Apple TV+ Animated Comedy Premieres May 29; Brooke Burns Returns to GSN to Host Game Show
03/10 - Netflix's Lost in Space Gets Final Season; Remembering Sitcom Writer Earl Pomerantz
03/09 - Hulu Gears Up for Comedy Premieres in May; Quibi Programming Slate for April 6 Launch
03/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 9, 2020)
03/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Kids in the Hall Returning for New Episodes; Pop TV Cancels Florida Girls and Other Originals
03/06 - DuckTales Returns with New Season and Cross-Overs with Disney Shows; Isla Fisher Joins CBS All Access Comedy
03/05 - The CW Spring and Summer 2020 Schedule; Kim Fields Joins Netflix Sitcom
03/04 - Hulu's Future Man Returns for Final Season; NBC Escapes with Celebrities
03/03 - Just Roll With It Brings Out the Guest Stars; Quibi Announces Comedy Talk Series