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, May 24

Young Rock - "You Gotta Get Down to Get Up" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Memphis, 1996: The WWF sends Dwayne to Memphis to develop his wrestling skills; when a booker bullies Downtown Bruno, Dwayne decides to fight back; in 2032, candidate Johnson's conflict with Dr. Julien comes to a head.

Young Rock - "Let the People Decide" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
In 2032, candidate Johnson rides the ups and downs of election day; in 1984, Rocky and Ata are at a crossroads with their futures in wrestling; in 1987, teenage Dwayne learns that the family is leaving Nashville.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 23)

Tuesday, May 24

  • Annie Murphy (Kevin Can F**k Himself/Schitt's Creek) - Catch Annie on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Chris Parnell (Happy Together/Suburgatory/Big Lake/Miss Guided) - Chris appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Ben Schwartz (The Afterparty/Space Force/House of Lies/Parks and Recreation) - Ben will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mila Kunis (Family Guy/That '70s Show) - Mila is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect/Suddenly Susan) - Sherri guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenna Fischer (The Office/Splitting Up Together) and Angela Kinsey (The Office/The Hotwives of Orlando) - Jenna and Angela are guests on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Molly Shannon (The Other Two/Divorce/Kath & Kim/Cracking Up) and David Arquette (In Case of Emergency/Double Rush/Parenthood) - Molly, David and Michael Vartan are part of a Never Been Kissed reunion on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jon Hamm (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) - Jon talks about Top Gun: Maverick on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Michelle Buteau (Bless the Harts/Enlisted) - The Good Dish has Michelle's plum upside-down cake, so check your local listings.
  • Kristin Chenoweth (Trial & Error/Kristin) - Kristin puts a creative spin on a classic recipe that will have you singing for your supper on The Good Dish, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February-May)

ALT= Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release) Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)

02/08 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Ninth Season
02/22 - Everybody Hates Chris - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
02/22 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Eight
03/08 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/15 - Head of the Class - The Complete Fourth Season
03/15 - The Proud Family - The Complete Original Series - Anniversary Collection
03/22 - The Honeymooners Specials - The Complete Collection
03/29 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
03/29 - Young Rock - Season One
04/05 - Up All Night - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/26 - The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) - The Complete Fourth Season
04/26 - Jackie Gleason TV Treasures - 70th Anniversary Collection (including Honeymooners Rarities)
05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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