As Edna Garrett, the witty housekeeper from "Diff'rent Strokes", Rae managed to steal the hearts of millions - so much, in fact, that she later earned her own spinoff.
Rae died peacefully today in Los Angeles around 4:30 p.m.at home surrounded by loved ones.
Industry notables also expressed their appreciation for Rae and her role as the no-nonsense but gentle house mother on "The Facts of Life".
Initially set at a girls' boarding school, that NBC series ran for nine seasons.
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"I love life. I've had a wonderful one already ..." She earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 1982. She also appeared in movies, including "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" with Adam Sandler and "Ricki and the Flash" with Meryl Streep.
Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields, who played members of Mrs. Garrett's brood, recalled her lovingly.
She was so sweet, funny, wise, lovely, and brilliant. She will be so missed. "Rest In Peace Sweet Charlotte Rae".
Todd Bridges, who played Willis Jackson on The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes, tweeted, "You were loved by everyone on our show". And they all wanted a hug from me! "I have this decision to make".
At the time she said: "Last Monday, I found out I have bone cancer".
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Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rae got her start doing theater and radio. A few years later, she originated the role of Mammy Yokum in the Broadway musical "Li'l Abner".
In addition to acting, Rae was an accomplished singer and dancer. She made her television debut in 1954, guest-starring on a number of shows before landing a role in 1979 on "Diff'rent Strokes".
Charlotte also released a tell-all memoir in 2015 where she detailed her Hollywood experiences including her late husband John Strauss' bi-sexuality.
Rae's big showbiz break came in 1978, when television producer Norman Lear cast her in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. She was just the best and nicest lady.
The star leaves behind her two sons Larry and Andrew Strauss.
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Services were pending, Boll said.