Charlotte Rae was born on this day in 1926

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Charlotte Rae: American actress and singer
Rae Dawn Chong: Canadian-American actress
Common clues:
Comedienne Charlotte; "The Facts of Life" actress Charlotte; "Diff'rent Strokes" actress; Actress ___ Dawn Chong; Tommy Chong's daughter
Crossword puzzle frequency: 11 times a year
Frequency in English language: 21161 / 86800
Video: ‘Facts of Life’ Star Kim Fields Remembers Beloved Charlotte Rae

You can take wonderfully talented actors, wonderfully talented writers and producers, and, uh, do a wonderful show!... but if it doesn't hit with the public in two minutes, it's bye-bye. ~ Charlotte Rae

Charlotte Rae Lubotsky (April 22, 1926 – August 5, 2018), known professionally as Charlotte Rae, was an American character actress, comedian, and singer whose career spanned six decades.

Rae was known for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and its spin-off, The Facts of Life (in which she had the starring role from 1979–1986). She received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy in 1982. She also appeared in two Facts of Life television movies: The Facts of Life Goes to Paris in 1982 and The Facts of Life Reunion in 2001. She voiced the character of "Nanny" in 101 Dalmatians: The Series and Aunt Pristine Figg in Tom and Jerry: The Movie. She also appeared as Gammy Hart in Girl Meets World.

In 2015, she returned to film in the feature film Ricki and the Flash, with Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Rick Springfield. In November 2015, Rae released her autobiography, The Facts of My Life, which was co-written with her son, Larry Strauss.

Rae at the 1988 Emmy Awards

Rae was born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants Esther (née Ottenstein), who was a childhood friend of Golda Meir, and Meyer Lubotsky, a retail tire business owner. She had two sisters (one older and one younger), and graduated from Shorewood High School there. Rae attended but did not complete her studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

She was married to composer John Strauss, with whom she had two sons, and was divorced in 1976. She has three grandchildren.

A stage actress since the 1950s, she appeared in Three Wishes for Jamie, The Threepenny Opera, Li'l Abner, and Pickwick. In 1955 she released her first (and only) solo album, Songs I Taught My Mother, which featured "silly, sinful, and satirical" songs by (among others) Sheldon Harnick, Vernon Duke, John La Touche, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, and Marc Blitzstein (who wrote the song "Modest Maid" especially for Rae). The album was issued on CD in 2006 by PS Classics. Also in the 1950s, Rae made several acclaimed appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Her first significant success was in the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You? (1961 – 1963) as Sylvia Schnauser, the wife of Officer Leo Schnauser (played by Al Lewis). She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her supporting role in the 1975 drama Queen of the Stardust Ballroom. Rae appeared in early seasons of Sesame Street as Molly the Mail Lady. In 1964, she appeared in a commercial for Oil Heat. In the commercial, she was taking a shower, while telling people how wonderful Oil Heat was. At the end of the commercial, the announcer asked her if she knew she was on television, and she responded in her usual "trying to be sexy" voice, "Yes, I know!", then giggling softly afterward.

Other appearances on screen have included roles in The Worst Witch television movie and on the series Sisters, 101 Dalmatians: The Series, and The King of Queens.

In 2000, she starred as Berthe in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Pippin (musical).


Rae Dawn Chong (born February 28, 1961) is a Canadian-American actress.

Chong was born in Edmonton, Alberta, the daughter of Maxine Sneed and Tommy Chong, a comedian, actor, writer and director. She was raised by her grandmother, Tommy Chong's mother. Chong's father is of Chinese and Scotch-Irish ancestry and her mother is of African Canadian descent. Her sister Robbi Chong is a model and actress.

Chong is known for appearing in the films Quest for Fire (1981), The Color Purple (1985), Choose Me (1984), Beat Street (1984), Commando (1985), Cheech & Chong's The Corsican Brothers (1984), and Far Out Man (1990), in the latter two appearing with her father. Chong won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in 1983 for Quest for Fire. Chong saw her most active period in films during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. However, she has continued to be active in television acting roles into 2007, and in film into the present.

Chong has been married twice and has one son named Morgan. Her second husband was actor C. Thomas Howell, her co-star in Soul Man. They divorced in 1990.

Comedian Stephen Lynch wrote a song about Chong entitled "R.D.C. (Opie's Lament)" on his album A Little Bit Special.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Charlotte_Rae" and “Rae Dawn Chong”.