Charlotte Rae (born April 22, 1926) is an American actress and singer known for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, in which she appeared from 1979 until 1986.
Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky, the second of three daughters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rae attended but did not complete her studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
A stage actress since the 1950s, she appeared in Three Wishes for Jamie, The Threepenny Opera, Li'l Abner, and Pickwick. 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.
Rae also appeared in a dual role in the Worst Witch TV film.
She was married to composer John Strauss, with whom she had two sons, and was divorced in 1976. She has two grandchildren. She has acknowledged having battled alcoholism.