Rae eventually left the show following its eighth season premiere, feeling that she’d taken the character as far as she could. Edna Garrett was written out when she married a Peace Corps worker and emigrated to Africa. Garrett’s sibling Beverly Ann Stickle, played by Cloris Leachman, was then written in to replace her.
The Facts of Life was canceled in 1988 when key cast members Nancy McKeon and Mindy Cohen refused to sign up for another season. Nonetheless, the show continued to entertain new generations thanks to numerous re-runs. And in 2001 the majority of the main cast – including Charlotte Rae – reunited for an ABC Thanksgiving special.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1926, Charlotte Rae had begun her career performing on the stage. She later picked up Tony Award nods for her performances in Morning Noon and Night and Pickwick. She also released an album in 1955, titled Songs I Taught My Mother: Silly, Sinful & Satiric Selections, which contained pastiches of Marlene Dietrich and the Gabor sisters.