Charlotte Rae, the beloved star of the wildly popular Diff’rent Strokes spin-off The Facts of Life, has revealed that she is suffering from bone cancer at the age of 91. Rae, who is well known for her portrayal as the wise matriarch Mrs. Edna Garrett on The Facts of Life, is currently stoic about her recent cancer diagnosis and admits that she is just grateful to still be alive and will be considering treatment options at this time, as Huffington Post report.
“So now, at the age of 91, I have to make up my mind. I’m not in any pain right now. I’m feeling so terrific and so glad to be above ground. Now I have to figure out whether I want to go have treatment again to opt for life. I love life. I’ve had a wonderful one already. I have this decision to make.”
Charlotte Rae is no stranger to cancer as her mother, sister and uncle were all tragically lost to pancreatic cancer, and in 2008 she also found herself diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just ten years after her sister had passed away from the disease. The Facts of Life actress spent a harrowing six months at the UCLA Medical Center battling her illness.
Thinking back to her previous treatment for pancreatic cancer, Charlotte Rae revealed that she didn’t find the side effects too harrowing and will most likely opt for treatment to fight her recent bone cancer diagnosis. While Rae was originally scheduled to begin treatment on Thursday, she held off going to decide whether she wanted to undergo treatment or let nature take its course instead. However, she will probably be opting for treatment this time around again.
“I wanted to think about it first. I think I’m going to go for it. The side effects were not too bad when I did it originally. I’ve had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening. I’d like to chose life. I’m grateful for the life I’ve already had.”
The Facts of Life star has looked back at her previous chemotherapy and said that even though she lost all of her hair she was still able to wear wigs so that nobody was even aware that her hair was gone, as People report.
“After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew.”
The nanny we all wish we had…
Charlotte Rae (Edna from Diff’rent Strokes AND the Facts of Life) will celebrate her 91st birthday in April pic.twitter.com/84fio4FP1O
— Celebrities Alive (@celebsalive) January 6, 2017
In 2015, Charlotte Rae released her autobiography The Facts of My Life, in which she discusses her work as an actress, her family life and the details around her 44 remarkable years of sobriety. In her book, Charlotte also talks about discovering how her husband, John Strauss, was bisexual and opens up about the death of her eldest son who suffered from dementia and autism. Rae met her husband when she was busy working at a resort close to the Adirondack Mountains, and the pair were married in 1951.
The Daily Mail report that after attending Alcoholics Anonymous, Charlotte Rae’s husband opened up and admitted that he had homosexual experiences and thought that he might perhaps be bisexual.
“He confessed to his sponsor at AA that he had homosexual experiences and thought he was bisexual. The sponsor said, ‘You have to tell your wife.’ So he did. When he told me, I thought I was going to faint. I couldn’t believe it. We were very, very close. I drove to my friend’s house and she said, ‘God is opening the gate. It’s good for you to know.'”
The Facts of Life actress revealed that she kept her husband’s homosexual experiences quiet and did not divulge his secret to their children. As her career in television began to kick off, her husband found happiness with new partner Lionel Friedman. While admitting that the whole experience was extremely painful for her, Charlotte Rae said that she had profound respect for her husband and stayed close friends with him up until his death from Parkinson’s disease in 2011.
Despite the many struggles and deaths that Charlotte Rae has endured, The Facts of Life star chooses to embrace the positive and still has a decidedly optimistic view of life, which she says her book shows.
“At 91, every day is a birthday. In my book, I want to tell everybody to celebrate every day, to savor the day and be good to yourself, love yourself, and then you can be good to others and be of service to others.”
The many fans of The Facts of Life wish Charlotte Rae all the best with her treatment for bone cancer.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]