Rae was born in Milwaukee in 1926 as Charlotte Rae Lubotsky but dropped her last name as she moved into acting and performing on the radio.
Rae beat pancreatic cancer around 2010 and was diagnosed with bone cancer seven years later.
Rae landed the role of Edna Garrett in 1978 on NBC's "Diff'rent Strokes" and carried the part over to the spinoff "Facts of Life", set at a girls' boarding school.
Her accolades include a TV Land Award and Looking Ahead Award; she was also nominated for two Tony awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards between 1966 and 1982.
Her acting credits spanned theater, film, and TV, and included appearances in auto 54, Where Are You?, All in the Family, Sesame Street, and, more recently, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Pretty Little Liars, and Girl Meets World.More news: Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan attend his childhood friend's wedding
'Nobody ever knew. So now, at the age of 91, I have to make up my mind.
She is survived by her sons Larry and Andrew Strauss. "I love you Char", Cohn, who played Natalie, posted on Instagram. Up to her last, she chose life.
As news of her death spread, her famous friends grieved along with her fans.
The stage and TV actress was home in Los Angeles when she died, according to Entertainment Weekly. Rae also had starring and supporting roles in "The Love Boat", "101 Dalmatians: The Series", "Sesame Street", "Car 54, Where Are You?". 'My mother, sister, and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. Her character was originally a housekeeper, but her role was expanded when she became the focal point of a spin-off, The Facts of Life.
Upon hearing the news, stars including Kathy Griffin, Audra McDonald, Eric West and co-star Todd Bridges have been quick to send their love. In it, she wrote plainly about her struggles with alcoholism, raising an autistic son, and on her husband, John Strauss, coming out as bi-sexual.
A 1958 publicity photo heralds Charlotte Rae's appearance in a variety show at Chicago's Empire Room.