Best known as Mrs. Garrett, the sassy red-haired housemother, on the 1980’s television series, “The Facts of Life,” Charlotte Rae took the time to speak with me while on set filming an episode for Disney’s “Girl Meets World.”
SD: As America’s favorite housemother and dietitian do you have any advice for parents and the returning students?
CR: Parents need to make sure their children have a well-balanced meal and a set routine, especially on school nights. A great night’s sleep will also help them stay more focused in school. My advice to any parents has always been no television an hour before bedtime.
SD: Before Mrs. Garrett even existed, you were already doing TV and performing on Broadway. Do you have any memorable roles that you really enjoyed?
CR: All of them! I have loved them all. Performing Off Broadway was always lots of fun. I once performed with Martin Sheen in Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare in the Park). Before Mrs. Garrett, Car 54, Where are you? was one of my favorite shows to be a part of. It’s been a wonderful life and I have enjoyed every aspect of it.
SD: If “The Facts of Life” was on TV today, would it be different in anyway?
CR: I think it would be well with a few changes, but I don’t think many. The show always tackled current issues and we didn’t have to use vulgar words to get laughs. It was a show that both parents and children could watch together.
SD: Do you have any favorite current TV sitcoms?
CR: I don’t watch a lot of television, but I do love watching Modern Family. When I am watching television, I’m either watching PBS or Turner Classics. And of course, any time I can see a Broadway show, I do.
SD: Are you working on anything right now?
CR: I just filmed a guest spot on Disney’s Girl Meets World, which will air in October. My son is writing a book about me titled The Facts of My Life. We recently found a publisher for it. Not sure of its release date. Also, being a survivor of pancreatic cancer, I travel often to Washington, DC to advocate for more funding.
SD: Your recent summer selfie with Lisa Whelchel went viral. What do you think about that?
CR: It is nice to know that people are still interested in me and that they have not forgotten about the “Facts of Life.” I love my “Eastland girls” and I am still very close with all of them.