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‘Facts of Life’ Mom Charlotte Rae: I Have Cancer, But I Might Not Get Treatment

Apr. 28 2017, Published 6:39 p.m. ET

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Fans of classic 80’s sitcom The Facts of Life are having to “take the bad,” after word that mama Charlotte Rae is battling bone cancer – and she might not fight it!

Rae, who turned 91 on April 22, played Edna Garrett, a housemother at a prestigious private school on the show. She made the shocking confession to People magazine.

“Last Monday, I found out I have bone cancer,” Rae revealed. “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."

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“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.”

Rae was supposed to start a possible life-saving treatment this week, but decided to cancel, she said.

“I wanted to think about it first,” she explained. “I’ve had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening. I’d like to choose life. I’m grateful for the life I’ve already had.”

This isn’t the first-time the character actress has faced a harrowing fight against the c-word.

“About seven years ago, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — which is a miracle that they found it because usually it’s too late," she said. "My mother, sister and my uncle died of pancreatic cancer. After six months of chemotherapy, I was cancer-free. I lost my hair, but I had beautiful wigs. Nobody even knew.”

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Keeping secrets is something the Emmy and Tony Award nominated actress is quite familiar with. As Radar has reported, in the ‘70’s, Rae discovered her husband of 25 years, Grammy Award winning (Amadeus) composer John Strauss, was gay!

“First came the shock of what he had done behind my back, then the sting of being deceived for years,” Rae wrote in her memoir, The Facts of My Life. “All I could feel was the betrayal and, worse than that, my shame.”

Rae and Strauss married in 1950, had two kids and divorced in 1975, after Strauss revealed his secret.

“John’s secret confirmed my feelings of inferiority,” Rae wrote. “That I was less than a woman . . . That I didn’t deserve to be loved and valued.”

And now, as she faces yet another alarming personal crisis, Rae tells People she still has love of life.

“At 91, every day is a birthday,” she said. “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.”

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