The character got her own spinoff, The Facts of Life, in 1979, which found Mrs. Garrett serving as house mother at a girls' boarding school.
"I wanted to bring in as much humanity as possible, as well as the humor", Rae told The Associated Press early in the show's run.
Rae won an Emmy nomination for her performance in the 1975 TV drama "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom", according to IMDb.
She was 92 and passed Sunday at her Los Angeles home, according to representatives.
The actress played Mrs. Garrett on the beloved 1980s series, a spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes. "I've had a great life, but I have so many wonderful things happening", she said a year ago. "I'm grateful for the life I've already had". Andy died in his mid-40s of a heart attack in 1999.
In an interview with HuffPost in 2016, Rae said she never got exhausted of hearing people yell "Mrs. Garrett!" whenever they saw her. Her many stage roles include that of Mammy Yokum, created by her for the 1956 Broadway musical "Li'l Abner". She later did local theater, but broke into television as Sylvia Schnauser, the wife of Al Lewis' Officer Leo Schnauser on the classic comedy auto 54, Where Are You?
She married composer John Strauss in 1951, and the couple had two sons, Larry and Andrew.
Todd Bridges, who famously played young Willis Jackson along Rae's Mrs. Garrett on Diff'rent Strokes, paid tribute to all of his late costars: "RIP IN PEACE ALL OF MY CAST MATES". Other credits included the 2008 comedy "You Don't Mess with the Zohan" and the 2012 thriller "Love Sick Love".
The actress started her career on the radio and in theater as a teenager.
In 2013, Rae went public with an account of why her marriage to Strauss had ended in the mid-1970s after a quarter-century.
In addition to Rae's son Larry and his wife, Eleanor, survivors include her sister Miriam, and grandchildren Sean, Carly, and Nora. Strauss died in 2011.
Services were pending, Boll said.
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