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Saturday , November 17 2018

‘Facts of Life’ star Rae dies at 92

French master chef Robuchon dead

LOS ANGELES, Aug 6, (AP): Charlotte Rae, who played a wise and patient housemother to a brood of teenage girls on the long-running sitcom “The Facts of Life” during a career that encompassed many other TV roles as well as stage and film appearances, has died. She was 92.

Rae died at her Los Angeles home Sunday with her family at her side, said her publicist, Harlan Boll. A cause of death was not immediately available, but Rae was diagnosed last year with bone cancer after beating pancreatic cancer, Boll said.

She originated the character of Mrs Garrett in 1978 during the first season of NBC’s comedy “Diff’rent Strokes,” then took Mrs Garrett with her for the spinoff “Facts,” which premiered the following season.

Initially set at a girls’ boarding school, that NBC series ran for nine seasons. Rae left after its seventh year, however, explaining later, “I needed some time for the rest of my life.”

The “Facts” role came to Rae after years of theater and television performances. She earned an Emmy nomination for the part, and she was a two-time Tony nominee for her work on Broadway.

Her last feature film credit was “Ricki and the Flash” with Meryl Streep in 2015. That same year she released her autobiography “The Facts of My Life,” co-written by her son Larry Strauss.

Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields, who played members of Mrs Garrett’s brood, recalled her lovingly.

“She was my champion, a teacher, a proud example of the tenacity and perseverance needed to live as a creative, along with your talent and gifts. i love you char,” Cohn, who played Natalie, posted on Instagram.

“Sorry, no words at the moment just love and tears … and yeah, smiles,” tweeted Fields, who portrayed Tootie.

Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald tweeted: “She was so sweet, funny, wise, lovely, and brilliant. She will be so missed. Rest In Peace Sweet Charlotte Rae.”

Todd Bridges, who was on “Diff’rent Strokes,” said on Twitter that she was beloved by all her colleagues and that the show “would not have been the same without you.”

Edna Garrett provided kind if sometimes wry counsel to her “Facts of Life” charges (which, besides Cohn and Fields, included Lisa Whelchel, Nancy McKeon and Molly Ringwald) on a series that was praised for dealing with such sensitive issues of teenhood as sex, drug use, eating disorders and peer pressure.

“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. “I don’t want her to be Polly Perfect, because she must have human failings and make mistakes.”

Her own life was marked by tragedy, Rae told the AP in a 2015 interview. She said the “most devastating thing” she faced was her son Andy Strauss’ diagnosis of autism at a time when there was far less understanding of or attention to the disorder. Andy died in his mid-40s of a heart attack in 1999.

Born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, on April 22, 1926, she had studied drama at Northwestern University, then moved to New York where, despite early plans to be a “serious” actress, she quickly found work doing satirical sketches in Greenwich Village clubs.

It was there that Broadway producers, who frequented such bistros, discovered her, leading to her first Broadway musical, called “Three Wishes for Jamie,” in 1952. A few years later, she originated the role of Mammy Yokum in the Broadway musical “Li’l Abner.”

Also:

PARIS: Joel Robuchon, a master chef who shook up the stuffy world of French haute cuisine by wowing palates with the delights of the simple mashed potato and giving diners a peek at the kitchen, has died. He was 73.

A spokeswoman for Robuchon confirmed his death, with French TV station BFM and newspaper Le Figaro reporting that he died in Geneva on Monday from cancer, citing his entourage.

His career was one of superlatives: Named among the best craftsmen in France in 1976, crowned cook of the century in 1990, one of the cooks at the “dinner of the century,” and, for years, holder of the most Michelin stars in the world.

Robuchon was known for his constant innovation and even playfulness in the kitchen — a revelation to the hidebound world of French cuisine.

He had built an empire of gourmet restaurants across the world.

“To describe Joel Robuchon as a cook is a bit like calling Pablo Picasso a painter, Luciano Pavarotti a singer, Frederic Chopin a pianist,” Patricia Wells, a cook and food writer, wrote in “L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon,” a book about the chef and his students. “Joel Robuchon will undoubtedly go down as the artist who most influenced the 20th-century world of cuisine.”

While he was no stranger to the fancy — truffles and caviar were among his favorites — his food was often described as simple because he preached the use of only three or four ingredients in most dishes and his goal was always to show off, not mask, their flavors.

He started a revolution with his “Atelier” — workshop in French — model: small, intimate restaurants where diners sat at a counter surrounding the kitchen. It didn’t take reservations and it didn’t have tables (for the most part).

His goal, he said, was to make diners feel comfortable, let them interact with the chef and, above all, put the focus back on the food. It was partially a rebuke to the Michelin star regime, which awards points not just for technique but also for the ambiance and service.

But Michelin, and just about everyone else, gobbled it up. And thanks to Ateliers around the world — from Las Vegas to Tokyo — Robuchon reached a total of 32 Michelin stars in 2016 —a record— and still held 31 stars this year, including five three-star restaurants.

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