“The Facts of Life” was a beloved sitcom that ran on NBC from 1979 to 1988. Featuring a colorful cast of characters, the show’s setting was Eastland School, a fictional boarding school in Peekskill, NY. While the show began with a slightly larger cast of characters, including the likes of one Molly Ringwald, by season three, the key players had been whittled down to five main players: Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner, Kim Fields as Tootie Ramsey, Mindy Cohn as Natalie Green, Nancy McKeon as Jo Polniaczek, and Charlotte Rae as the beloved Mrs. Garrett. Other actors had some of their first acting gigs on the show — namely George Clooney and Mackenzie Astin. Other notable players who made appearances throughout the show’s run include Jami Gertz, Cloris Leachman, and everyone’s favorite Flamenco artist and ’80s TV guest star staple, Charo. (Cuchi! Cuchi!)
While we enjoyed nine glorious seasons with the girls and Mrs. G., we can’t help but wonder where the cast of “The Facts of Life” is now. Grab a cuppa nostalgia, and let’s take a walk down Memory Lane to find out.
Lisa Whelchel played the insufferable Blair Warner throughout the entire run of “The Facts of Life.” For nine seasons she primped and preened and humblebragged about her privileged life. So what has Lisa Whelchel been up to since the show wrapped?
Author, Singer, Survivor Contestant
During her run on “The Facts of Life,” Lisa simultaneously pursued a singing career, putting out a Christian music album in 1984. After the show, however, she turned to the speaker’s circuit, appearing as an inspirational keynote speaker at churches and religious conferences. She has also since authored 10 books on everything from homeschooling to parenting, all through the Christian lens. In 2012, she competed on and was a runner-up on “Survivor: Philippines.” Today, you’ll find Lisa relishing her role as wife, mom and grandmother as well as picking up smaller roles on both TV and podcasts.
Kim Fields, pictured above in 1985 holding a photo of what she looked like when she started on the show just six years before, played the wide-eyed and bubbly Tootie Ramsey for the entirety of the show’s run. When the show first started, Kim was so short that show’s producers put her on roller skates to give her a little bit of height.
A Lifelong Performer
Kim Fields had roles before “The Facts of Life,” and she hasn’t slowed down since the sitcom went off the air. She’s appeared in both film and television, her most popular post-“Facts” role arguably being Regine on five seasons of “Living Single.” Her most current role is alongside Adrian Holmes in “Adventures in Christmasing” now streaming on Paramount+.
Nancy McKeon was part of a ’70s and ’80s acting family. Her brother Philip McKeon played Tommy Hyatt on the hit “Alice.” But Nancy McKeon held her own in the role of the brutish Jo Polniaczek on “The Facts of Life.” With a decidedly blue-collar background, she was the antithesis of Lisa Whelchel’s character, Blair.
Dancing, Directing and More
While Nancy had a string of made-for-TV movies, she’s also written and directed her own works. She dressed up in 2018 for Season 27 of “Dancing With the Stars.” It was a short-lived stint, however, when she was the third celebrity to be eliminated. Tragically, her brother Philip passed away in 2019.
Mindy Cohn played the always-smiling and glass-half-full Natalie Green during the nine seasons of “The Facts of Life.” In true Hollywood fashion, Cohn was discovered by Charlotte Rae, who played Mrs. Garrett, when Rae toured Cohn’s high school while doing research prior to the launch of the sitcom.
Voice Actor, Advocate, Cancer Survivor
Mindy Cohn has not slowed down since “The Facts of Life” went off the air back in 1988. Since then, she has starred in a variety of films and TV shows and done voice-over work on popular shows like “Scooby-Doo,” “Kim Possible,” and “Family Guy” to name a few. Additionally, Cohn battled — and beat — breast cancer. She also enjoys doing advocacy work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community.
Charlotte Rae had been acting for nearly 25 years before she appeared on “The Facts of Life.” With roles in popular series like “Car 54, Where are You?” “The Love Boat,” “The Partridge Family” and many other hits.
Acting, Writing and Health Struggles
Just as her career had been prolific before “Facts,” so too it was after. When the show wrapped, Rae went on to star in a variety of film and TV roles. She also wrote a book appropriately titled The Facts of My Life with her son Larry Strauss, which was released in 2015. Rae, who was diagnosed with and successfully beaten pancreatic cancer back in 2009, was diagnosed in 2017 with bone cancer, and she passed away the following year.
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