The iconic 1980s girls boarding school sitcom The Facts of Life is coming back to life, as Jennifer Aniston, Gabrielle Union and more top stars have signed on for a reenactment special, Live in Front of a Studio Audience, scheduled to air on ABC on December 7, 2021. But what are the ladies of Eastland Academy who played Blair, Jo, Tootie and Natalie on the series up to today?
The show aired on NBC from 1979 through 1988, as it was a spinoff from the hit Diff’rent Strokes featuring Charlotte Rae’s Edna Garrett character leaving to become a housemother to a group of girls at an Upstate New York boarding school. The Facts of Life‘s first season featured a large cast of teen girls, including future 1980s film sweetheart Molly Ringwald.
The cast was paired down in season 2, jettisoning four cast members, including Molly, to focus on the lives of four main leads. The characters who made the cut included rich preppy Blair Warner, played by Lisa Whelchel, jovial Natalie Green, played by Mindy Cohn, and the snarky and gossipy Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey, played by Kim Fields.
Tough Bronx teen Jo Polniaczek was added to season 2, played by Nancy McKeon. Immediately, she and the other three girls had a run in with the law that landed them living together in a spare bedroom away from the main girls dorm and working in the school’s cafeteria as punishment. Mrs. Garrett was made the school’s dietician, since she needed to interact with the four lead teens, who were no longer living in the dormitory.
After the characters graduated from the Eastland School for Girls (albeit in differing seasons), they were kept together as Mrs. Garrett opened up a food store called Edna’s Edibles in season 5 of the series. George Clooney, in one of his earliest roles, joined the cast to help add a hunk factor, playing handyman George Burnett. He helped rebuild Edna’s store after it burned down in a fire, later to be named Over Our Heads, which sold T-shirts and nicknacks.
The future film superstar starred in 17 episodes of the show between seasons 7 and 8, before The Facts of Life finally ended in 1988. Sadly, Charlotte is no longer with us, as she died on August 5, 2018 at the age of 92 following a brief battle with cancer.
Scroll down to find out where the cast members of The Facts of Life are today.
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