“The Facts of Life” went off the air over 30 years, following nine seasons on NBC. Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the cast of “The Facts of Life” and how their lives changed over the years. Keep reading to catch up with Kim Fields, Mindy Cohn and more stars of “The Facts of Life.”
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Charlotte Rae starred as Edna Garrett, the housemother of the all-girls Eastland School in Peekskill, New York, on the first eight seasons of “The Facts of Life.”
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After she left “The Facts of Life,” for which she earned an Emmy nomination, Charlotte Rae popped up on episodes of “Murder, She Wrote,” “The King of Queens,” “ER,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “Girl Meets World.” She also appeared in several made-for-TV movies, found work as a television voice actress and had roles in 2008’s “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and 2015’s “Ricki and the Flash.” In 2015, she released her memoir, “The Facts of My Life,” which she co-wrote with Larry Strauss, one of her two sons with her late ex-husband, bisexual composer John Strauss. (Their other son, Andrew, suffered from autism and dementia and died of a heart attack when he was in his mid-40s.) In 2017, Charlotte, who previously beat pancreatic cancer, was diagnosed with bone cancer. She died at the age of 92 on Aug. 5, 2018.
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Lisa Whelchel starred as the rebellious Blair Warner on all nine seasons of “The Facts of Life.”
After “The Facts of Life” ended, Lisa Whelchel appeared in the 1992 straight-to-video sequel to “Where the Red Fern Grows.” She then took an extended hiatus from acting to be a stay-at-home mom and wife: She and her ex-husband, with whom she shares a son and two daughters, tied the knot just months after “The Facts of Life” ended — and she homeschooled all three of their kids. Lisa returned to Hollywood with 2013’s “A Madea Christmas” and has since starred in three made-for-TV movies. (One of her daughters, Clancy Cauble, had a role in the 2016 Hallmark movie “Hearts of Spring,” which Lisa starred in and executive produced.) The former child star, who works primarily as an inspirational speaker and life coach, has also released more than a dozen books, co-hosted “The Jeff Probst Show” in 2012 and 2013 and was co-runner-up on Season 25 of “Survivor” in 2012. Lisa married Nashville-based psychologist Pete Harris in 2019.
Kim Fields starred as roller-skating enthusiast Tootie Ramsey on all nine seasons of “The Facts of Life.”
Kim Fields went on to star as Regine Hunter on “Living Single” from 1993 to 1988. Since then, she’s popped up on various TV shows and portrayed a social worker in 2012’s “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” She also starred on Season 8 of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” in 2015 and 2016, competed on Season 22 of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2016 and discovered her second calling as a television director, directing episodes of “Kenan & Kel,” “Meet the Browns,” “House of Payne” and more. Kim married her second husband, Broadway actor Christopher Morgan, in 2007, just two months after they welcomed their first child, son Sebastian. Their second little boy, Quincy, arrived in late 2013. She appeared on Season 8 of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” in 2015 and 2016 and in late 2017, she released her memoir, “Blessed Life: My Surprising Journey of Joy, Tears, and Tales from Harlem to Hollywood.”
Mindy Cohn starred as Natalie Green on all nine seasons of “The Facts of Life.”
Though Mindy Cohn continues to book small TV and movie roles, she’s had the most success as a voice actress — specifically in the role of Velma in the “Scooby-Doo” franchise. (She even scored a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 2003 for her work on “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?”) She also had an eight-episode stint on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” in 2012. In late 2017, she revealed to People magazine that she’d secretly battled breast cancer for five years, undergoing a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation as part of her treatment. She’s now cancer-free after healing at the home of lifestyle gurus and “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” reality stars Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge (her extremely close pals) — a 60-acre farm outside Sharon Springs, New York.
Nancy McKeon joined the cast of “The Facts of Life” as tomboy Jo Polniaczek during the second season.
Nancy McKeon went on to appear in small film and TV roles, as well as in several made-for-TV movies. Most notably, she starred as Inspector Jinny Exstead on “The Division” from 2001 to 2004 and had a five-episode stint on “Sonny with a Chance” as the mother of Demi Lovato’s character in 2009 and 2010. But she hasn’t appeared on camera since a 2011 made-for-TV movie. Nancy married key grip Marc Andrus in 2003. They welcomed daughters Aurora in 2004 and Harlow in 2006.
Felice Schachter starred as Nancy Olsen on the first season of “The Facts of Life” and popped up occasionally on subsequent seasons of the show.
Felice Schachter basically retired from acting after her short stint on “The Facts of Life” came to an end. She went to college at Brown University and then worked as a production coordinator on shows like “JAG,” “High Tide” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She also worked as a line producer, assistant director and production manager on various film and TV projects before finally leaving Hollywood behind. In 2012, Felice told a blog that she’s raising her son, William, as a single mother and working as a special education teacher.
Julie Piekarski starred as Sue Ann Weaver on the first season of “The Facts of Life” and popped up occasionally on subsequent seasons of the show.
Julie Piekarski took an extended hiatus from acting after her short stint on “The Facts of Life” came to an end, though she briefly returned to Hollywood with a role in the 2016 indie film “The Importance of Doubting Tom.” She studied biochemistry and then communications and business at UCLA before returning to her hometown of St. Louis, where she worked as an entertainment reporter on a local TV station but primarily put her career on hold to raise her kids. In 1986, Julie married dentist John Probst, from whom she’s now separated. They have two sons, Patrick and Christian, a theater actor, and a daughter, Jacqueline. Julie and Kim Fields are still close — she’s even spent time recently with her former co-star’s kids!
Julie Anne Haddock starred as Cindy Webster on the first season of “The Facts of Life” and popped up occasionally on subsequent seasons of the show.
Julie Anne Haddock retired from acting after her short stint on “The Facts of Life” came to an end. In 1997, she married Emmy-winning technical director Eric Becker, with whom she shares a son named Brody. She’s reportedly active at her church, where she helps with fundraising efforts.
Molly Ringwald starred as Molly Parker on the first season of “The Facts of Life” and popped up occasionally on the second season of the show.
Two years after Molly Ringwald’s role on “The Facts of Life” came to an end, she made her feature-film debut in “Tempest,” for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. She then became one of the biggest teen stars of the ’80s with roles in “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.” She went on to appear in small film, television and made-for-TV movie roles and also starred in several Broadway productions before making her big return to Hollywood with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” on which she starred from 2008 to 2013. In recent years, Molly has popped up in “King Cobra” and “Jem and the Holograms” and she currently portrays Molly Andrews on “Riverdale.” She also released a memoir, a collection of short stories and two jazz albums. In 2002, she split from French novelist Valery Lameignère after three years of marriage and an eight-year engagement. In 2007, she wed writer Panio Gianopoulos. They welcomed daughter Mathilda Ereni in 2003 and twins Adele Georgiana and Roman Stylianos in 2009.
Mackenzie Astin portrayed Andy Moffett, who worked in the Over Our Heads gift shop, during the last four seasons of “The Facts of Life.”
After “The Facts of Life” concluded, Mackenzie Astin (the son of Patty Duke and John Astin and half-brother of Sean Astin) worked steadily in small film and TV roles, appearing on everything from “Lost” and “House” to “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Mad Men.” In 2014, he scored a major breakthrough: a recurring role as Noah Baker on “Scandal.” Mackenzie has portrayed Richard Corrigan on the cult series “The Magicians,” and he starred as Bill Dunn on the seventh season of “Homeland” in 2018. He and his wife, Jennifer, tied the knot in 2011.
George Clooney portrayed handyman George Burnett on the seventh and eighth seasons of “The Facts of Life.”
George Clooney went on to become one of the biggest stars on the planet, earning two Emmy and three Golden Globe nominations for his work on “ER” in the ’90s and then transitioning primarily to film. He won his first Golden Globe in 2001 for his performance in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and his first Oscar in 2006 for “Syriana.” He made his directorial debut with 2002’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” and racked up Oscar nominations for writing and directing “Good Night, and Good Luck.,” for acting in “Michael Clayton,” “Up in the Air” and “The Descendants” and for writing “The Ides of March.” He won his second Academy Award in 2013 for “Argo,” which he produced. He also starred in the “Ocean’s Eleven” remake trilogy, portrayed the Caped Crusader in 1997’s “Batman & Robin” and wrote, directed and starred in the 2017 disappointment “Suburbicon.” Up next, he’s producing, directing and starring on the Hulu miniseries “Catch-22.” On top of all that, he’s an active humanitarian, co-founding Not On Our Watch, the Satellite Sentinel Project and the Clooney Foundation for Justice. After a brief romance with Kelly Preston and a four-year marriage to Talia Balsam in the late ’80s and early ’90s, George had a string of high-profile relationships with beauties like Elisabetta Canalis and Stacy Keibler before finding love with British human rights attorney Amal Alamuddin in 2013. They tied the knot in 2014 and welcomed twins Ella and Alexander in 2017.
Cloris Leachman portrayed Beverly Ann Stickle, Edna’s sister, on the last two seasons of “The Facts of Life.”
Cloris Leachman had already won multiple Emmys, a Golden Globe and an Oscar by the time she joined the cast of “The Facts of Life” in 1986 — the same year her oldest son, Bryan Englund, died of a drug overdose. (She had four sons and a daughter with director-producer George Englund before they split in 1979.) The former beauty queen added to her collection of Emmys in 1998 for her performance on “Promised Land” and in 2002 and 2006 for her work on “Malcolm in the Middle.” She also earned nominations for “Raising Hope,” “Mrs. Harris” and “Joan of Arcadia” and appeared in films like “Prancer,” “Now and Then,” “Bad Santa,” “Spanglish,” “The Longest Yard” and “New York, I Love You.” Most recently, she appeared in the 2018 Bart Millard biopic “I Can Only Imagine,” had a two-episode stint on “American Gods” in 2017 and worked as a voice actress. In 2008, Cloris competed on the seventh season of “Dancing with the Stars.” The following year, she released “Cloris: My Autobiography.” Cloris passed away at the age of 94 from natural causes on Jan. 26, 2021.
John Lawlor portrayed Steven Bradley, the school’s headmaster, on the first season of “The Facts of Life.”
John Lawlor continued to take on small film and TV roles after his short stint on “The Facts of Life” came to an end. He appeared in 1994’s “Wyatt Earp” and had stints on “Knots Landing,” “Scoundrels” (pictured) and, most recently, “Godless.” He also had a small role in 2017’s “Gold” and has worked as an assistant director on films like “Excalibur,” “Highlander” and “A Prayer for the Dying.” In 1988, he wed actress Tantoo Cardinal. They had a daughter, Riel, before calling it quits.
Jenny O’Hara (right) portrayed teacher Emily Mahoney on just a few episodes of the first season of “The Facts of Life” before her character was written off the show.
Jenny O’Hara continued to land small film and TV roles after her super-short stint on “The Facts of Life” came to an end. She starred on “My Sister Sam” in the ’80s, had a role in 2003’s “Mystic River,” portrayed Janet Heffernan on “The King of Queens” from 2001 to 2007 and had a five-episode stint on “Big Love.” Most recently, she starred as Bryna on “Transparent” and portrayed Dot on “The Mindy Project.” She also has a role in the 2018 indie comedy “Duck Butter.” Jenny married her second husband, actor Nick Ullett, in 1986. They have two daughters.
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