Despite its age, The Facts of Life remains a beloved sitcom but whatever happened to its cast of lovable characters?
Back in the ’80s, The Facts of Life was a staple in many Americans’ homes. Every week, teens would sit down at the television and watch as Mrs. Garrett bestowed knowledge and wisdom onto the girls at Eastland School. The Facts of Life ran for nine seasons from 1979 to 1988, making it one of the longest running sitcoms.
Even though the sitcom ended over 30 years ago, it remains beloved by many fans. To this day, you can catch reruns of it and for many it brings back nostalgic feelings of simpler times. But whatever happened to Mrs. Garrett and her girls, and all the other characters that made up the Eastland School? Find out here!
Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett)
Mrs. Garrett was like the godmother everyone wished they had growing up. Charlotte Rae embodied Mrs. Edna Garrett with her kind eyes and words of wisdom. But Charlotte Rae was more than simply Mrs. Garrett, a housemother in New York.
She was a comedian, a singer, and a Broadway actor with a career spanning six decades. After she left The Facts of Life, she became a voice over actor in Tom and Jerry: The Movie, starred in Off-Broadway productions, as well as appearing in several The Facts of Life reunions. Rae passed away on August 5, 2018, at the age of 92 after battling bone cancer.
Lisa Whelchel (Blair Warner)
Lisa Whelchel starred as wealthy, preppy Blair Warner for the entire nine season run of The Facts of Life. Blair was the ultimate 80’s teen queen with her spoiled attitude, success in school with grades and popularity, and her vanity.
After The Facts of Life ended in 1988, Whelchel dropped the teen queen title and focused more on her faith having released a Christian pop album in 1984. Since 2004, she has been an inspirational speaker at churches and conferences and has written ten books. Most recently in 2012 she was voted the fan favorite on the reality competition show Survivor.
Nancy McKeon (Joanne “Jo” Polniaczek)
Back in the 80’s and well into the 2000’s, tomboys were a popular character as they were girls who could hang with the guys. Every group had one and for The Facts of Life, Jo Polniaczek was theirs. Nancy McKeon starred as Jo from the second season of The Facts of Life to its final ninth season.
Once The Facts of Life ended, McKeon never quite hit stardom stasis. She starred in several made for TV films in the 80’s and 90’s and also portrayed characters in short lived series including Sonny with a Chance and The Division.
Kim Fields (Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey)
Tootie, played by Kim Fields, was one of the original season 1 characters who starred in all nine of The Facts of Life’s seasons. Tootie looked innocent, but her gossiping is usually what landed the group into trouble. To this day fans still quote her catchphrase, “We’re in trou-ble!”
Having played Tootie from a young age and for nine years, many would think it would be difficult to move on. But after The Facts of Life, Fields continued on with her career. In the 90’s, she starred in the popular sitcom Living Single. She also obtained her degree in directing and went on to direct several of Tyler Perry’s sitcoms.
Mindy Cohn (Natalie Green)
While Blair might have been the vain one with her blonde hair and petite frame, Natalie, played by Mindy Cohn, was the confident one. Mindy Cohn embodied Natalie’s unwavering confidence with her plus size figure and fans admired her for it.
Playing a sitcom character it can be difficult to transition to other types of acting, but Cohn became a successful voice over actor. She voiced Velma in the Scooby-Doo franchise for 13 years from 2002 to 2015. She has also made numerous guest appearances in series including Hot in Cleveland, The Middle, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
George Clooney (George Burnett)
Even though his time on the series was short lived, George Clooney’s character George Burnett made a lasting impact on fans. George Burnett was the handsome handyman hired to repair Mrs. Garrett’s bakery, Edna’s Edibles, after it burned down.
George departed The Facts of Life after Season 8, but as most people know his acting career did not stop there. Throughout the 90’s, his fame continued to grow and he became an acting force to be reckon with. He has starred in numerous hit films and as well as portraying Doug Ross in the successful medical drama, ER.
Mackenzie Astin (Andy Moffett)
Andy, played by Mackenzie Astin, was wise beyond his years as he was often helping the girls with their personal problems. With his upbeat attitude despite his troubling life, he quickly won the hearts of everyone in the four seasons he appeared on the series.
Since the ending of The Facts of Life, Astin has played several reoccurring characters in popular shows including Scandal and Homeland as well as guest appearances on LOST, House, and Grey’s Anatomy. He’s also appeared in numerous films such as Iron Will and Wyatt Earp.
Cloris Leachman (Beverly Ann Stickle)
When Mrs. Garrett departed in Sseason 8, Charlotte Rae picked Cloris Leachman to be her replacement as housemother and Edna’s sister, Beverly Ann. Leachman has had one of the longest running careers in Hollywood. In 2002, she was awarded an Emmy for her role as Grandma Ida in Malcolm in the Middle, which became her fourth decade of being an Emmy winning actress.
She has also acted in several films including Longest Yard with Adam Sandler and Sky High with Kurt Russell. Leachman is currently 94 and is still loved by fans of multiple generations.
Felice Schachter (Nancy Olsen)
When The Facts of Life first aired there were several main characters that attended Eastland who were gradually written out of the series as it began to focus on the central four students. Nancy Olsen, played by Felice Schachter, was one of the students who fell to the wayside.
After Schachter left the series her acting career never took off. Throughout the years, she has worked on multiple productions including Magic Island and The Gnomes’ Great Adventure.
Julie Piekarski (Sue Ann Weaver)
Just like Nancy Olsen, Sue Ann Weaver was another Eastland student who was written off the series by the third season. Sue Ann, portrayed by Julie Piekarski, was typically in competition with Blair for boys and needing pep talks from Mrs. Garrett about her lower I.Q.
Piekarski’s acting career unfortunately never led her to fame, but she did have several guest appearances in series including General Hospital. She took a break from acting to raise her three children and according to her website is looking to make a return to entertainment.