“The Facts of Life” aired on NBC from 1979-1988, and oh, how I loved it!
How could you watch it and NOT want to move in with those girls at
Eastland School? I mean, with Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Ray) to take care
of you and with friends like Jo (Nancy McKeon), Blair (Lisa Whelchel),
Natalie (Mindy Cohn), and Tootie (Kim Fields), boarding school would be
nothing but awesome.
And sure, Blair was a spoiled brat, but she could totally give you some
great hair care tips, am I right? I thought that Tootie and Natalie were
so fun and silly to be around, and Jo was such a badass. They were the
very best kind of television friends.
“The Facts of Life” was a spin-off of “Diff’rent
Strokes,” another hit 80s sitcom. In the last episode of “Diff’rent
Strokes,” Kimberley Drummond asked the housekeeper, Edna Garrett, to
help with a production at her boarding school. Mrs. Garrett scored a new
job and a new series, but Kimberley wasn’t featured in the new show.
Fun facts about “Facts”:
That catchy theme song was written by Al Burton, Gloria Loring, and Alan
Thicke, the same team who composed the theme song for “Diff’rent
Ringwald played “Molly”, but was written out of the show after the
first season along with three other characters.
Mrs. Garrett’s sister, Beverley Ann (Cloris
Leachman) took over housemother duties at Eastland for the last two
The original Blair in the pilot was
Geri Lee Reischl, best known as “fake Jan” – the actress who
replaced Eve Plumb on The Brady Bunch Hour in the late 70s. She had to
back out due to contract conflicts.
Snobby recurring character Boots St. Clair was portrayed by
Geri Jewell played Geri Tyler, Blair’s cousin who had cerebral
Kim Field’s real-life mother (Chip Fields) was Tootie’s onscreen
In the final episode, “Graduation”, Mrs. Garrett starts a business
called “Edna’s Edibles”. The four girls go to work for her and live
together in a room next to her store.
appeared on the show in 1986 and performed her hit song “Two of Hearts”.
For two episodes, Stacey Q played Cinnamon, an aspiring singer, who
started dating George Clooney’s character. At this point, Tootie was
also trying to make it as a singer and had to deal with some jealousy
issues. George became a roadie for Cinnamon and left the series:
Two made-for-TV movies aired in 1982 and 1987. First was “The Facts of
Life Goes to Paris”:
Then came “The Facts of Life Down Under”:
Wondering whatever became of your friends from Eastland? Dude, there was a
reunion show in 2001! It’s no surprise that the girls grew up into
successful women and that they still treasure their friendship. Also,
Tootie finally got sick of her nickname and decided to go by her real
name, Dorothy. Go figure.
I totally got goosebumps and teary-eyed watching this Good Morning America
clip from April 2011. When compared to the heartaches and tragedies that
befell so many childhood stars, the “Facts” girls seem so together and
warm and happy. Heartfelt congratulations to the ladies of Eastland for
their successes in the eighties and beyond!