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November 27, 2014

'The Facts of Life' Cast: Where Are They Now?

by Kim Potts, posted Aug 4th 2008 10:05AM
Whatever happened to Tootie, Blair, Natalie and the other Eastland girls?

Quick -- how many '80s sitcoms can you name that featured three future Oscar winners amongst their cast and crew?

We're not talking about 'Charles in Charge;' it's 'The Facts of Life,' the 1979-1988 boarding school comedy that gave us wise-crackin' teens, a roller-skatin' Tootie and that trio of Oscar-caliber talent.

Who were those Academy Award-worthy 'Life'-ers? Read on.



Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

Quick -- how many '80s sitcoms can you name that featured three future Oscar winners amongst their cast and crew? We're not talking about <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/charles-in-charge/120135/main' target='_blank'>'Charles in Charge;'</a> it's 'The Facts of Life,' the 1979-1988 boarding school comedy that gave us wise-crackin' teens, a roller-skatin' Tootie and that trio of Oscar-caliber talent. Who were those Academy Award-worthy 'Life'-ers? Read on. -- <i>By Kimberly Potts</i>

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/kim-fields/23372' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Kim Fields</font></a>

<b>Tootie Ramsey</b>

<b>Then:</b> After guest appearances on <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/good-times/62856/main' target='_blank'>'Good Times'</a> (on which her mom, <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/chip-fields/23360' target='_blank'>Chip Fields</a>, co-starred), Fields was hired to play Tootie, the gossipy, braces-wearing, roller-skating youngest member of Mrs. Garrett's girls. She spied on her roommies, aspired to be an actress and had the sing-song-y catchphrase "We are in trou-ble!"

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/kim-fields/23372' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Kim Fields</font></a>

<b>Tootie Ramsey</b>

<b>Now:</b> After 'Facts,' she attended Pepperdine University, then co-starred with <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/queen-latifah/40714' target='_blank'>Queen Latifah</a> in the Fox sitcom <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/living-single/49497/main' target='_blank'>'Living Single.'</a> She also performed with a rap/R&B group called Impromp2, directed episodes of <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/kenan-and-kel/103274/main' target='_blank'>'Kenan & Kel'</a> and married Broadway actor <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/christopher-morgan/265049' target='_blank'>Christopher Morgan</a>, the father of her son Sebastian.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/mindy-cohn/13983' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Mindy Cohn</font></a>

<b>Natalie Green</b>

<b>Then:</b> She was discovered by future co-star <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/charlotte-rae/58440' target='_blank'>Charlotte Rae</a> when Rae was researching for the show at Cohn's L.A. school, Harvard-Westlake. Natalie was central in 'FoL' episodes on adoption (Natalie was adopted), self-image (she was overweight), religion (she was Jewish) and sex (she was the first 'Facts' girl to "go all the way").

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/mindy-cohn/13983' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Mindy Cohn</font></a>

<b>Natalie Green</b>

<b>Now:</b> Green moved in with new roommies (one was future star <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/david-spade/67050/main' target='_blank'>David Spade</a>) in a late-series plot that was supposed to (but didn't) lead to a spin-off, but her biggest post-'FoL' success has been voice work (including a Daytime Emmy nod for <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/whats-new-scooby-doo/79804/main' target='_blank'>'What's New, Scooby-Doo?'</a>) and being a founding member of the <a href='http://www.wespark.org/about.html' target='_blank'>weSpark cancer support center</a>.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/lisa-whelchel/75795' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Lisa Whelchel</font></a>

<b>Blair Warner</b>

<b>Then:</b> After starring as a Mouseketeer on the 1977-78 'The New Mickey Mouse Club,' Texan Whelchel was hired to play Blair, the blonde, beautiful, looks-obsessed, snooty socialite who tried to rule Eastland. Blair got -- somewhat -- nicer as the series continued, though she remained snobby to the very end.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/lisa-whelchel/75795' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Lisa Whelchel</font></a>

<b>Blair Warner</b>

<b>Now:</b> Born-again Christian Whelchel, who nixed a planned 'Facts' ep in which Blair had sex, made a Grammy-nominated Christian album and appeared in the 2001 'FoL' reunion movie, but has mostly left showbiz to raise her three kids. She advocates Christian childraising principles and homeschooling on her <a href='http://www.lisawhelchel.com/' target='_blank'>official site</a>.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/nancy-mckeon/47733' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Nancy McKeon</font></a>

<b>Jo Polniaczek</b>

<b>Then:</b> Discovered by a casting director while she was appearing in a Hallmark ad, McKeon -- the younger sis of <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/alice/1248973/main' target='_blank'>'Alice'</a> star <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/philip-mckeon/47734' target='_blank'>Philip McKeon</a> -- joined 'Facts' at the beginning of season 2, playing tough, smart, motorcycle-ridin' tomboy Jo, who butted heads with preppie snob Blair. Her 'Facts' fame even landed her a private audience with the Pope.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/nancy-mckeon/47733' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Nancy McKeon</font></a>

<b>Jo Polniaczek</b>

<b>Now:</b> McKeon made many TV movies post-'FoL,' and also starred in two failed TV series: 'Can't Hurry Love' (with a pre-<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/law-and-order-special-victims-unit/100016/main' target='_blank'>'Law & Order: SVU'</a> <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/mariska-hargitay/30408' target='_blank'>Mariska Hargitay</a>) and 'Style & Substance,' with <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/jean-smart/66295' target='_blank'>Jean Smart</a>. Most recently she starred in the Lifetime cop drama <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/the-division/267326/main' target='_blank'>'The Division,'</a> became a wife and mother of two and guest-starred on '<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/without-a-trace/79920/main' target='_blank'>'Without a Trace.'</a>

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/charlotte-rae/58440' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Charlotte Rae</font></a>

<b>Edna Garrett</b>

<b>Then:</b> She was the Drummonds' housekeeper, Mrs. Garrett, on <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/diffrent-strokes/120065/main' target='_blank'>'Diff'rent Strokes'</a> before spinning off into 'Life,' where she earned an Emmy nomination for playing housemother, school nutritionist and friend to Tootie, Natalie, Blair, Jo and the other Eastland girls.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/charlotte-rae/58440' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Charlotte Rae</font></a>

<b>Edna Garrett</b>

<b>Now:</b> Rae quit the show in '86, though she appeared in the '01 reunion. She's also guested on TV shows like <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/the-king-of-queens/126575/main' target='_blank'>'The King of Queens,'</a> <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/er/49782/main' target='_blank'>'ER'</a> and <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/strong-medicine/112579/main' target='_blank'>'Strong Medicine,'</a> and the 82-year-old recently played one of the big screen's most, ahem, mature "cougars" when she had a romp with <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/adam-sandler/62990' target='_blank'>Adam Sandler's</a> titular hairdresser in <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/you-dont-mess-with-the-zohan/30940/main' target='_blank'>'You Don't Mess With the Zohan.'</a>

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/george-clooney/13722' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>George Clooney</font></a>

<b>George Burnett</b>

<b>Then:</b> A veteran of a handful of TV guest appearances as well as the failed sitcom 'E/R,' the pre-fame Clooney joined the show in season 7 as George Burnett, a contractor who Mrs. G and the girls hired to help build their Over Our Heads gift shop (producers hired him in hopes that his goofy smile and hot, sexy mullet would boost ratings).

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/george-clooney/13722' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>George Clooney</font></a>

<b>George Burnett</b>

<b>Now:</b> You may have heard about him post-'Facts' ... the ex-<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/er/49782/main' target='_blank'>'ER'</a> leading man is one of Hollywood's biggest stars; he was PEOPLE mag's Sexiest Man Alive (twice!), led the mega-bucks-earning <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/oceans-eleven/10060/main' target='_blank'>'Ocean's'</a> movies, earned Oscar noms for directing and co-writing <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/good-night-and-good-luck/23166/main' target='_blank'>'Good Night, and Good Luck'</a> and won a Supporting Actor Oscar for <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/syriana/19139/main' target='_blank'>'Syriana.'</a>

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/molly-ringwald/60327/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Molly Ringwald</font></a>

<b>Molly Parker</b>

<b>Then:</b> Before she became the queen of '80s teen movies, Ringwald was brainy teen Molly on the first season of 'Facts of Life.'

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/molly-ringwald/60327/main' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Molly Ringwald</font></a>

<b>Molly Parker</b>

<b>Now:</b> The network retooled the series for season 2, and Ringwald lost her spot. She went on, of course, to become the teen dream of John Hughes flicks like <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/pretty-in-pink/5386/main' target='_blank'>'Pretty in Pink,'</a> <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-breakfast-club/10843/main' target='_blank'>'The Breakfast Club'</a> and <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/sixteen-candles/4697/main' target='_blank'>'Sixteen Candles.'</a> Currently, Ringwald's back on TV, as the mom of a pregnant teen in ABC Family's <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/secret-life-of-the-american-teenager/10250943/main' target='_blank'>'The Secret Life of the American Teenager.'</a>

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/cloris-leachman/41211' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Cloris Leachman</font></a>

<b>Beverly Ann Stickle</b>

<b>Then:</b> The Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning star of <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/the-mary-tyler-moore-show/62539/main' target='_blank'>'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'</a> joined 'Life' at the beginning of season 8, as Mrs. Garrett's divorced sister Beverly Ann. Mrs. G had fallen in love and moved to Africa with her new hubby, and Beverly Ann became the girls' new mother figure and proprietor of the Over Our Heads shop.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/cloris-leachman/41211' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Cloris Leachman</font></a>

<b>Beverly Ann Stickle</b>

<b>Now:</b> She's a favorite scapegoat of <a href='http://www.jumptheshark.com' target='_blank'>JumptheShark.com</a> readers, who blame her for the show's ratings decline. But she's gotten the last laugh, winning Emmys playing a grumpy granny on <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/malcolm-in-the-middle/129858/main' target='_blank'>'Malcolm in the Middle,'</a> and having memorable turns in countless series and films. Next, she stars in <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-women/30317/main' target='_blank'>'The Women,'</a> the '08 remake of the ultimate chick flick.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/mackenzie-astin/2647' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>MacKenzie Astin</font></a>

<b>Andy Stickle</b>

<b>Then:</b> The son of <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/patty-duke/2648/main' target='_blank'>Patty Duke</a> and <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/john-astin/2646/main' target='_blank'>John Astin</a>, and the younger brother of <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/sean-astin/2649/main' target='_blank'>Sean Astin</a>, Mackenzie joined the show in season 6 as precocious Andy, who spent time at Over Our Heads to avoid returning to a revolving series of foster homes. In season 8, Beverly Ann adopted him.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/mackenzie-astin/2647' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>MacKenzie Astin</font></a>

<b>Andy Stickle</b>

<b>Now:</b> He's starred in movies like <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/wyatt-earp/1015/main' target='_blank'>'Wyatt Earp,'</a> <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-evening-star/3317/main' target='_blank'>'The Evening Star'</a> and <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-last-days-of-disco/2405/main' target='_blank'>'The Last Days of Disco,'</a> and appeared on TV in <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/house/113097/main' target='_blank'>'House,'</a> <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/without-a-trace/79920/main' target='_blank'>'Without a Trace'</a> and <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/my-name-is-earl/165651/main' target='_blank'>'My Name Is Earl.'</a> <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/lost/113094/main' target='_blank'>'Lost'</a> devotees will also remember him as season 1 flashback character Tom, Kate's doomed ex who perished in a car Kate was driving while she was on the lam.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/geri-jewell/35605' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Geri Jewell</font></a>

<b>Geri Tyler</b>

<b>Then:</b> The stand-up comedian, who has cerebral palsy, became one of the first actresses with a disability to have a regular role on prime time when she began playing Blair's cousin Geri in season 2.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/geri-jewell/35605' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Geri Jewell</font></a>

<b>Geri Tyler</b>

<b>Now:</b> Jewell's a sought after motivational speaker for Fortune 500 companies, and has starred in recurring roles on <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/the-young-and-the-restless/62593/main' target='_blank'>'The Young and the Restless'</a> and, most recently, as <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/deadwood/706477/main' target='_blank'>'Deadwood''s</a> Jewel, the much-maligned cleaning woman at Al Swearengen's brothel.

Whatever Happened to the Eastland Girls?

<a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/julie-anne-haddock/29500' target='_blank'><FONT COLOR='#2864B4'>Julie Ann Haddock</font></a>

<b>Cindy Webster</b>

<b>Then:</b> She was <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/celebrity/robert-duvall/88530' target='_blank'>Robert Duvall's</a> daughter in <a href='http://www.moviefone.com/movie/the-great-santini/1014478/main' target='_blank'>'The Great Santini'</a> and was considered for a <a href='http://www.aoltv.com/show/wonder-woman/761651/main' target='_blank'>'Wonder Woman'</a> spin-off before she landed on season 1 of 'Facts' as a braids-sporting tomboy.

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