‘Facts of Life’ Star Lisa Whelchel Amazes Viewers With Ageless Look Over 40 Years After Premiere

by Suzanne Halliburton
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If you’re a woman of a certain age and you grew up watching the Facts of Life, you probably wonder what Blair looks like these days.

You know Blair. She was the preppy, sometimes snooty, always beautiful girl who attended Eastland School in upstate New York. Her fantastic blonde hair entered the scene before Blair ever did. And Texan Lisa Whelchel played Blair Warner to delicious perfection.

Whelchel showed up for Tuesday’s live, remake of Facts of Life. She didn’t play Blair in the cast. That was Jennifer Aniston. You know Aniston as Rachel on Friends. Whelchel, in terms of pop culture, played that kind of perfect character before Aniston ever got on television.

And we’re happy to report that Whelchel looks fantastic. So that means Blair, in that fictitious post-prep-school world, looks fabulous, too. This makes us very happy.

If you don’t believe our eyes, test your own by watching Whelchel sing the Facts of Life theme song. Remember that Whelchel is 58. And a grandmother. At the end of the song, Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields joined Whelchel on set.

Whelchel Said She Got Emotional While On Facts of Life Set

Tuesday night’s Facts of Life reenactment hit Whelchel right in the feels.

“It wasn’t even being on the set,” she said. “It was a million times waiting backstage at the top of the stairs at the kitchen and walking in. That’s where it really hit me.”

The redo was a Facts of Life episode called Kids Can Be Cruel. It originally ran in March 1982 during season three of the series. And the title basically told the whole story. It was kind of an early 1980s version of today’s social media. The current actors who helped in the reenactment included Allison Tolman as Cohn’s Natalie, Gabrielle Union as Fields’ Tootie, Kathryn Hahn as Jo and Ann Dowd as Mrs. Garrett.

This was the third year that ABC has run its Live in Front of A Studio Audience special. Besides Facts of Life, the network also reenacted Diff’rent Strokes. ABC first did this in May 2019, with All in the Family and The Jeffersons. Later in 2019, the network did another All in the Family followed by Good Times.

Norman Lear is the conduit for all the reenacted shows. The king of classic TV comedy, now 99, was on hand with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel for the festivities. Lear forgot he was on live TV when he dropped an F-bomb in conversation.

“Never before in the history of American television has a 99-year-old person used the F-word,” Kimmel said. “So congratulations. Another feather in your hat … You know it’s a live show and we were worried that, like, Snoop (Dogg) would curse on air. And sure enough, Norman dropped an F-bomb right at the top of the show.”

But in the end, folks were talking about Whelchel, the ageless star of Facts of Life.

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