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The Facts of Life TV Show


The Facts Of Life

Date September 29, 2008
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A spin-off of the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life is a sitcom that aired on NBC from 1979 to 1988 and focused on Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) as she becomes housemother at the fictional Eastland School, an all-female boarding school in Peekskill, New York.
Before Degrassi Junior High and Seventh Heaven, there was The Facts of Life--a feel-good sitcom where a lesson was learned at the end of each episode. Set in an all-girl boarding school, the series spanned nine seasons, countless hairdos, and an array of cast members and guest stars--some of whom (George Clooney, Helen Hunt, Molly Ringwald) would become very, very famous in the future. Tseries introduces TV viewers to characters that represent girls everyone knows--Blair, the rich, spoiled girl; Natalie, the chubby smart aleck; Jo, the rebellious tomboy; and Tootie, the rollerskating tattletale.

The Facts Of Life

A spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life was designed as a showcase for Charlotte Rae, who played jack-of-all-trades den mother Edna Garrett. But the show's central plots all revolved around the girls. Back in 1979, certain words weren't common on television. So when Blair tries to make a schoolmate feel bad, insinuating that the girl is a lesbian, she uses the word "strange" instead of the "L" word. The series is a coming-of-age story that plays to its target audience of teenage girls. While much of the humor isn't very sophisticated, the homespun messages the show spread are right on target, whether it's dealing with eating disorders, sexual promiscuity, or acknowledging that handicapped people are people, too. From 1979 to 1988, the girls would grow into young women who go to college, get jobs, and lose their virginity (not necessarily in that order).

Cast & Characters

  • Charlotte Rae as Edna Garrett (1979-1986)
  • Mindy Cohn as Natalie Green
  • Kim Fields as Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey
  • Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner
  • MacKenzie Astin as Andy Moffett (1985-1988)
  • Scott Byrce as Rick Bonner (1988)
  • George Clooney as George Burnett (1985-1986)
  • Julie Anne Haddock as Cindy Webster (1979-1980)
  • Todd Hollowell as Jeff Williams (1987-1988)
  • Sherrie Krenn as Pippa McKenna (1987-1988)
  • John Lawlor as Stephen Bradley (1979-1980)
  • Cloris Leachman as Beverly Ann Stickle (1986-1988)
  • Nancy McKeon as Jo Polniazek (1980-1988)
  • Jenny O'Hara as Emily Mahoney (1979)
  • Julie Piekarski as Sue Ann Weaver (1979-1980)
  • Paul Provenza as Casey Clark (1987-1988)
  • Molly Ringwald as Molly Parker (1979-1980)
  • Robert Romanus as Snake Robinson (1987-1988)
  • Felice Schachter as Nancy Olson (1979-1980)
  • Pam Segall as Kelly Affinado (1983-1984)
  • Hugh Gillin as Howard (1980-1981)

Broadcast History

The Facts Of Life First Telecast: August 24, 1979
Last Telecast: May 7, 1988
Original Network:  NBC
Number of Seasons: 9
Number of Episodes: 209
Original Primetime TV Schedule:
  • August 1979- September 1979, NBC, Friday 8:00-8:30pm
  • March 1980- May 1980, NBC, Friday 8:30-9:00pm
  • June 1980- July 1980, NBC, Wednesday 9:30-10:00pm
  • August 1980- October 1980, NBC, Friday 8:30-9:00pm
  • November 1980- October 1981, NBC, Wednesday 9:30-10:00pm
  • October 1981- August 1985, NBC, Wednesday 9:00-9:30pm
  • September 1985- June 1986, NBC, Saturday 8:30-9:00pm
  • June 1986- May 1987, NBC, Saturday 8:00-8:30pm
  • June 1987- July 1987 , NBC, Wednesday 9:00-9:30pm
  • July 1987- May 1988, NBC, Saturday 8:00-8:30pm

Theme Song Lyrics & Opening Credits


"The Facts of Life," by Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton, sung by Gloria Loring.

You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.
There's a time you got to go and show
You're growin' now you know about
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life.
When the world never seems
to be livin up to your dreams
And suddenly you're finding out
the Facts of Life are all about you, you.
It takes a lot to get 'em right
When you're learning the Facts of Life. (learning the Facts of Life)
Learning the Facts of Life (learning the Facts of Life)
Learning the Facts of Life.
Listen to theme song:

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The Facts Of Life on DVD

Seasons 1 & 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5

View all Facts Of Life DVDs, books, merchandise and collectibles from Amazon.com

Purchase episodes on Facts Of Life, The (1979)

Watch The Facts of Life Episodes

Facts Of Life Trivia

The Facts of Life TV show was a "spin-off" of the 1978 series, "Diff'rent Strokes". On that series, Charlotte Rae played the role of the Drummond's housekeeper.

Cloris Leachman was the first actress to wim five Emmy Awards all in different categories. She won the title of "Miss Chicago" in the 1946 Miss America competition. She is perhaps best known for her role of "Phyllis Lyndstrom" on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970)". That series also "spin-off series" of its own titled, "Phyllis" 0n which Cloris starred for two seasons.

The Facts Of Life was the longest running TV show with an all female main cast.

Charlotte Rae's nickname is "Maude". She starred in the original run of the Broadway musical, "Lil' Abner" in the role of "Mammy Yokum.

Kim Fields was only 9 years old when she portrayed "Tootie" (who was supposed to be 12 years old) on the series. In order to make her appear older, during the first season of the Facts Of Life, she wore roller skates to increase her height on camera.

Actor Alan Thicke wrote the theme song for the Facts of Life and "Diff'rent Strokes" but not for his own series, "Growing Pains".

Lisa Whelchel got her big break when she was selected to be a "Mouseketeer" on the "Mickey Mouse Club" TV show. She sponsored several Mouseketeer reunions for former cast members. Her daughter appeared as an extra on the "Facts of Life Reunion" TV movie that aired on ABC in 2001.

Kim Fields was the first female, minority child star. She is also a graduate of Pepperdine University with a degree in communications.

Nancy McKeon got her start in show business at the age of two by modelling baby clothes in the Sears catalog. She and her brother did more than 65 commercials! She decided to not take part in the Facts of Life reunion movie. Like many others, she felt that reunion shows just don't live up to one's memories of the series and since she won't watch such TV shows, she wouldn't appear in one either.
Last modified on December 16, 2013
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