Facts of Life, The


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About

From Wikipedia:

The Facts of Life is an American sitcom that originally aired on NBC from August 24, 1979, to May 7, 1988, making it one of the longest-running sitcoms of the 1980s. A spin-off of the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes, the series focuses on Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) as she becomes a housemother (and after the second season, a dietitian as well) at the fictional Eastland School, an all-female boarding school in Peekskill, New York.

A spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes, the series featured the Drummonds' housekeeper, Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) as the housemother of a dormitory at Eastland School, a private all-girls school. The girls in her care included spoiled rich girl Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel); the youngest, gossipy Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey (Kim Fields); and impressionable Natalie Green (Mindy Cohn).

The pilot for the show originally aired as the last episode of Diff'rent Strokes' first season and was called "The Girls' School (aka Garrett's Girls)." The plotline for the pilot had Kimberly Drummond (Dana Plato) requesting that Mrs. Garrett help her sew costumes for a student play at East Lake School for Girls, the school Kimberly attended in upstate New York, as her dorm's housemother had recently quit. Mrs. Garrett agrees to help, puts on a successful play, and also solves a problem for Nancy. Mrs. Garrett is asked to stay on as the new housemother but states she would rather remain working for the Drummonds at the end of the pilot.

Following the pilot, the name of the school was changed to Eastland and characters were replaced, with Natalie, Cindy (Julie Anne Haddock), and Mr. Bradley becoming part of the main group featured. Although Kimberly Drummond is featured as a student at East Lake, her character did not cross over to the spinoff series with Mrs. Garrett.

In the show's first season, episodes focus on the troubles of seven girls, with the action usually set in a large, wood-paneled common room of a girls' dormitory. Also appearing was the school's headmaster, Mr. Steven Bradley (John Lawlor), and Ms. Emily Mahoney (Jenny O'Hara), an Eastland teacher who was dropped after the first four episodes. Early episodes of the show typically revolve around a central morality-based or "lesson teaching" theme. The show's pilot episode plot included a story line in which Blair Warner insinuates that her schoolmate Cindy Webster is a lesbian because she is a tomboy and frequently shows affection for other girls. Other season-one episodes deal with issues including drug use, sex, eating disorders, parental relationships, and peer pressure.

Highlights
Ben Starr on spinning off The Facts of Life from Diff'rent Strokes
02:33
Bob Claver on directing The Facts of Life
01:03
Asaad Kelada on working with the cast of The Facts of Life
03:11
Fred Silverman on The Facts of Life
00:36
Irma and Rocky Kalish on The Facts of Life and an episode with Lisa Welch she refused to do
01:24
Who talked about this show

Bob Claver

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Bob Claver on directing The Facts of Life
01:03

Patty Duke

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Patty Duke on her son, Mackenzie Astin appearing in The Facts of Life as a kid and his talent as an actor
01:32

Geri Jewell

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Geri Jewell on being the first visible character with a disability on a television series on The Facts of Life
02:36
Geri Jewell on being cast on The Facts of Life and having to dance on the first episode on which she appeared ("Cousin Geri")
04:30
Geri Jewell on her contribution to her character on The Facts of Life
00:57
Geri Jewell on her experiences on The Facts of Life and her challenges navigating the entertainment industry
10:39
Geri Jewell on The Facts of Life producer Al Burton advising her when her manager stole her money
04:13
Geri Jewell on her relationship with her castmates on The Facts of Life, particularly Lisa Welchel
01:28
Geri Jewell on the end of her run on The Facts of Life
06:32
Geri Jewell on the impact of her role on The Facts of Life
06:18

Irma Kalish

View Interview
Irma and Rocky Kalish on The Facts of Life and an episode with Lisa Welch she refused to do
01:24

Rocky Kalish

View Interview
Irma and Rocky Kalish on The Facts of Life and an episode with Lisa Welch she refused to do
01:20

Asaad Kelada

View Interview
Asaad Kelada on working with the cast of The Facts of Life
03:11
Asaad Kelada on directing The Facts of Life
28:58
Asaad Kelada on his favorite episode of The Facts of Life
02:06

Charlotte Rae

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Charlotte Rae on her transition from Diff'rent Strokes to the spin-off, The Facts of Life
05:17
Charlotte Rae on the premise of The Facts of Life, and on how the character of "Edna Garrett" changed from Diff'rent Strokes to The Facts of Life
02:39
Charlotte Rae on the original cast of girls on The Facts of Life, and on recommending the producers cast Mindy Cohn as "Natalie Green"
01:54
Charlotte Rae on Geri Jewell as "Cousin Geri" on The Facts of Life
01:14
Charlotte Rae on developing the role of "Edna Garrett" on The Facts of Life over the years
02:15
Charlotte Rae on her personal relationship with the actresses who played the girls on The Facts of Life, and on being recognized from the show
04:35
Charlotte Rae on the weight issues of the girls on The Facts of Life, how she felt about the development of her character on the show, and her decision to leave
05:14
Charlotte Rae on working with director John Bowab on The Facts of Life
01:29
Charlotte Rae on the shooting schedule of The Facts of Life, and on being recognized from the show
03:06
Charlotte Rae on being nominated for an Emmy for The Facts of Life, and on leaving the show
02:14
Charlotte Rae on the legacy of The Facts of Life, and on her post-Facts of Life roles
03:19

Fred Silverman

View Interview
Fred Silverman on The Facts of Life
00:36

Ben Starr

View Interview
Ben Starr on spinning off The Facts of Life from Diff'rent Strokes
02:33

Larry Wilmore

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Larry Wilmore on his first television appearance, on The Facts of Life
01:14
Larry Wilmore on changing the lines on The Facts of Life to make them funnier, which led to him doing stand-up full time
04:37

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