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As a child star, actress Kim Fields played Tootie Ramsey on the popular sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. She reprised the role for the series' spin-off, The Facts of Life.
Kim Fields - Full Biography (42:23)
Nancy McKeon - Full Biography (45:14)
Kim Fields was only 10 years old when she got a taste of stardom on TV's "The Facts of Life" as "Tootie."
She became a star when she was just 14 on The Facts of Life, but she quickly learned that life can be tough. This profile of Nancy McKeon follows the popular performer's career through all its triumphs and disappointments.
Actress Lisa Whelchel, best known for playing the role of Blair Warner, describes a storyline that was rejected on "The Facts of Life."
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Kim Fields was born on May 12, 1969, in Harlem, New York. She landed her first acting role at the age of 5, appearing on Sesame Street. Her big break came in 1978, when, at age 9, she scored the role of Tootie Ramsey on the popular sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. She reprised the role for the series' spin-off, The Facts of Life. As an adult, Fields earned a role on the sitcom Living Single, and later performed rap music and R&B.
Kim Victoria Fields was born on May 12, 1969, in Harlem, New York, the elder of two siblings. Fields, whose mother was actress Laverne "Chip" Fields, grew up in an environment that heavily encouraged acting and performing. Kim landed her first acting role at the age of 5, appearing in a short clip on the children's television show Sesame Street. She also landed a commercial for Mrs. Butterworth's syrup around this same time, beating out rival actress Janet Jackson for the coveted gig.
Her parents divorced when she was very young, and when Fields turned 7, she and her mother headed to Los Angeles, California, in search of acting work. Her father followed shortly thereafter. Both Kim and Chip landed regular work upon their arrival in L.A. But Kim's big break came in 1978, at the age of 9, when she scored a role as boarding school student Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey on the popular sitcom Diff'rent Strokes. She later reprised the role for the series' spin-off, The Facts of Life.
The Facts of Life follows the trials and tribulations of housemother Edna Garrett, who cares for seven girls at an all-girls boarding school. The casting director, who was originally looking for an older, caucasian girl to fill the role, was immediately charmed by Fields. He re-wrote the role of Tootie Ramsey to fit Fields's description, and she instantly became a popular character on the show. The Facts of Life was also a runaway hit, continuing for nine straight seasons.
Fields continued to live a normal life off-screen, however, attending Burbank High School. Academically talented, Fields spent her time off the set studying. She also had time to engage in extra-curricular activities, including managing the school's baseball team and acting in high school theatre productions.
By the time The Facts of Life ended in 1988, Fields had become saddled with the persona of Tootie, the young girl who sported braces and roller skates. Instead of attempting to break away from the role, however, the actress took time off to attend college at Pepperdine University. While at Pepperdine, Fields started her own production company, Victory Entertainment, Inc., which specialized in TV, film and theater.
After earning her bachelor's in communications and film in 1990, Fields returned to television. Now a mature woman, Fields landed a role on the sitcom Living Single, across from rap star Queen Latifah. The show continued for five years before its cancellation in 1998.
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Join Biography.com in a nostalgic look back at the popular 1980s sitcom set in an all-girls boarding school, The Facts of Life. Learn more about the cast of the series, including Lisa Whelchel, the face of Blair Warner; Kim Fields, who played Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey; Mindy Cohn (Natalie Green); Charlotte Rae (Edna Garrett); Nancy McKeon (Jo Polniaczek); and George Clooney (George Burnett). Explore this collection for full biographies, photos, videos and more.
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