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Actress Lisa Whelchel co-starred in the popular 1980s sitcom The Facts of Life.
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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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Born in Texas in 1963, actress Lisa Whelchel started out on television in The New Mickey Mouse Club in 1977. Two years later, she began her run as the rich, snobby Blair Warner on the hit sitcom The Facts of Life. After the show ended in 1988, Whelchel wrote several books on parenting and religion. She returned to TV in 2012, as a competitor on Survivor.
"I understood that the young girls watching [The Facts of Life] often take a lot of their cues and messages from television. I didn't feel like I could be a part of that."
"I'm outdoorsy. I love to exercise and be outside. I don't care what I'm wearing, and I don't care if I'm uncomfortable. I am nothing like Blair."
"I still believe in marriage. I never thought divorce would happen to me. But Steve [Cauble] is still my best friend. We just couldn't be married ... We still see each other every day; we go out to dinner and movies."
Lisa Whelchel was born on May 29, 1963, in Littlefield, Texas, and grew up in Fort Worth. She became interested in performing around the age of 8, and soon began appearing in local musical productions. Outside of her interest in acting, Whelchel developed an interest in religion; she had a religious awakening of sorts at the age of 10, after visiting a local church. Since that time, she has remained deeply committed to her Christian faith.
Whelchel won a coveted spot on the children's television show The New Mickey Mouse Club when she was 12. For this syndicated revival of a popular TV show, she moved to California. The series debuted in 1977, but it didn't last long. Whelchel soon moved on to the role that would make her famous.
In 1979, TV audiences got their first glimpse of Whelchel as Blair Warner, the beautiful, spoiled rich girl, on The Facts of Life. The sitcom, set in a girls' boarding school, followed the lives of several young students. In addition to Blair, there was the roller-skating social butterfly named Tootie (Kim Fields), and the witty, aspiring writer Natalie (Mindy Cohn). The streetwise Jo (Nancy McKeon) joined the cast in the show's second season. All four girls had a special bond with Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae), who served as their maternal mentor.
The Facts of Life dealt with many teen issues in its episodes, but Whelchel wanted no part of one particular storyline. The producers wanted her character to lose her virginity, but Whelchel told the show's producers that "sex was intended for marriage," she later explained to WomenToday.org. "I understood that the young girls watching our show often take a lot of their cues and messages from television. I didn't feel like I could be a part of that."
Whelchel, however, did not object to the opportunity to work with future film star George Clooney. He appeared on the series during the mid-1980s. As she wrote on her website, Clooney "was like a big brother to all of us, and it was nice to have a guy around for a change. Between you and me, if I had known that he was going to turn out so well, I might have worn makeup more often to rehearsals."
During the run of the show, Whelchel found time for other creative pursuits. She released All Because of You, an album of Christian music, in 1984, which received a Grammy Award nomination. She also made guest appearances on other TV shows, including Diff'rent Strokes and The Love Boat.
The Facts of Life ended in 1988. That same year, Whelchel married minister Steve Cauble. The couple soon had three children together, launching a new phase of Whelchel's life and career.
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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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