Eighties sitcom The Facts of Life followed a group of pupils at an all-girls boarding school who were making that tricky transition to womanhood. Sadly, its leading cast member was forced to face the prospect of a more drastic transition when she received a devastating diagnosis. Here’s a look at the heartwarming manner in which she dealt with the news.
Having already played housekeeper Edna Garrett in NBC sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, Charlotte Rae then reprised the role for its spin-off The Facts of Life. This time around, Garrett was a housemother to a group of pupils at a girls-only New York boarding school. The show debuted in 1979 and stayed on the air for nine years.
Other main cast members included Kim Fields as gossipmonger Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey, Lisa Whelchel playing pampered brat Blair Warner and Mindy Cohn as naive Natalie Green. Following a second-season retool, The Facts of Life became the highest-watched comedy on the NBC network, surpassing even the show that it was derived from. And in 1985 the cast was joined by a young – and then unknown – George Clooney.