Former Facts of Life
star Lisa Whelchel
is happy to report that her role as snobby Blair Warner won't change much in an upcoming TV reunion movie based on the popular '80s sitcom. "I met with the writer and she wanted Blair to have grown up and matured and to have found herself and discovered all kinds of things," she tells TV Guide Online. "I said, 'Oh no, please don't make me do that. Let her be as lame and shallow as she ever was. It's a lot more fun.' So Blair will be back as we all knew her."
Whelchel reports that not everyone is on board for the nostalgia trip. Nancy McKeon's tough girl character, Jo Polniaczek, one of Blair's classmates at the prestigious Eastland Academy, most likely won't be dropping in. "Nancy has a new series [City Lights] on Lifetime playing a female cop and I think she's trying to kind of distance herself from the Jo character just so people can see her in a new role," explains Whelchel. "There was a rumor that Nancy would be killed off if she didn't agree to do the show, but we're still keeping our fingers crossed that she'll make a quick cameo."
Whelchel also confides that classmate Kim Fields (Tootie) may skip out on the reunion, hoping to break free from her cutesy image. But she says Facts fanatics can count on former class clown Natalie (Mindy Cohn) and headmistress Mrs. Garrett (Charlotte Rae) to join in on the fun.
Whelchel, a staunch Christian who today spends much of her time home-schooling her three children, admits in real-life she's drastically different from the character that made her famous. "People are expecting Blair before they meet me," she says. "But as soon as they meet me, I think they understand pretty quickly that I'm a different person. My kids, on the other hand, think it's really weird. They always say, 'Mom, how can you do that? How can you say that?' I know they understand the concept of me acting, but they hate it when I am mean to somebody on TV."
Even Whelchel admits that she cringes every time she catches a Facts of Life rerun on Nick at Nite but for a completely different reason. "There were quite a few different hair colors I had while playing Blair. And there were some of them that I just think, 'What? Did I not have a mirror around?'" she laughs. "And, some of my fluffier hair days, I would really like to get rid of. Unfortunately unlike your high school yearbook, you can't just cut out those bad hair moments."