In 2001, after the big reunion, Rae shed light on some of the realities of working in the television industry. She revealed on Entertainment Tonight that the producers kept a scale off the stage to weigh the girls and threaten them to lose weight. “It’s not the way you handle adolescence. You don’t do that.”
In 2015, Rae made one of her final appearances on the screen, in film Ricki and the Flash. She will be remembered for her character which broke down social barriers, as well as for her personal presence within the industry.
Charlotte Rae – Then
Known for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in both Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, Charlotte Rae essentially mothered the girls at Eastland prep school, taking on the roles of housekeeper and caretaker. If not for Charlotte, The Facts of Life wouldn’t have even been made into a show!
The Facts of Life gave Rae her best-known role, as it became increasingly more popular and won the ratings, and hearts of America.
Lisa Whelchel – Then
Playing the gorgeous, snobby and rebellious Blair Warner, at just 14, Welchel had the looks and the dollars! Seen smoking cigarettes, drinking underage and being chased by boys, she was the stereotypical ‘bad girl’.
After the first season, Blair’s character was tweaked depicted her as a spoiled “Daddy’s Girl. We bet it would’ve been a difficult time in her life, what with growing up right before the eyes of the nation!
Lisa Whelchel – Now
Known for her great faith, it’s no surprise that Lisa Whelchel forged a career that was closely affiliated with her Christian beliefs. Producing a Christian music album in 1984 (which, by the way, was nominated for a Grammy Award!), she enjoyed some success as a musician.
Whelchel has since found strengths giving inspirational talks at churches and conferences. In2004, she founded Momtime Ministries which was designed to help mothers after having children and raising them.
Kim Fields – Then
Born in Harlem, New York, Kim Fields landed her first acting gig at the age of 5, on Sesame Street! It wasn’t until 1978 however that she really gained some recognition, after scoring the role of Tootie Ramsey on Diff’rent Strokes.
Her character gave a very real insight into how kids dealt with real-life issues such as racism and inappropriate behavior towards children.