Lisa Whelchel stunned fans when she appeared on the ABC special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes” Tuesday night.
Whelchel, 58, played Blair on the original “The Facts of Life” sitcom from 1979 to 1988. Viewers were blown away by her appearance 30 years later, complimenting how ageless she looked.
During the special, she sang the show’s theme song and even donned an Eastland School uniform.
“Had to pause for a bit….I thought I was watching a flashback of the #factsoflife, but then I realized @LisaWhelchel has not aged at all!!!” one fan wrote.
“Lisa Whelchel looks exactly the same! Holy moly! Tell us your secret girl!” said another.
“Umm @LisaWhelchel looks AMAZING. #factsoflife.”
“Lisa Whelchel looks like she’s been using shea butter, drinking water and minding her business since #factsoflife went off the air,” joked someone else.
Fellow original cast members Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields also stopped by the live special and were played by Jennifer Aniston (Blair), Allison Tolman (Natalie), and Gabrielle Union (Tootie). The new cast acted out an episode from Season 3 titled “Kids Can Be Cruel.”
Lisa Whelchel singing on the ABC special “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.” (ABC/Christopher Willard)
Back in 2020, Whelchel revealed on the TODAY show her favorite “Facts of Life” episode is “where Jo handcuffs herself to Blair in protest until Blair agrees to read an editorial about the homeless situation in town in a college cable news station.
“Blair just thinks that is so not newsworthy, because she has an opportunity to interview the head cheerleader. So she refuses. And so Blair does the newscast with Jo handcuffed to her underneath the desk. It’s very slapstick Ethel-and-Lucy kind of broad humor. And it was just one episode that encapsulated so much of the fun that I had on the show,” she explained.
Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner for Season 1 of “The Facts of Life.” (NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
The actress/singer said she believes the show, created by Dick Clair and Jenna McMahon, is “timeless.”
“It’s relationships; it’s friendships; it’s things that girls go through as they’re growing up,” she said. “And no matter what generation you’re in, you’re going to be going through the same things. And you’re going to want that same kind of relationships.”
And keeping with that theme, Whelchel said she keeps in touch “regularly” with Fields, Cohn, and Nancy McKeon.
“We have a group text that we’re on,” she said. “And anytime there’s a birthday, or a death, or somebody does a show, we’re all very supportive.”