Mrs. Edna Garrett, the Drummonds' former housekeeper, teaches a group of girls at a boarding school how to tackle issues throughout teenage life and later adulthood.
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1988   1987   1986   1985   1984   1983   … See all »
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Complete series cast summary:
Lisa Whelchel ...  Blair Warner / ... 201 episodes, 1979-1988
Kim Fields ...  Dorothy 'Tootie' Ramsey / ... 201 episodes, 1979-1988
Mindy Cohn ...  Natalie Green / ... 201 episodes, 1979-1988
Nancy McKeon ...  Jo Polniaczek / ... 188 episodes, 1980-1988
Charlotte Rae ...  Edna Garrett 155 episodes, 1979-1986


A group of girls attending a boarding school experience the joys and the trials of adolescence under the guiding hand of housemother Edna Garrett, the Drummonds' maid on Diff'rent Strokes. Later in the series, she is promoted to school dietitian, and four of the girls move into new quarters above the cafeteria. She eventually leaves the school and opens her own business, with help from the girls. Written by Kevin Ackley <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life...


Comedy | Family


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Did You Know?


The season five episode "All By Herself," which aired in March of 1984, marks the final appearance of Geri Jewell as Geri Tyler. Jewell has said in interviews that she believes that there were two reasons why her character's role was reduced and then eliminated. Producer Al Burton had originally been her champion when she started on the series. But by season five Burton had left the series and new producers wanted to retire the character. Looking to move the show away from being issued driven to more comedic, they felt that with Jewell's character they could only do the former type of shows and not the latter. Jewell was offered an opportunity to return for season six but only for one episode. Insulted by the offer Jewell's agent told her to turn down the offer figuring they would counter with a deal to do more episodes. Jewell turned it down and producers used that as the way to get rid of the character claiming that it was Jewell who turned their offer. Jewell regretted that decision as by doing that one show would of at least kept her character going. Secondly, Jewell also believed that the gradual reduction of her character might of had something to do with Charlotte Rae. Jewell claimed that one of Rae's son's was handicapped as that Rae, while always gracious to her, was also somewhat uncomfortable as Jewell's presence was a reminder of that fact. Jewell credits Lisa Whelchel, who she had became (and remains) good friends with, for trying to get producers to bring the character back. Whelchel would constantly bring Jewell to the set during the years to keep her in the minds of the producers, however, to no avail. See more »


The color of Charlotte Rae's hair fluctuates throughout the series. Sometimes it's orange, sometimes it's almost maroon. See more »


Jo Polniaczek: There are people who in this world get shoved around and there are people who do the shoving!
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Alternate Versions

Reruns of the series in the US are cut by two minutes. See more »


Referenced in RiffTrax: High School Musical (2010) See more »


The Facts of Life
(title theme)
Written by Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton
Performed by Gloria Loring
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User Reviews

The Best Spinoff Show Ever And My 2nd Favorite Sitcom Of All Time
23 September 2000 | by luke-31See all my reviews

"The Facts Of Life" is the best spinoff show ever,taking the wonderful Mrs. Garret,and bringing her into a girl's boarding school for this touching and wonderful show,that brims with the innocence and pain of the teenage years.It managed to be often hilariously funny,while being realistic,and helpful to kids who may have been in similar situations to the girls on the show."The Facts Of Life" has been given the unfair label of a "girl's show",but it is the kind of show that all kids of the girl's age groups can relate to.

Each and every charachter on this show was richly drawn,from Mrs. Garret,to Blair,to Jo,to Natalie,and to Tootie.Over the years,the girls and Mrs. Garret became a family,a group who supported each other through the hard times,and celebrated the joys in each other's lives.This was the definitive friendship show,one of people,who despite thier diffrences,cared for one another, and grew closer through the years.It was also a wonderful social commentary too,exploring social issues through comedy,and bringing thought provoking thoughts to the surface in the process.This skill is especially evident in one of my favorite episodes,in which Tootie is confronted by teen prostitution.

However,some episodes are played simply for light-hearted laughs,such as another one of my favorites, in which Mrs. Garret's ex-husband,Robert, visits and teaches the girls to play poker.Even these lighthearted episodes were better than most other telivision sitcoms,and that is one of the most important things to know about "The Facts Of Life":It is a cut above other sitcoms.It is definitly my 2nd favorite sitcom of all time.(2nd only to "The Brady Bunch".)

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Release Date:

24 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Garrett's Girls See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(209 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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