Most people remember Hollywood actor Lisa Whelchel best as the perky and preppy ‘Blair Warner’ on the TV sitcom ‘The Facts of Life.’ The popular show aired from 1979 to 1988 and made Lisa a star. Her wealthy character Blair prided herself on always having ‘another brilliant idea.’ But it is the actress who truly had the ultimate knowledge of her worth in Jesus Christ! She shared her faith with other actors, which even led one famous star to become a Christian. And when Facts of Life writers wrote a storyline for Blair that didn’t represent Lisa’s Christian morals, the young actress stood up for her beliefs and confronted the situation head-on.
Actor Lisa Whelchel Confronts Facts of Life Writers Over Controversial Storyline
The actress shared that writers had written a storyline where Blair lost her virginity. Because of her Christian morals, Lisa didn’t feel comfortable with the direction her character was taking, and she spoke up, sharing her beliefs and concerns with the show’s writers.
“So, when I heard that was going to be one of the storylines for that year, I did come to the producers and say, ‘I don’t think I can be a part of that.’ Because for one thing, I really felt a big responsibility of knowing that there were young girls watching this show and that you can’t deal with that topic in 20 minutes with a couple of commercials.” Lisa explained.
And even though another actress in the series stepped up to take the storyline, Lisa was still concerned about being associated with the controversial topic. So she asked the writers if they would please write her out of that episode completely–a decision that would cost her more than $50,000!
While many Christians in Hollywood have shared that their Christian beliefs made them a target for persecution in the industry, that was thankfully not Lisa’s experience. Overall, she felt that her beliefs were respected and that she was supported by the team of writers and executives on The Facts of Life. “I’m sure there were some parts that I wasn’t offered, but that’s OK. I don’t feel like I had any backlash because of it.”
Why Lisa Whelchel Turned Down Role of Rachel on Friends
One very famous role that Lisa turned down was on the popular TV show, Friends.
Lisa reflected on reading the pilot and telling her husband, ‘This is the funniest script I have ever read and this is going to be a huge hit.’
Jennifer Aniston would go on to accept the role as Rachel for the TV show that would earn more than 60 Emmy nominations.
“I don’t regret not taking that opportunity. My kids, on the other hand… I remember my daughter once said, ‘Are you telling me that [Jennifer Aniston’s ex] Brad Pitt could have been my father?”
TV Show Friends Was Almost a Facts of Life Reunion!
The actress who played Joe on The Facts of Life, Nancy McKeon, read for the role of Monica on the hit TV show Friends! Can you imagine how different the show would have been if Monica and Rachel had been played by the actresses who brought Joe and Blair to life?
The Facts of Life ran for 9 seasons, and Friends ran for 10 seasons.
Facts of Life Theme Song
Did you know that Growing Pains star Alan Thicke actually wrote the iconic theme song for Facts of Life? Alan was perhaps best known for his role as the father of ‘Mike Seaver’ played by Kirk Cameron, on ‘Growing Pains.’ However, Alan was also a very successful TV theme show composer. Before his death from a heart attack at age 69, Alan composed more than 10 TV show themes. Some of those shows include Wheel of Fortune, Hello Larry, Diff’rent Strokes, Joker’s Wild, Celebrity Sweepstakes, and of course, The Facts of Life.
Actor Lisa Whelchel Micky Mouse Club
Lisa got her start in Hollywood as one of the Mouseketeers on the Micky Mouse Club! Notable Mouseketeers include: Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Keri Russell, Annette Funicello, and of course, Lisa Whelchel.
Lisa’s Weight – Behind the Scenes of Facts of Life
During a stressful break from filming when her own parents were going through a divorce, Lisa gained about 20 pounds. When she returned to the set, she learned she’d outgrown her school uniform. And show producers feared that meant she may have literally outgrown the role.
While they may have been supportive of her faith, it sounds like the TV executives may have pressured Lisa about her weight. The star shared that they sent her to a weight loss center, ‘three of them,’ she said.
When she didn’t see the results the showrunners would have liked, they let well enough alone. Eventually they let the girls’ embrace the shapes that God gave them.
‘I’m so grateful that it turned out the way it did, I looked like a normal teenage girl. We looked like normal teenage girls. You didn’t have to be a size two.’ the star shared.