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You Take the Young, You Take the Old: The Facts of Life Cast, Then and Now


Happy birthday, Kim Fields!

The actress celebrated the big 4-5 on Monday, but we’ll always know her as little Tootie, the pigtailed, roller-skating youngest member of the Facts of Life crew.

Nearly 35 years after The Facts of Life premiered in 1979, PEOPLE presents the Eastland ladies posing with their younger selves. As one of TV’s most memorable theme songs goes, there’s a time you got to go and show you’re growin’.

All illustrations by Linzi Silverman and Tiffany Hagler-Geard for

Kim Fields

Kim Fields in 1979 and 2012
Fields is now a grown mom of two, but as a mischievous preteen, Tootie Ramsey often uttered the catchphrase “We’re in trou-ble.”

Lisa Whelchel

Lisa Whelchel in 2012 and 1982
Like Blair Warner, the Survivor contestant is still full of “brilliant ideas.”

Nancy McKeon

Nancy McKeon in 2011 and 1981
McKeon played Jo Polniaczek, prissy Blair’s tomboyish nemesis, but the pair remain pals in real life. “She’ll be a lifelong friend,” Whelchel told PEOPLE of McKeon in 2012.

Mindy Cohn

Mindy Cohn in 1979 and 2014
Levelheaded aspiring writer Natalie Green would likely approve of adult Cohn, who admitted to being “freakishly well-adjusted” in a recent Huffington Post blog.

Charlotte Rae

Charlotte Rae in 2014 and 1981
Rae, who played Eastland’s beloved den mother Edna Garrett, recently celebrated her 88th birthday.

George Clooney

George Clooney in 2013 and 1986
Clooney’s stint as handyman George Burnett lasted only a couple seasons, but fortunately things turned out OK for the A-list actor.

Cloris Leachman

Cloris Leachman in 1986 and 2014
Leachman, who replaced Rae as the series’ maternal figure in its last two seasons, has remained in the spotlight, competing on Dancing with the Stars at the age of 82 in 2008.

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