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'Facts of Life' star Lisa Whelchel joins 'Survivor' cast

August 21, 2012|By Meredith Blake
  • Lisa Whelchel with her "Facts of Life" costars Kim Fields, Charlotte Rae and Mindy Cohn.
Lisa Whelchel with her "Facts of Life" costars Kim Fields, Charlotte… (AP Photo / Copyright 2001…)

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have... a"Survivor"contestant?

Children of the ‘80s will remember Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner, the spoiled blond who drove her roommates crazy for nine seasons on “Facts of Life.” In recent  years, the former sitcom star has garnered headlines as the result of her, shall we say, creative approach to child discipline, but now Whelchel’s back in the news for a surprising reason: CBS announced Monday that she’d be among the 18 castaways vying for a million-dollar prize on the upcoming season of “Survivor: Philippines."

Known for her perfectly coiffed hair and frequent clashes with tough girl Jo Polniaczek, Blair was hardly the type to rough it – which makes Whelchel’s upcoming stint as a castaway all the more intriguing. Will Blair Warner eat rats? Now that would be something.

Whelchel, an avid “Survivor” fan, describes being cast on the show as the fulfillment of a “longtime desire,” but that doesn’t mean it was much fun. On her website, she describes her days on the island as “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life” and compared them to childbirth. “I may need to put a few years behind me and some perspective in front of me before I would ever consider doing it again,” Whelchel wrote.

She’ll be joined on the island by several other famous-ish faces, including former professional baseball MPV Jeff Kent and two beauty pageant winners, though, sadly, none of her “Facts of Life” cast mates.

Whelchel can now add “reality star” to a long and rather eclectic resume. While “The Facts of Life” was still on the air, the actress recorded a Christian pop album, “All Because of You.” Since the show went off the air in 1988, she’s made a name for herself as a speaker and author of 10 books about religion and child-rearing – including one called “Creative Correction: Extraordinary Ideas for Everyday Discipline,” in which she advocates “hot saucing” as a way of punishing disobedient kids.

 To find out whether Whelchel has really learned the facts of life – rimshot! – tune in to “Survivor: Philippines” when it premieres Sept. 19. And for a look at how her sitcom alter ego Blair dealt with personal challenges (hint: not well), check out the clip below.

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Follow Meredith Blake on Twitter @MeredithBlake

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