Though she’s still sometimes called Tootie by people on the street, actress Kim Fields doesn’t regret her time on NBC’s The Facts of Life. The actress recently spoke with Parade and she reflected on her time on the TV show.
Being a part of “The Facts of Life,” the pop-culture phenomenon
“It still, to this day, blows my mind. When you’re in it, you don’t think about that at all. I mean, my goodness, we were almost canceled once, and the critics and the media never regarded ‘The Facts of Life’ as any sort of great critical success or an acclaimed show. And we were too big to be a cult-followed show. We still had nine years. Nine years of your life from age 9 to 18; you can’t fathom a more-crucial piece of your own time.”
More to Kim than just the “Facts”
“‘Facts of Life’ was and continues to be a milestone on my journey. But when people act like the journey ended when ‘Facts of Life’ ended, that’s annoying. I could never and would never want to divorce myself from it because it was such a great experience from so many different facets. I got a tremendous education — my literal education from schooling but also the education from the on-the-job training. The fantastic group of people that I’ve worked with as cast members and crewmembers — we continue to be good friends. I love showing up to a set, and there’s a camera guy I worked with as a child, and now we’re equals. It’s just fantastic to me.”
Understanding that the public grew up with her
“I recognize the unknowing, involuntary effect that ‘Facts of Life’ had and continues to have on several generations of people. When I walk into a store and the cashier can’t focus at all because she says, quite frankly, ‘Can I have a hug?’ Sure. I mean, there’s a part of me that wants to say, ‘You know I’m a stranger, right? If you ask the next person that they’ll report you.’ So there are certain elements of not just ‘Facts of Life’ but my own career that I realize audiences have taken ownership of. And it can be a glorious blessing and sometimes a little odd all these years later. But I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Having (almost) no misgivings about her “Facts” days
“People say, ‘If you had to do it again, would you stay nine years?’ Sure. ‘If you had to do it again, would you change the character name?’ Well, maybe. No one wants to walk around in their 40s and still be called ‘Tootie.'”
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What do you think? What are some of your favorite memories watching the show? Did you watch The Facts of Life when it first aired?