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The Facts of Life - The Complete First and Second Seasons

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Old 06-23-2004, 09:04 AM   #1
KarenTj24
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Default "Actors We Love" article on Nancy

Complimentary article on Nancy. Scroll down to near the bottom: http://www.backstage.com/backstage/f..._id=1000542939
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:57 AM   #2
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Karen --

Double-check the link. It's not working.

I'm anxious to read.

Thank you!!
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: "Actors We Love" article on Nancy

Quote:
Originally posted by KarenTj24
Complimentary article on Nancy. Scroll down to near the bottom: http://www.backstage.com/backstage/f..._id=1000542939
ahh...well, that's all true, even to those of us who like Charlotte Rae better.
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:51 PM   #4
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Hmm, Jayman, the link worked for me. Here's the text if you're still having problem bringing it up:

Nancy McKeon: Queen of Tomboys

By Laura Weinert

To have a sitcom such as The Facts of Life available during our formative years as young women was a godsend--not only because it was a tightly scripted, girl-focused show snapping with one-liners but also because we got to know Jo Polniaczek, played by Nancy McKeon. As Jo, McKeon introduced a new kind of tough-girl cool into the sitcom vernacular. Sure we were seduced for a while into envying her fellow coed Blair Warner, with her golden tresses and good breeding, her preppiness, pumps, and pearls. But then there was Jo. What other young female sitcom character knew how to fix a motorcycle? Jo was like a girl Fonzie but with more wit and better lines.

McKeon brought to the show more than just great timing, combined with her defensiveness. A fish-out-of-water, she bristled at the privileged world of Eastland private girls school. In the best episodes, we see that underneath her streetwise Bronx persona, Jo is a woman with a soft heart, as confused as we were at that age. On the rare occasion that tears come from McKeon, she seems so shockingly vulnerable it takes your breath away.

Indeed it was McKeon's presence that may have saved the original show. When the NBC series debuted in 1979, it was without McKeon, and ratings were so-so. After the first season, Molly Ringwald was cut from the cast and McKeon brought onboard when producers saw her in the pilot Dusty. Ratings rose and the series enjoyed a nine-year run.

McKeon had an early start as a performer, modeling for Sears at age 2 and appearing in commercials. Her family came out from New York when her brother Philip was cast as Linda Lavin's son on Alice. Then came the Facts of Life break.

Where has McKeon been since then? Fans were disappointed when she failed to show for the 2001 Facts of Life reunion movie. McKeon claimed, "I'm just not a fan of that kind of thing. I would not watch it, so why would I be in it? It's just never the same." Like other female TV stars--Melissa Gilbert, Valerie Harper--McKeon went on to work in the made-for-TV movie genre, producing movies through her company Forest Hills Entertainment, including Strange Voices and Firefighter (playing L.A.'s first woman firefighter).

While she didn't get cast as Monica on Friends--despite being considered--she has done a number of series, including the short-lived single-woman CBS sitcom Can't Hurry Love and Style & Substance, starring Jean Smart. Eventually, McKeon landed on Lifetime's The Division, playing one of five female San Francisco cops.

Although she still displays the gifts she had as a young actor, women may thank her most for what she achieved as Jo: giving hope and a sense of triumph to all the tomboys of the '80s. At that age, few of us were like her smug counterpart Blair Warner, but we knew people who were, and there was nothing so satisfying as seeing those people get knocked down a peg. When Blair boasts, "A Warner is like a delicate souffle," she gets what's coming to her: "Yeah. Light and empty." Joe got the chance to say all the things we wanted to say, and thanks to McKeon, with the timing and attitude we never had.
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Old 06-23-2004, 04:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for sharing this article with us, Karen. It was a good read. I especially enjoyed the souffle-deal.
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