Who is Lisa Diane Whelchel? The entertainment and acting world knows Lisa Whelchel as an American actress, singer, and writer best known for her role in the television series The Facts of Life as the preppy and wealthy Blair Warner.
Life and careerWhelchel was born May 29, 1963 in Littlefield, Texas, the daughter of Jenny (née French), a real estate agent, and Jimmy Whelchel, an electrician. Lisa is the older sister of Cody Whelchel and Casey. She was raised for most of her childhood in Fort Worth, Texas and got her start as a Mouseketeer on The New Mickey Mouse Club, which aired in syndication from 1977-1978.
An original cast member of The Facts of Life, Whelchel once refused a storyline that would have made her character the first among the four young women in the show to lose her virginity in that episode. Having become a Christian when she was 10, Whelchel refused because of her Christian convictions, and the storyline was rewritten for the character of "Natalie." Whelchel appeared in every episode except that one.
Although she has had other roles, her acting career effectively ended after The Facts of Life went off the air in 1988. During her role on The Facts of Life, she was offered a role in the music video for the Christian singer/songwriter Steve Taylor's "Meltdown (at Madame Tussaud's)". She also appeared in an episode of ABC's "The Love Boat" in 1983.
In 1984, Whelchel released a Christian pop album entitled All Because of You. While the album was a modest success (#17 on the Billboard Contemporary Christian charts) and received a Grammy nomination for Best Inspirational Album, Whelchel did not record a follow-up. Among the songs featured on the album were "Just Obey," "Cover Me Lord," and "Good Girl" ("Why be a good girl? Be a good girl!")
She returned to acting for the 2001 made-for-TV movie, The Facts of Life Reunion, and appeared with two of her Facts of Life co-stars (excluding Nancy McKeon, who was unable to participate in the movie) on The Today Show in the spring of 2006, admitting to being "bummed out" that Kim Fields was unable to attend.
On February 1, 2007, Whelchel was reunited with Kim Fields on WFAA-TV's "Good Morning Texas." Fields was in Dallas to promote her appearance in the production, "Issues: We've All Got 'Em,'" when Whelchel was introduced as a surprise guest. It marked the first time in six years (since the reunion movie) that Fields and Whelchel even had contact. The video of the reunion is posted on YouTube.
Christian ministryWhelchel, who became a born-again Christian at age ten, has devoted her life to her Christian faith. She has written books of anecdotes and advice that provide guidance on various topics which she believes should be handled in a manner appropriate to the Holy Bible. These include topics such as raising children and motherhood. Lisa has spoken about her child rearing books and methods of discipline in her 2005 interview with talk show host Drew Marshall. Whelchel is also a staunch advocate of homeschooling and hotsaucing.
Whelchel has been criticized by numerous parenting groups, both Christian and non-Christian, for her views. In 2007, Mary-Alice Cross, president of the Christian Parenting Association of America (CPAA), urged parents not to buy Whelchel's books or practice any of her methods on the grounds that they are physically and emotionally abusive.
She is seldom seen in acting roles today, as she is busy raising and homeschooling her children. Whelchel "feels her current role, as a wife and mother, is her greatest, and most challenging, role yet." In 2000, she founded Momtime Ministries, a religious network of mothers' groups who meet weekly to "equip and refresh and encourage" each other.
She is currently on tour with the Women of Faith group.
- Creative Correction
- The Facts of Life and Other Lessons My Father Taught Me
- So You're Thinking About Homeschooling
- How to Start Your Own Mom Time
Speaking Mom-ese: Moments of Peace & Inspiration in the Mother Tongue from One Mom's Heart to Yours
|1979||The Double McGuffin||Jody|
|The Magician of Lublin||Halina|
|1992||Where the Red Fern Grows: Part 2||Sara Coleman||Direct-to-video release|
|1977||The New Mickey Mouse Club||Herself|
|The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World||Herself||Television special|
|1978||Family||Cathy Connelly||Episode: All for Love|
|1979||Disney's Wonderful World||Robin Lapp||Episode: Shadow of Fear (1) |
Episode: Shadow of Fear (2)
|1979, 1981||Diff'rent Strokes||Blair Warner||Episode: The Girls School |
Episode: The Older Man
|1979–1988||The Facts of Life||Blair Warner||200 episodes|
|1980||Skyward||Lisa Ward||NBC Television movie/Television pilot|
|1981||Twirl||Jill Moore||NBC Television movie|
|1982||The Facts of Life Goes to Paris||Blair Warner||NBC Television movie|
|The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch||Amy Cole||ABC Television movie|
|1983, 1985||The Love Boat||Caroline |
|Episode: Captain and the Kid...(1) |
Episode: Captain and the Kid (2)
Episode: German Cruise - The Villa... (1)
Episode: German Cruise - The Villa... (2)
|1987||The Facts of Life Down Under||Blair Warner||NBC Television movie|
|2001||The Facts of Life Reunion||Blair Warner||ABC Television movie|
Awards and nominationsYoung Artist Awards
- 1982: Nominated, "Best Young Comedienne in a Motion Picture or Television" - The Facts of Life
- 1982: Nominated, "Best Young Actress in a Television Special" - Twirl
- 1983: Nominated, "Best Young Actress in a Comedy Series" - The Facts of Life
- 1984: Nominated, "Best Young Actress in a Comedy Series" - The Facts of Life