07:54 PM EDT 10/16/2013


The Facts of Life

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See Lisa Whelchel Mud Wrestling on Survivor – And with Vintage George Clooney


Lisa Whelchel Competes in the Mud on Survivor

Originally posted 10/24/2012 03:50PM

Blair would not approve.

On Wednesday night's episode of Survivor: Philippines, Lisa Whelchel – who played the prim and proper Blair Warner on The Facts of Life – gets down and dirty in a mud-based challenge.

During a reward challenge, the newly single actress, 49, (who's become a surprisingly resilient competitor) ends up wrestling with sex therapist Denise Stapley, who is arguably the strongest woman in the entire competition.

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Facts of Life Star Lisa Whelchel Is Divorced

Lisa Whelchel Is Divorced

Originally posted 09/20/2012 01:30PM

As she left her Texas home to compete on Survivor: Philippines, Lisa Whelchel was hiding a secret that only her close friends knew: Her 24-year marriage to Steve Cauble was ending.

"The divorce was final on March 1, and [I] went out to be on Survivor on March 10," Whelchel tells PEOPLE exclusively. "Going out to Survivor was helpful for me, to divert my attention and not just dwell on the loss."

"I just never thought it would happen to me," says Whelchel, who has worked in Christian ministry with Cauble since The Facts of Life ended in 1988. "It was painful to realize that it wasn't going to work out."

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Will Survivor's Celebs Be Too Worried About Public Image to Win?


Stephen Fishbach Blogs: My Take on Survivor's Celebs and Returning Contestants

Originally posted 09/19/2012 02:15PM

Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE.com since 2009.

"I played every minute to win this game, and to have my body fail me is utterly demoralizing." – Russell Swan, Survivor: Samoa

Survivor's back, and the big news this season is that three previously medevacced contestants are returning to the game for another shot at the million bucks. Mike Skupin from Australia, Russell Swan from Samoa, and Jonathan Penner from Cook Islands and Micronesia are back as team captains for three separate tribes. These guys couldn't even take care of themselves – now they're supposed to provide for five other people?

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Credit: Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty; Monty Brinton/CBS
Facts of Life Star Will Compete on Survivor: Philippines


Lisa Whelchel to Compete on Survivor: Philippines

Originally posted 08/20/2012 01:25PM

Remember Blair Warner, the spoiled rich girl on the 80s sitcom The Facts of Life?

Prepare to see her in a whole new light.

Lisa Whelchel, the former teen actress who played Blair for nine seasons – from 1979 to 1988 – will compete against 17 other contestants on Survivor: Philippines. Now 49, Whelchel is a prominentChristian author and mother of three, not to mention a longtime fan of the reality competition.

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Facts of Life Actress Reveals Struggles with Her Sexuality

Facts of Life Actress Reveals Struggles with Her Sexuality

Originally posted 01/28/2011 05:30PM

She was the endearing and plucky cousin Geri on the 1980s coming-of-age sitcom The Facts of Life, showing people with disabilities in an empowering light.

But actress and comedian Geri Jewell, who has cerebral palsy, reveals in a new memoir how much she struggled growing up with a disability and how she wrestled with her sexuality, and reveals she is a lesbian.

In I'm Walking As Straight As I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond, Jewell writes about the winding path she took from her birth in Buffalo, N.Y., to her career as a stand-up comic to her role as the first person with a disability to have a recurring role on TV.

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