‘The Facts of Life’: George Clooney Wasn’t the Only Guest Star to Make It Big

The Facts of Life was a TV show from an earlier era of sitcoms. Now, it’s seen as a solid comedy that provides great memories for those who grew up in that era watching the show.

But plenty of great actors appeared on the show before they made it big. For example, George Clooney once made a guest appearance on the show before going on to superstardom. But did you know he wasn’t the only big star to appear on The Facts of Life

What was the premise of ‘The Facts of Life?’ 

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According to IMDB, The Facts of Life ran from 1979-1988. It was a spinoff of another sitcom that became popular during that same time frame: Diff’rent Strokes. Ms. Edna Garrett, one of the main characters on The Facts of Life, was the Drummonds’ maid on Diff’rent Strokes. She served as the housemother at a boarding school where she oversaw a number of adolescent girls growing into adults. 

The show followed the adventures of the girls’ closest to Ms. Garrett, even as she changed jobs. For example, at one point she becomes the school dietitian, which sees the girls moving to a new living space above the school cafeteria. Later, Ms. Garrett opens a business and enlists the girls to help her out. 

The cast featured several talented performers, including Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields along with Charlotte Rae as Ms. Garrett. Of course, the main cast members weren’t the only performers to appear. The show had plenty of guest stars, one of whom got very famous later on in his career. 

The time George Clooney guest-starred on ‘The Facts of Life’

George Clooney
George Clooney | Franco Origlia/Getty Images

According to History.com, Clooney appeared on the show on September 21, 1985 for the first time. Clooney’s appearance wasn’t a one-time event. This was only his first episode. He’d subsequently appear in 17 episodes. He played a handyman character who helped fix things around the boarding school. Clooney’s career took off well after he appeared on the show. He first became a star on TV as one of the main breakout cast members on the NBC medical drama ER. From there, Clooney left to make movies. He’d be a huge hit with audiences in films such as The Perfect Storm, Ocean’s 11 and its sequels, Gravity, Three Kings, Michael Clayton, and Up in the Air. 

The Facts of Life may have not been the big break that catapulted Clooney to instant success, but it helped him establish a solid resume in Hollywood that later enabled him to get even more high-profile work. No one can deny he’s a major star now. But it’s safe to say he wasn’t the only future star to first appear on The Facts of Life.

What other ‘The Facts of Life’ guest stars made it big? 

It’s not uncommon for future stars to appear in bit parts in a sitcom. When younger actors are trying to make a name for themselves, they’ll appear in TV shows as a way to parlay it into other bigger movie or TV roles going forward. Clooney is just one example of someone who started out low-profile and eventually became a much greater success story after appearing on The Facts of Life. 

According to Mental Floss, he wasn’t the only one. Some other big names who’d appear on the show before they were famous included: 

  • Dennis Haysbert
  • David Spade
  • Juliette Lewis
  • Seth Green
  • Crispin Glover
  • Helen Hunt
  • Paul Feig 

Clooney may have been the biggest star to emerge from this show, but it served as a launchpad for multiple other great acting careers as well.