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Nancy Justine McKeon (born April 4, 1966) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Jo
on the NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life".
She was cast as tomboy Jo
in the fall of 1980 during the show's second season when four of the first season's cast, including Molly Ringwald, left the show. This is her most famous role and she portrayed the character throughout the series until the show was canceled in 1988. McKeon also provided the voice for many "ABC Weekend Special" cartoon characters, including the voice for "Scruffy".
Joanna Marie "Jo"
was played by Nancy McKeon. Jo was first introduced in the second season in 1980, at around 15 years old, arriving at the Eastland Academy on her motorcycle. She almost immediately formed a dislike for Blair Warner; Jo found Blair stuck-up, and Blair found Jo short-tempered, bossy, classless, and manly. In a memorable introduction, Blair introduced herself to Jo, to which Jo replied, "Charmed; I'm Gloria Vanderbilt." Jo was Polish American.
Malis was perhaps best known as the second actress to play Dr. Dorian Lord on the ABC daytime soap opera "One Life to Live" from 1977 to 1979. She appeared in the 1980 television series "From Here to Eternity" as Dr. Anne Brewster. The 13-episode series continued the story of the 1979 miniseries of the same name. Malis went on to guest star on numerous drama and comedy TV series and multiple films. Between 1983 and 1988 Malis portrayed Rose
, mother of series regular Jo, in six episodes of the NBC sitcom "The Facts of Life".
At the series' beginning in 1979, Blair was portrayed as very rich and very rebellious. She was seen smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, and enjoying great popularity with boys; unlike many of her classmates, she was looking to lose her virginity. When the show was retooled in 1980, all instances of her rebellion were either dropped or given to the new character of Jo
, and Blair was rewritten as an unashamedly spoiled "Daddy's Girl", whose business alone could have kept Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus afloat.
He played Charlie
, Jo's father on "The Facts of Life". In 1989, he played Gus Keller in the Corey Feldman and Corey Haim movie "Dream a Little Dream". From 1989–90, Rocco was a regular on the television comedy series "The Famous Teddy Z" as "Al Floss", a Hollywood talent agent. He received an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for this role in 1990. In 1997, he appeared (along with Rodney Dangerfield) in the annual Thanksgiving episode of the ABC sitcom "Home Improvement".
Among her earliest American television appearances were roles in "The Facts of Life" (as a cousin of Jo
in Episode 23 of Season 3 that was intended as a backdoor pilot for a proposed spin-off) in 1982, and in the short-lived series "Domestic Life" as Martin Mull's TV daughter in 1984. She appeared in two TV movies, "Sin of Innocence" and "Shattered ... If Your Kid's On Drugs" (both 1986). In 1993-94, she was part of the ensemble in a short-lived CBS television series "Second Chances". Since 2000, she has appeared on "Law & Order", "ER", "The X-Files", "", "", "Cold Case", and "Lie to Me", among others. She appeared in the Canadian television series, "Heartland", for three consecutive episodes.
Thirteen years later, a widowed Mrs. Garrett is heading back to America on a cruise ship, ready for a new life and also looking forward to seeing "her girls" again, all of whom have grown into successful, independent women: Blair Warner is a lawyer and also owns a hotel empire (Warner Enterprises) with her husband Tad Warner, managed by Mrs. Garrett's son Raymond; Dorothy "Tootie" Ramsey, now preferring to be called Dorothy, is a talk show host of a morning show called "Waking Up with Dorothy" in Los Angeles and the single mother of a 10-year-old girl Tisha (fathered by her longtime boyfriend and later deceased husband Jeff Williams); Natalie Green is a television news producer at CNN with an active love life and a frenetic work schedule that takes her all over the world; and Jo
is a devoted police officer still married to Rick Bonner and the mother of a 12-year-old daughter Jamie.
The producers felt that there were too many characters given the limitations of the half-hour sitcom format, and that the plot lines should be more focused to give the remaining girls more room for character development. Four of the original actresses—Julie Anne Haddock (Cindy), Julie Piekarski (Sue Ann), Felice Schachter (Nancy), and Molly Ringwald (Molly)—were written out of the show (although the four did make periodic guest appearances in the second and third seasons, and all but Molly Ringwald appeared in one "reunion" episode in the eighth season). Mr. Bradley's character was also dropped and replaced with a generally unseen headmaster named Mr. Harris. (Mr. Harris actually appeared in an early second-season episode, "Gossip", played by Kenneth Mars) and Mr. Parker for the rest of the series. In addition to being housemother to the remaining girls, Mrs. Garrett became the school dietitian as the second season began. Jo
(Nancy McKeon), a new student originally from the Bronx, arrived at Eastland on scholarship. A run-in with the law forced the four to be separated from the other girls and work in the cafeteria, living together in a spare room next to Mrs. Garrett's bedroom.
Blair was very vain, arrogant, egotistical, shallow and believed that she was perfect in every way, but she is also funny, kind-hearted, and loving to Mrs. Garrett and her friends, especially Jo
. She also got good grades, won school awards, was crowned Harvest Queen for 3 straight years, and even convinced a guy to move from Switzerland to attend school near her (when asked about it, Blair dryly remarked, "I've done it before.") Blair's delusions of grandeur were usually played for laughs when Natalie, Tootie or Jo would make sarcastic remarks about her "beauty", "perfect" personality, or "naturally blonde hair". Blair felt she was more important than "regular" people because she was the heiress to her father's multimillion-dollar business, Warner Textile Mills. Any crisis at Eastland would usually prompt a suggested solution from Blair, preceded by her catch phrase: "I just had another one of my "brilliant" ideas!" More often than not, though, her "brilliant ideas" were actually quite the opposite. She eventually developed a more down-to-earth attitude, especially after she suffered a car accident (after falling asleep at the wheel) that left her slightly scarred, spoiling her "perfect" beauty.
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