Mindy Cohn Played Chubby Natalie Green On The Facts Of Life

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Mindy Cohn was the most improbable. The others were all child actors with experience in performing, but Cohn never trained as an actress and knew little or nothing about the series when she first came to the attention of the producers. Born in Los Angeles, she was an ordinary high school student attending the Harvard-Westlake School when the makers of The Facts of Life, planning their first season, arrived there to observe and photograph an actual girls' school in operation. It was reportedly series star Charlotte Rae who first spotted Cohn, a student at the school, entertaining some friends, and brought her to the attention of the producers.

All involved agreed that she was a "natural," one of those uncanny, untrained individuals who simply looked good and memorable and funny in front of the camera, in a manner comparable to the child performers they had already cast, and with that ability added something extra special in terms of verisimilitude -- and a good deal of wry humor to the cast they already had. And so Cohn was cast as Natalie Green and was one of the three original young first-season cast members to get spotlighted when the program moved to its second season, achieving stardom in the course of a seven-season run for the series.

According to Cohn, in an interview for the DVD release of the first two seasons, the producers actually asked her to put the weight back on, if possible; when she refused, they came up with a compromise by having her character dress in clothes that made her look like she was still overweight. Since the series ended production, she has somewhat limited her acting work while earning a degree in cultural anthropology. Cohn has specifically taken parts that were devised to capitalize on her work from the series and has still found enough roles to keep her occupied.

Mindy Cohn practically grew up on Facts of Life, the hit TV show she co-starred in, along with Lisa Whelchel, Nancy McKeon, Kim Fields, and Charlotte Rae. She played the part of a happy-go-lucky wisecracker named Natalie Green for 9 seasons (1979 - 88).Mindy rather lucked into the part of Natalie. Charlotte Rae had gone to an all girls school called Westlake in CA (the school Eastland was modeled after. In fact, Eastland was originally called Eastlake.) to try and authenticate scripts for the early episodes of The Facts of Life.

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