‘Palm Royale’ star Mindy Cohn’s resurgence 45 years after ‘Facts of Life’: ‘I’m peaking now’

“The Facts of Life” alum Mindy Cohn is in the midst of a career resurgence 45 years after her iconic sitcom premiered.

The actress is starring in the new Apple+ television series “Palm Royale” alongside Kristin Wiig, Laura Dern and Ricky Martin. She plays society columnist Ann Holiday, a part which she described as “the role of a lifetime” during a recent interview.

Cohn noted that at age 57, she believes the best years of her life are still ahead of her.

“I wasn’t one of those girls that peaked in high school,” she recalled to Vanity Fair. “To be quite frank with you, I think I’m peaking now.”

“The Facts of Life” star Mindy Cohn is starring in the new Apple+ series “Palm Royale.” (Getty)

“I think I’m going to look the most adorable in my 60s,” Cohn added. “And I think girls like me, who have that life where you really aren’t your most attractive in your 20s and 30s [and] actually start to really kind of look good in your 50s and 60s, have it so much easier.”


“I didn’t necessarily feel [as] protective over my physical self as people who are told they’re attractive.”

However, Cohn told the outlet that some of her friends did not share her outlook on aging. “They’re really fighting it, and it hurts my heart,” she said.

Cohn explained that she and her best friend fight the temptation “to nip, tuck, fill, or pull” by singing “Let It Go,” the power ballad from the 2013 animated Disney movie “Frozen.”

“[The body] is the vessel,” the California native said of being a character actress. “We want to look the age we are,” she added.

mindy cohn 2024 red carpet

The actress said that she thinks she is peaking now. ( Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

During the early years of her career, Cohn recalled that she established friendships with a bevy of older stars, including Elaine Stritch, Ruth Gordon, Geraldine Page, Bea Arthur, Betty White and Cloris Leachman, who served as her mentors.

“I remember being in my 20s and them saying, ‘Your 50s, 60s, and 70s are going to be the best years of your career!’ As a 20-year-old, you want to go, ‘What the f– am I supposed to do for the next 30 years?'” Cohn remembered.

Set in 1969, “Palm Royale” follows Maxine Simmons (Wiig), an ambitious outsider who “aspires to cross the line between the haves and have-nots to secure her seat at America’s most exclusive, fashionable and treacherous table: Palm Beach high society,” per a plot synopsis.

Cohn’s character Holiday, is the editor of the Palm Beach newspaper “The Shiny Sheet,” which covers gossip about the wealthy community on a Florida island, a position that allows her to hold sway over the socialite set.

The actress, who appears in eight of the series’ ten episodes, said she was pleased with how her role evolved from a minor character into a power player over the show’s duration. 

“It was absolutely delicious to feel like a full-fledged part of this wonderful cast,” she said.

Cohn explained that she saw parallels between her character and legendary Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

“It does feel [like] the Palm Royale Country Club and the milieu of Palm Beach is like a studio system, and she is the gatekeeper of who and what gets reported on,” she said. 

Cohn continued, “I think she takes it seriously to a certain level. And there’s another aspect of her that I related to with Hedda, which is that she is outside of the group, but she is also a member of the club.”

During her interview with Vanity Fair, Cohn recalled that she never set out to pursue a career in acting when she was cast in “Facts of Life” at the age of 13. The legendary producer Norman Lear, production supervisor Alan Horn and “Diff’rent Strokes” actress Charlotte Rae met Cohn during a visit to her high school, the exclusive Westlake School for Girls in Bel Air. 

Lear, Horn and Rae toured the school and spoke to the students as research for the development of a “Diff’rent Strokes” spin-off series. Cohn served as their tour guide, and Rae became determined to include her in the series.

“The Facts of Life” followed four girls attending the prestigious boarding school, the Eastland School and their relationship with their dorm mother, Mrs. Edna Garrett (Rae). The show aired for nine seasons from 1979 to 1988. 

Despite starring as Natalie Green, one of the main characters in the hit show, Cohn told the outlet that she maintained a normal life, with her parents considering her acting career as an extracurricular activity “like I was on the tennis team.”

“It’s just what I did after school — and then had to come home to four hours of homework a night,” she remembered.

“I will tell you that as a 17-year-old, I felt like a 40-year-old, and a lot of it just had to do with the school workload. But that preciousness of being on a TV show didn’t really hit until then, so I think it saved me.”

mindy cohn as natalie green in facts of life

Cohn starred as Rachel Green in the hit sitcom. (NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Cohn recalled that her co-stars including Kim Fields, Lisa Whelchel, Molly Ringwald and Nancy McKeon, who all had previous acting experience, helped show her the ropes. The actress said that McKeon, who joined the show in the second season, became her “soul sister.”

“I remember the episode where Natalie got attacked and I had to cry,” Cohn said. “I was like a deer in headlights, and Nancy was very instrumental in helping me. She kind of gave me my first acting lesson, to be honest.”

“We still, to this day, are very, very close friends,” she added.

In May 2023, Whelchel opened up about her time on “The Facts of Life,” revealing she was sent to a “fat farm” for gaining weight during the show’s breaks.

Whelchel shared that a scale was kept on set to weigh the actresses, and on three separate occasions she was deemed too heavy and sent off to a camp to lose weight.

“Obviously, we’re in a different time,” she explained during an interview with People. “We’ve learned a lot. We’re a lot more body positive right now, which I’m grateful for. I mean, it’s still an issue.”

During her interview with Vanity Fair, Cohn shared that she didn’t feel that the show made an issue of her weight. 

“There weren’t self-deprecating jokes, and her friends didn’t talk about it,” Cohn said of her character. “It was just her body. It was who she was.”


Cohn also said that she brushed off any outside criticism of her body. “I remember Joan Rivers calling us ‘The Fats of Life,’ and the girls coming in and being so upset. I just thought, ‘Well, I think it’s funny!’ We’re all going through puberty. Kim Fields now has double D’s. What do you want to do?”

The actress recalled that she was “really flattered” when the late Chris Farley portrayed her in an episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

 “Like: Oh, my God. It’s friggin’ iconic!” she said.

facts of life cast smiling with arms on shoulders

The cast also included Nancy McKeon, Kim Fields, Lisa Whelchel and Charlotte Rae. (NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

After “The Facts of Life” concluded its run, Cohn went on to star in “The Second Half,” “The Kids From Room 402,” “What’s New, Scooby-Do?” and “Shaggy and Scooby-Do Get a Clue!” 

She voiced Velma in many Scooby-Doo video games, as well as in “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.” In addition to voicing Velma, she also starred in “You Light Up My Christmas” and “A Nice Girl Like You.”

Though a second season for “Palm Royale” hasn’t yet been green-lit, Cohn said the show’s writers have been planning for another installment of the series.

“They have been writing scripts, and I’ve gotten a couple little nuggets of what’s to come. But to be quite frank with you,” Cohn said. “I actually don’t want to know. I want to be as titillated as everyone else.”


For now, Cohn said that she has been excited by the reaction to her performance in “Palm Royale.”

“I was literally talking to Nancy McKeon this morning. She watched the first three episodes of ‘Palm Royale’ and called to say, ‘Hey, pal, I’m so proud of you.’” Cohn recalled with a smile. 

“It’s 45 years later, and I’m so looking forward to people seeing me in a different way.”

Fox News Digital’s Lori Bashian contributed to this report.

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