Lisa Whelchel Returns to Acting with Tyler Perry's 'A Madea Christmas' (Exclusive)

Lisa Whelchel Headshot - P 2012

Lisa Whelchel Headshot - P 2012

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have: the actress that played Blair Warner on "The Facts of Life" is joining Chad Michael Murray and Larry the Cable Guy in the Lionsgate movie.

A fun fact of life: Lisa Whelchel is returning to acting.

The actress, who became a household fixture starring in the classic sitcom The Facts of Life and is coming off a turn as a Survivor contestant, has joined the cast of Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.

Whelchel boards a production that already includes Chad Michael Murray, Larry the Cable Guy, Tika Sumpter, and Kathy Najimy.

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Perry is starring as Madea and is also directing, adapting his own play, and producing with Ozzie Areu and Matt Moore. Lionsgate is releasing.

The story sees Madea getting coaxed into helping a friend pay her daughter a surprise visit in the country for Christmas. Their arrival, as the rural town prepares for its annual Christmas Carnival, prompts secrets to be revealed and old friendships to be tested.

Whelchel is playing a school principal.

Production began this week in Atlanta.

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Whelchel famously starred as the snobby Blair Warner in the Facts of Life, which ran on NBC from 1979 to 1988. Apart from a couple of TV movies, she has stayed away from the screen, both large and small, since the show ended its run.

Whelchel returned to the spotlight with a surprise turn as a contestant on the 2012 season of Survivor, becoming one of the finalists. After the finale in mid-December, she signed with David Shapira and Associates and with A Madea Christmas, found herself in the audition process for the first time since trying out for Facts of Life as a 16-year old.

She is also recurring as a co-host on The Jeff Probst Show.