I loved Jo Polniaczek on The Facts of Life because she was a tomboy just like me. She was tough but also very sensitive with a heart of gold. She was sarcastic with most of the sarcasm directed at rich snotty Blair. Jo was just like me. I don’t like rich snotty people either. I watched The Facts of Life the first season but there were too many characters. They got rid of a bunch of the original clan for the second season and added my beloved Jo, played by the marvelous actress, Nancy McKeon.
Nancy Justine McKeon was born on April 4, 1966 in Westbury, New York. She moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and started doing commercials and modeling. Her older brother, Philip, landed the role of Tommy on the TV show Alice. Nancy had bit parts in shows here and there, but her big break came in 1979 when she was discovered and cast as tomboy Jo. Nancy was on The Facts of Life from 1980 to 1988.
McKeon was in a few more series after Facts ended, but she will forever be known as tough girl Jo. Nancy appeared in the 1995 series Can’t Hurry Love (one season), Style & Substance in 1998 (one season), The Division from 2001 to 2004, and Sonny with a Chance from 2009-2010.
- Was cast as the lead in the TV show Working Girl but left before production started. She was replaced by a then unknown Sandra Bullock.
- Dated Michael J. Fox and (I believe) Michael Damian.
- Younger sister of Philip McKeon. I don’t see any resemblance. I wonder if they’re blood related.
- Is able to cry on command. Her Facts of Life cast mates nicknamed her “Faucet Face” because of this. Nice.
- Was considered for the part of Monica on Friends. That would have been interesting and I think would have worked. That part, of course, went to the lovely Courteney Cox.
- Has two children with her husband Marc.
- Lives a normal life in Austin, Texas. Is concentrating on raising her two daughters in a healthy non-Hollywood way.
- Declined to participate in the 2001 Facts of Life reunions which makes her the Susan Dey of the 80’s sitcom.
- Had parts in Starsky and Hutch, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and Alice before landing her role on The Facts of Life.
- Was in the 1983 TV movie High School U.S.A. with then boyfriend Michael J. Fox. It also starred Diff’rent Strokes stars Todd Bridges and Dana Plato.
- Was also in the 1985 TV movie Poison Ivy with boyfriend Michael J. Fox.
Where is she now?
IMDB shows that Nancy McKeon is living in Texas and raising her kids. I believe she briefly retired in 2007 but has acted in shows and movies since then. Her last acting credit was a 2011 TV movie called Love Begins. Maybe she commutes from Texas to act in bit parts here and there.
Nancy McKeon was one of my favorite actors as a kid. It’s nice to see that she grew up to live a pretty normal life. I’m glad that I haven’t seen her in the news for doing something stupid like so many other former child actors. Rock on, Jo.