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Mindy Cohn Has Made a Comeback — Learn What She’s Been Up to Since ‘The Facts of Life’

She's part of the popular new show 'Palm Royale'!

If you grew up in the ’80s, chances are good you felt like Mindy Cohn was one of your BFFs. Starring on The Facts of Life as the intelligent and upbeat Natalie Green from 1979 to 1988, Cohn projected a delightfully warm energy, and was a trailblazer as one of the few fuller-figured actresses on TV at the time (something her character was refreshingly unbothered about).

Viewers felt like they grew up alongside Cohn and her onscreen classmates (played by Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields and Nancy McKeon) and the show spanned the better part of a decade. Cohn was just 13 when she was cast in The Facts of Life, and became one of the defining teen stars of the ’80s. As with most stars who became famous at a young age, she’ll forever be associated with her first big role.

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While you likely think of Cohn as Natalie, the actress has been working steadily in recent years, and at 57, she’s back in the spotlight over 40 years after she first won us over, with her highest-profile role in a long time. Read on to learn about her latest role, and see how she went from relatable teen to unexpected MVP of a much-discussed new series.

Mindy Cohn in 1985 holding a picture of herself from 1979
Mindy Cohn holds a picture of herself from 1979, the year The Facts of Life premiered, in 1985NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty

Mindy Cohn’s early days

Mindy Cohn didn’t set out to be an actress, and was discovered by veteran actress Charlotte Rae (yep, Mrs. Garrett herself!) when she and the producers of The Facts of Life visited Westlake School in California, where Cohn was a student, to do research for the show and were instantly charmed by the teen’s humor and positivity.

MUST-READ: ‘The Facts of Life’ and ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ Star Charlotte Rae Was the TV Matriarch We All Loved — Here’s Why

From there, a star was born, and she learned a lot from her more experienced costars. The chemistry the girls had onscreen was real — they were all around the same ages as the characters they played, and were friends on and off the screen. They even remain friendly today, long after they first appeared in the show!

Left to right: 'The Facts of Life' stars Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields in the '80s
Left to right: The Facts of Life stars Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn and Kim Fields in the ’80sMichael Ochs Archives/Getty

After The Facts of Life

After 201 episodes of The Facts of Life, Cohn pursued a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and a master’s in education. She then went back to acting, starring in the short-lived sitcoms The Second Half (1993 — 1994) and The Help (2004).

Cohn ultimately found a new niche as a voiceover actress, lending her distinctive voice to the show The Kids From Room 402 from 1999 to 2001. In 2002, she began voicing Velma in various Scooby Doo shows and home videos, and she’d be the voice of Velma for over a decade.

Left to right: 'The Facts of Life' stars Nancy McKeon, Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn and Charlotte Rae at a reunion event in 2014
Left to right: The Facts of Life stars Nancy McKeon, Lisa Whelchel, Mindy Cohn and Charlotte Rae at a reunion event in 2014Frederick M. Brown/Getty

When she wasn’t playing Velma, Cohn had an eight-episode arc on The Secret Life of the American Teenager in 2012 and appeared in various TV movies.

Sadly, the actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and stepped away from acting, but she’s been cancer-free since 2017.

MUST-READ: Kim Fields — From ‘The Facts of Life’ to ‘Blessed Life,’ Catch Up With the Actress

Mindy Cohn in 2015
Mindy Cohn in 2015Michael Tullberg/Getty

What Mindy Cohn is up to today

Recently, Cohn has made a triumphant return to the small screen, much to the delight of her many fans. The actress is part of the new Apple TV+ series Palm Royale. Playing Ann Holiday, an intrepid society reporter in ’60s Palm Beach, she holds her own in a star-studded cast that includes Kristen Wiig, Ricky Martin, Laura Dern, Allison Janney, Carol Burnett and more.

MUST-READ: ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ Cast Then and Now: A Celebration of Laughter and Talent

Allison Janney and Mindy Cohn in 'Palm Royale' 2024
Allison Janney and Mindy Cohn in Palm Royale (2024)@mindycohn/Instagram

While Cohn isn’t the star of the show, she’s emerged as a fan favorite, with Vulture proclaiming “Mindy Cohn should be in everything.” After not seeing her for a while, we’re glad she’s made a comeback, as we’ve missed her plucky humor (and her charmingly dimpled expressions!).

In a recent Vanity Fair interview, Cohn called Ann Holiday “the role of a lifetime,” and said, “I think I’m peaking now,” which is refreshing to hear when you consider how often actresses who started as teens struggle to find fulfilling roles as they age.

Mindy Cohn in 2024
Mindy Cohn in 2024Arturo Holmes/Getty

With her perfectly sharp bob and glasses and spot-on comic timing, Cohn has a distinctive presence onscreen and off, and she’s living proof that the journey from teen star to mature character actress is a rewarding one. We hope that after Palm Royale, we’ll see her in many more roles.

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