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‘We Couldn’t Get the Real Tootie for This?’: Gabrielle Union Set to Play Tootie in Live Rendition of ‘The Facts of Life,’ Fans React

Gabrielle Union will be joining the star-studded cast of this year’s “Live in Front of a Studio Audience,” reenactment of “The Facts of Life,” a 90-minute special.

The ABC Network live show — which first began in 2019 — will recreate episodes from “Diff’rent Strokes” and its spinoff “The Facts of Life.” Kevin Hart and Damon Wayans were announced to be playing the roles of Arnold and Willis Jackson, respectively, in “Diff’rent Strokes” last week.

Gabrielle Union is set to star as Tootie in “The Facts of Live” Live. Photo: @gabunion/Instagram

According to Deadline, Union is set to portray Dorothy “Tootie” Ramsey in the live version of “The Facts of Life.” Kim Fields previously played this character. Other stars who will be a part of the “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” show include Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn and Allison Tolman. 

“The Facts of Life,” which first aired on NBC from 1979 to 1988, was a sitcom about the experiences a group of girls faced while attending boarding school under the watchful eye of their housemother Edna Garrett, who was also the maid in “Diff’rent Strokes.”

When news regarding Union’s upcoming role went viral, fans’ reactions toward the casting decision were mixed. Some expressed that Fields could have reprised her role as Tootie, while others felt indifferent. One individual, in particular, explained that the live re-enactment special is a tribute to the show.

“Sooooooooo we couldn’t get the real Tootie for this????????.”

“But the real tootie is alive and acting… why she not playing herself???”

“This is a way to honor the show but more than likely Kim Fields will have a cameo like they did with the cast of ‘Good Times’ and ‘The Jeffersons’ with Marla Gibbs when they did the live thing last year.”

“This is only for one episode folks don’t freak out and the keyword is Reenactment meaning you don’t need the actual actors even though they are alive.”

Gabrielle Union shared an Instagram Story about her upcoming role in “The Facts of Life” live show. Photo:@gabunion/Instagram

Following the announcement, Union shared in a now-deleted Instagram story how honored she is to play Tootie. She said, while praising Fields, “‘Tootie’ was EVERYTHING to Black girls in my generation @kimfieldsofficial is an ICON living. I am honored to honor her and just one of the many legendary characters she has brought to life.”

“Live in Front of a Studio Audience: The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes” will air live on ABC on Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. EST.

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