The facts of life
By John W. Kennedy
For nine years, viewers of NBC's Facts of Life watched
Lisa Whelchel portray Blair Warner, a rich, pampered, good-looking
boarding school student. Over the course of the situation
comedy, she matured form a prep school teen-ager to a responsible
adult. One of the three actresses to stay on Facts
of Life for its entire 1979-88 run, her character - by
the end of a low student - ended up buying the financially
troubled Eastland school for young women.
As Lisa finished the series, other acting offers awaited
the talented actress, then 25. Instead, for the past decade,
Lisa has been playing a role she believes has a higher
calling: wife and mother. Lisa made the transition only
two months after the final first-run episode aired in 1988,
since then she has gone by her married name, Lisa Cauble.
Lisa and Steve, both Christians since childhood, met at
a prayer group at the 5,500-member Church on the Way in
Van Nuys, Calif. Since 1982, Steve has been on the 24-member
pastoral staff as director of information technologies
and an administrative assistant to Pastor Jack Hayford.
During a two-year period, Lisa and Steve became close friends.
"Her consistent prayer request was that the Lord would
help her find the right husband, and we all fervently prayed," says
Steve, 37 at the time of the marriage. Steve, the son of
Foursquare pastors Curtis and Alice Cauble, earlier had
spent a decade heading the music department, then as business
administrator at a Bible college in Los Angeles.
After a year and a half of marriage, the Caubles had their
first child. Within three years after the first birth,
the Caubles had become a family of five. Today, son Tucker
is 10 and daughters Haven and Clancy are 8 and 7. "They
require so much attention, and it is something that I don't
want to delegate to somebody else," she says. "At first
it was just keeping them fed and clean and dry, but now
it's trying to train them against the current of the world."
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Lisa was pit in an acting
class when she was 7. Soon she was doing community theater.
At 12, she landed a part in The New Mickey Mouse Club and
moved to California. Over an 18-month period, she participated
in 186 daily shows as one of a dozen mouseketeers. Her
break of being cast as the wealthy princess on Facts
of Life resulted from a turn of a phrase during a
The character was originally supposed to be a fast-talking
girl from Texas, and so that's why they called me," Lisa
says. "But there was one line in the audition that I read
just a little bit snobbishly, and they liked it. So when
they cast me, they had actually rewritten the part."
Lisa had been raised in a Christian home, and she committed
her life to Christ at age 10. Her faith did not waver during Facts
of Life . In fact, she used her celebrity recognition
to give her testimony to teen-agers at churches and schools.
As part of the touring, in 1984 she cowrote songs and recorded
an album, "All Because of You," which hit the Christian
music charts and garnered a Grammy nomination.
Lisa attended public school through elementary years,
then had on-set tutors, which enabled her to graduate from
high school at 16. The original motivation for homeschooling
her children was financial. "We had assumed we would put
our kids in a private Christian school, but then we had
three so close together, and that's just not possible on
a pastor's salary," Lisa says. "It's just gotten better
every year." Because of the children's personalities and
dispositions, Lisa believes the nurturing and biblical
foundation that can be laid in homeschooling have been
Lisa's weekday mornings are spent teaching math, science
and history, while the children read on their own in the
afternoons. On Steve's day off, Monday, the family takes
Television is not the center of the Cauble household. "There's
no time in our day to watch it," Lisa says. The Caubles
live in a northern Los Angeles suburb. "There are other
like-minded moms here and we're working toward the same
goal: raising our kids in the way of the Lord."
The Cauble kids have seen their mother on Facts of
Life reruns. "They think it's kind of neat, but
then the novelty wears off," Lisa says. "They'd rather
be outside playing."
Someday, when the children are grown, Lisa may consider
a return to acting. "I still enjoy it, but it's really
not feasible at this time," she says. "I would require
me to leave early in the morning and I wouldn't get home
until 6 or 6:30. Or, if I did movies, I'd be away for months
at a time. It's just not something I can consider right
Lisa does not believe she relinquished anything by leaving
a life in front of cameras for a life of schoolbooks and
dishes. "To me it wasn't walking away from a great thing
to a lesser thing," Lisa says. "It was really walking away
from a great thing to a better thing. I'm thankful that
I was able to experience a wonderful career and then be
able to go from that to marrying a wonderful husband and
having great children. That seems to be the ultimate calling."