For Nancy McKeon, one of the facts of life is a hugely memorable experience with Elizabeth Taylor.
On the day of the screen legend’s death (Wednesday, March 23), the familiar television actress behind the tomboyish character Jo on the classic NBC sitcom “The Facts of Life” is recalling the time she spent with two-time Oscar winner Taylor on an episode of “Can’t Hurry Love,” a 1995-96 CBS comedy that McKeon produced and starred in.
“There was a night where our show and others, including ‘Murphy Brown’ and ‘The Nanny,’ all had her in every episode,” McKeon tells Zap2it. “The story threaded through all the shows, and it was about missing pearls or something.
“It was wonderful to have her on the set, but we also did some photo shoots, so I got to spend a little extra time with her and all these other fabulous ladies like Candice Bergen and Fran Drescher. I remember thinking, ‘Wow. How honored I am to be standing in this company.'”
McKeon recalls first getting the word that Taylor would be a guest: “Oh, it was great! We immediately started planning. We redecorated a dressing room, and I know the amazing place she used to get all her flowers delivered from. Being a producer on the show, I decked out the room in all the flowers she loved. Of course, I also got to go shopping at Tiffany’s, because one had to have a gift for one of the most amazing women on the face of the earth. It was very exciting.”
This year’s TV Land Awards — to be televised Sunday, April 17 — will give McKeon an opportunity to reunite with her “Facts of Life” co-stars, since the 1979-88 show will be among the honorees. For now, she’s cherishing a very personal memento Taylor gave her after they worked together.
“She wrote me a beautiful note that I still have. She was very gracious, and we had a great time. She was very funny. It will always be a very special memory for me. One day, I’ll be able to show my daughters the note I got from this glorious woman, and they’ll be able to watch her movies and see who she was. She was wonderful, and hopefully, she’s just having a good laugh now somewhere.”