Fran Drescher

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Fran Drescher
Life Ball 2009 (arrivals) Fran Drescher.jpg
Drescher at the Vienna Life Ball in 2009
Born Francine Joy Drescher
(1957-09-30) September 30, 1957 (age 56)
Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress, comedian, producer, author
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Peter Marc Jacobson (m. 1978–99)

Francine Joy "Fran" Drescher (born September 30, 1957) is an American film and television actress, comedian, producer, and activist. She is best known for her role as Fran Fine in the hit TV series The Nanny (1993–99), and for her nasal voice and thick New York accent.

Drescher made her screen debut with a small role in the 1977 blockbuster film Saturday Night Fever, and later appeared in American Hot Wax (1978) and Wes Craven's horror tale Summer of Fear (1978). In the 1980s, she gained recognition as a comedic actress in the films Gorp (1980), The Hollywood Knights (1980), Doctor Detroit (1983), This Is Spinal Tap (1984), and UHF (1989) while establishing a television career with guest appearances on several series. In 1993, she achieved wider fame as Fran Fine in her own sitcom vehicle The Nanny, for which she was nominated for two Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Television Series during the show's run. She received further recognition for her performances in Jack (1996) and The Beautician and the Beast (1997) and reinforced her reputation as a leading sitcom star with Living With Fran (2005–2006) and Happily Divorced (2011–2013).[1]

A uterine cancer survivor, Drescher is an outspoken healthcare advocate and LGBT rights activist, and is noted for her work as a Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women's Health Issues for the U.S. State Department. Divorced from writer and producer Peter Marc Jacobson, she currently lives in Malibu, California.

Beginning February 4, 2014, Drescher made her Broadway debut in Cinderella as stepmother Madame.[2]

Early life[edit]

Drescher was born in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, New York,[3] the daughter of Sylvia, a bridal consultant, and Morty Drescher, a naval systems analyst.[4] Her Ashkenazi Jewish family is of Southeast and Central European origin. Her maternal great-grandmother was born in Focșani, Romania, and had emigrated to the United States,[5] while her father's family came from Poland.[6] She has an older sister, Nadine.

Drescher was a first runner-up for "Miss New York Teenager" in 1973.[7] She attended Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, where she met her future husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, whom she married in 1978, at age 21. They divorced in 1999.[8] Jacobson was Drescher's constant supporter in her show-business career, and he wrote, directed and produced her signature television series, The Nanny. Drescher graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1975; one of her classmates was comedian Ray Romano.[9] Drescher's character Fran Fine on The Nanny and Romano's character Ray Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond met at a 20th high school reunion.[10]

Career[edit]

Early careers[edit]

Drescher's first break was a small role as the dancer Connie in the blockbuster movie Saturday Night Fever (1977) in which she delivered the line "So, are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?" to John Travolta. A year later, she began to gain more attention in films such as American Hot Wax (1978), and Summer of Fear (1978). She also took on a rare dramatic role in the 1981 Miloš Forman film, Ragtime.

During the 1980s, Drescher found moderate success as a character actress with memorable roles in films such as Gorp (1980), The Hollywood Knights (1980), Doctor Detroit (1983), The Big Picture (1989), UHF (1989), Cadillac Man (1990), and memorably in This Is Spinal Tap (1984) as publicist Bobbi Fleckman. She also made an appearance in a second season episode of Who's the Boss? in 1985 as an interior decorator. She also had an appearance on Night Court as a schizophrenic who flips from a prude to a sexually minded woman and ends up in a hotel with ADA Dan Fielding.

In the 1990s, Drescher voiced "Peggy" from The P Pals on PBS (the women with the flower on her hat).

The Nanny and later film roles[edit]

Drescher and Jacobson created their own television show, The Nanny, in 1993. The show aired on CBS from 1993 and ended in 1999, and Drescher became an instant star. In this sitcom, she played a charming and bubbly woman named Fran Fine who casually became the nanny of Margaret ("Maggie"), Brighton ("B"), and Grace ("Gracie") Sheffield; with her wit and her charm, she endeared herself to their widower father: stuffy, composed, proper British gentleman, and Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy).

Drescher appeared in Jack (1996), directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Beautician and the Beast (1997) (for which she was also executive producer) and Picking Up the Pieces (2000) co-starring Woody Allen. She also was the voice of "Pearl" in Shark Bait (2006).

Return to television[edit]

In the 2000s, Drescher made a return to television both with leading and guest roles. In 2003, Drescher appeared in episodes of the short lived sitcom, Good Morning, Miami as Roberta Diaz. In 2005, she returned with the sitcom Living With Fran, in which she played Fran Reeves, a middle-aged mother of two, living with Riley Martin (Ryan McPartlin), a man half her age and not much older than her son. Former Nanny costar Charles Shaughnessy appeared as her philandering ex-husband, Ted. Living with Fran was cancelled on May 17, 2006, after two seasons.

In 2006, Drescher guest starred in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent; the episode, "The War at Home", aired on US television on November 14, 2006.[11] She also appeared in an episode of Entourage and in the same year, gave her voice to the role of a female golem in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror XVII". In 2007, Drescher appeared in the US version of the Australian improvisational comedy series Thank God You're Here.

In 2008, Drescher announced that she was developing a new sitcom entitled The New Thirty, also starring Rosie O'Donnell. A series about two old high school friends coping with midlife crises, Drescher described the premature plot of the show as "kind of Sex and the City but we ain't getting any! It'll probably be more like The Odd Couple."[12] The sitcom failed to materialize however.[12] In 2010, Drescher returned to television with her own daytime talk show, The Fran Drescher Tawk Show. While the program debuted to strong ratings, it ended its three-week test run to moderate success, resulting in its shelving.[13][14] The following year, the sitcom Happily Divorced, created by Drescher and her ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, was picked up by TV Land for a ten-episode order. It premiered there June 15, 2011.[15] The show was renewed in July 2011 for a second season of 12 episodes, which aired in spring 2012. On May 1, 2012, TV Land extended the second season and picked up 12 additional episodes, taking the second season total to 24. The back-order of season two debuted later in 2012. Happily Divorced was cancelled in August 2013.

To promote Happily Divorced, Drescher performed the weddings of three gay couples in New York City using the minister's license she received from the Universal Life Church.[16] Drescher hand-picked the three couples, all of whom were entrants into "Fran Drescher's 'Love Is Love' Gay Marriage Contest" on Facebook, based on the stories the couples submitted about how they met, why their relationship illustrated that "love is love" and why they wanted to be married by her.[17]

Personal life[edit]

After separating in 1996, Drescher and Jacobson divorced in 1999. They had no children. Drescher stated, "I would have been able to conceive but not hold on".[18] Drescher has worked to support LGBT rights issues after her ex-husband came out.[19] Drescher has stated that the primary reason for the divorce was her need to change directions in life. Drescher and Jacobson remain friends and business partners. She has stated that "...we choose to be in each others’ lives in any capacity. Our love is unique, rare, and unconditional; unless he’s being annoying.”[20][21]

Drescher attended Queens College, City University of New York.

The 1985 robbery and rape[edit]

In January 1985, two armed robbers broke into Drescher and Jacobson's Los Angeles apartment. While one ransacked their home, Drescher and her friend were raped by the other, at gunpoint. Jacobson was also physically attacked, tied up, and forced to witness the entire ordeal. It took Drescher many years to recover, and it took her even longer to tell her story to the press. She was paraphrased as saying in an interview with Larry King that although it was a traumatic experience, she found ways to turn it into something positive. In her book Cancer Schmancer, the actress writes: "My whole life has been about changing negatives into positives." Her rapist, who was on parole at the time of the crime, was returned to prison and given two life sentences.[18]

Cancer battle[edit]

After two years of symptoms and misdiagnoses by eight doctors, Drescher was admitted to Los Angeles's Cedars Sinai Hospital on June 21, 2000, after doctors diagnosed her with uterine cancer. She had to undergo an immediate radical hysterectomy to treat the disease. Drescher was given a clean bill of health and no post-operative treatment has been ordered.

She wrote about her experiences in her second book, Cancer Schmancer.[18] Her purpose for this book was to raise consciousness for men and women "to become more aware of the early warning signs of cancer, and to empower themselves." Drescher says, "I was going to learn what I needed to learn, ask questions, become partners with my doctor instead of having some kind of parent/child relationship."

Fran Drescher at a press conference
Drescher at a press conference for the Austrian charity Dancer Against Cancer, 2010
Fran Drescher and Goli Ameri
Drescher and Goli Ameri

Cancer Schmancer Movement[edit]

On June 21, 2007, the seventh anniversary of her operation, Drescher announced the national launch of the Cancer Schmancer Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all women's cancers be diagnosed while in Stage 1, the most curable stage. She celebrated her tenth year of wellness on June 21, 2010.

Fran says:

We need to take control of our bodies, become greater partners with our physicians and galvanize as one to let our legislators know that the collective female vote is louder and more powerful than that of the richest corporate lobbyists.[22]

Her goal is to live in a time when women's mortality rates drop as their health care improves and early cancer detection increases. More information can be found on her website at cancerschmancer.org.

Her efforts as an outspoken healthcare advocate in Washington DC helped get unanimous passage for H.R. 1245 (also known as Johanna's Law) and she is acknowledged in the Congressional Record.

Politics[edit]

In September 2008, Drescher, a Democrat, was appointed as a U.S. diplomat by George W. Bush Administration's Assistant Secretary of State Goli Ameri. Her official title is Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women's Health Issues. In traveling throughout the world, she will support U.S. public diplomacy efforts, including working with health organizations and women's groups to raise awareness of women’s health issues, cancer awareness and detection, and patient empowerment and advocacy. Her first trip was in late September and included stops in Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and Poland.[5][23]

In 2008, Drescher supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. She attended a Super Democrat rally for Clinton. Drescher said that she had been considering a run for the United States Senate in 2008 to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, but ultimately decided against it.[24][25] She endorsed Barack Obama for re-election in 2012.[26]

Awards[edit]

Elke Winkens, Drescher and Bill Clinton, Fran Drescher at the Life Ball, 2009

Drescher has been the recipient of the John Wayne Institute’s Woman of Achievement Award, the Gilda Award, the City of Hope Woman of the Year Award, the Hebrew University Humanitarian Award, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Spirit of Achievement Award. Most recently she was honored with the City of Hope Spirit of Life Award, which was presented to her by Senator Hillary Clinton. On April 10, 2010, she was guest of honor at the "Dancer against Cancer" charity ball held at the Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria, where she received the first "My Aid Award" for her achievements in support of cancer prevention and rehabilitation.[27]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1977 Saturday Night Fever Connie
1978 American Hot Wax Sheryl
1978 Stranger in Our House Carolyn Baker
1980 Hollywood Knights, TheThe Hollywood Knights Sally
1980 Gorp Evie
1981 Ragtime Mameh
1983 Doctor Detroit Karen Blittstein
1984 This Is Spinal Tap Bobbi Flekman
1984 P.O.P. Maggie Newton
1984 Rosebud Beach Hotel, TheThe Rosebud Beach Hotel Linda
1988 Rock 'n' Roll Mom Jody Levin
1989 UHF Pamela Finklestein
1989 Love and Betrayal Germaine
1989 The Big Picture Polo Habel
1990 Wedding Band Veronica
1990 Cadillac Man Joy Munchack
1990 Hurricane Sam Rene Gianelli
1991 We're Talking Serious Money Valerie
1993 Without Warning: Terror in the Towers Rosemarie Russo
1994 Car 54, Where Are You? Velma Valour
1996 Jack Dolores "D.D." Durante
1997 Beautician and the Beast, TheThe Beautician and the Beast Joy Miller Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
2000 Picking Up the Pieces Sister Frida
2000 Kid Quick Kerry
2003 Beautiful Girl Amanda Wasserman
2005 Santa's Slay Virginia Mason
2006 Shark Bait Pearl
2011 Mindwash. The Jake Sessions Madame LaRue
2012 Hotel Transylvania Eunice
2013 Skum Rocks! Herself

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1978 Saturday Night Live Concert Goer Episode: "Steve Martina/Van Morrison"
1982 Fame Rhonda Episode:" ″Metamorphosis″
1983 9 to 5 Tapioca Episode: "The Oldest Profession"
1985 Silver Spoons Annie Episode: "Marry Me, Marry Me: Part 2"
1985 227 Mrs. Baker Episode: "The Refrigerator"
1985–1986 Who's the Boss? Carol Patrice 2 episodes
1986 Night Court Miriam Brody Episode: "Author, Author"
1986 Charmed Lives Joyce Columbus 4 episodes
1990 ALF Roxanne Episode: "Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades"
1990 WIOU Jo Finc Episode: "Pilot"
1991 Princesses Melissa Kirshner 8 episodes
1991 Dream On Kathleen Episode: "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told"
1993–1999 The Nanny Fran Fine/Fran Sheffield 147 episodes
Nominated—American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1996–97)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1996–97)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
2003 Good Morning, Miami Roberta Diaz 3 episodes
2004 Strong Medicine Irene Slater Episode: "Cinderella in Scrubs"
2005–2006 Living With Fran Fran Reeves 26 episodes
2005 What I Like About You Fran Reeves Episode: "Girls Gone Wild"
2006 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons The Female Golem Episode: "Treehouse of Horror XVII"
2006 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Elaine Dockerty Episode: "The War at Home"
2008 Live from Lincoln Center Morgan Le Fay Episode: "Camelot"
2008 Entourage Mrs. Levine Episode: "The All Out Fall Out"
2010 Glenn Martin, DDS Arlene Stein Episode: "Dad News Bears"
2010 Fran Drescher Show, TheThe Fran Drescher Show Host 15 episodes
2011–2013 Happily Divorced Fran Lovett 34 episodes

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (August 23, 2013). "Fran Drescher Comedy 'Happily Divorced' Canceled at TV Land". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  2. ^ Fran Drescher to Make Broadway Debut as 'Madame' in CINDERELLA in February; Harriet Harris to Depart on 2/3 Retrieved December 9, 2013
  3. ^ Firestone, David (September 18, 1994). "For Queens, a Place in the Sun; Hollywood Is Suddenly Zooming In, With a Vengeance". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 May 2014. "Ms. Drescher, who actually comes from Kew Gardens Hills, may be the most deliberately colorful of the lot, but she is hardly alone in celebrating the showbiz ascendancy of her native land." 
  4. ^ "Fran Drescher Biography (1957–)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Dădaca Fran: "Eu sunt din România!"" (in Romanian). Evenimentul Zilei. October 1, 2008. 
  6. ^ Fran Drescher. "Raising Global Awareness of Women’s Health Issues". Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  7. ^ Drescher, Fran (1996). Enter Whining (1 ed.). New York: Regan Books. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-06-039155-3. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Meisler, Andy (December 18, 1994). "TELEVISION; Mary Poppins She's Not". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 May 2014. "After she graduated from Hillcrest High School in Queens, where she met Mr. Jacobson, the two of them moved to Los Angeles and were married." 
  9. ^ Gliatto, Tom; Tomashoff, Craig (14 October 1996). "Home Truths". People. Retrieved 26 May 2014. "While a student at Hillcrest High (where The Nanny's Fran Drescher was a classmate), he performed in a comedy troupe at church." 
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0657352/
  11. ^ TV.com – episode page
  12. ^ a b Gordon, Julie (2008-05-22). "BUZZ: Rosie O'Donnell, Fran Drescher combine for TV's whiniest sitcom?". Newsday. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  13. ^ Albiniak, Paige (2011-11-29). "Audiences Still Love The Nanny". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  14. ^ Albiniak, Paige (2011-12-21). "Syndies Flat as Holiday Season Revs Up". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  15. ^ Sarah Anne Hughes (June 14, 2011). "Fran Drescher talks being ‘Happily Divorced’ from gay ex-husband". Washington Post. 
  16. ^ http://www.themonastery.org/blog/2012/03/ulc-minister-fran-drescher-to-officiate-gay-wedding/
  17. ^ PR NewsWire Press Release
  18. ^ a b c "LARRY KING LIVE Interview with Fran Drescher". CNN. May 6, 2002. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  19. ^ Fran Drescher's Ex-Husband Peter Marc Jacobson Is Gay, Shows Support
  20. ^ Modern Family – Peter Marc Jacobson on Success, Sexuality, and Being in Love with Fran Drescher. GuySpy. July 1, 2011.
  21. ^ Fran Drescher on Dating After Divorce. ABC News. Accessed 2011-11-05.
  22. ^ Cancer Schmancer Movement Website
  23. ^ "U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy Fran Drescher Raises Awareness of Women’s Cancer During Visit to Budapest". Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  24. ^ "'Nanny' state? Drescher eyes Clinton's Senate seat". Yahoo News. December 9, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-07. [dead link]
  25. ^ Alex Dobuzinskis (December 9, 2008). "Fran Drescher looks to graduate from "Nanny" to U.S. Senate". Reuters Blogs. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  26. ^ "Fran Drescher on Working with Obama". Hulu.com. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  27. ^ "So war der 'Dancer Against Cancer'-Ball". Retrieved 2010-04-13. 


External links[edit]