Drescher made her screen debut with a small role in the 1977 blockbuster filmSaturday Night Fever prior to appearing in films such as the biopic American Hot Wax (1978), and Wes Craven's horror film Summer of Fear (1978). In the 1980s, she gained recognition as a comedic actress in the films 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 1991, Drescher garnered her first leading role in the short-living CBS sitcom Princesses and, in 1993, 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).
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.
Early lifeDrescher was born September 30, 1957 in Flushing, Queens, New York, the daughter of Sylvia, a bridal consultant, and Morty Drescher, a naval systems analyst. Her Ashkenazi Jewish family is of South-East Central European origin (her great-grandmother was born in Focşani, Romania). She has an older sister, Nadine.
Drescher was a first runner-up for "Miss New York Teenager" in 1973, as revealed in her first autobiography "Enter Whining" released December 29, 1995, and on her interview on William Shatner's Raw Nerve, which first aired on January 27, 2009. 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. Jacobson was Drescher's constant supporter in her show-business career, and he wrote, directed and produced her signature television series, The Nanny.
Early careersHer first break was a small role as the dancer Connie in the blockbuster movie Saturday Night Fever (1977) in which she delivered the line "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 Wes Craven's Summer of Fear (1978). She also took on a rare dramatic role in the Milos Forman 1981 film, Ragtime.
During the 1980s, Drescher found moderate success as a character actress with memorable roles in films such as The Hollywood Knights, Doctor Detroit, The Big Picture, UHF, Cadillac Man, and This is Spinal Tap.
The Nanny and later film rolesDrescher 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, 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 (played by British actor 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 televisionTV 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 May 17, 2006, after two seasons.
In 2003, Drescher appeared in episodes of the short lived sitcom, Good Morning, Miami as Roberta Diaz. 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. She also appeared in an episode of the series 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." The sitcom failed to materialize however. 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 into its shelving. 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 is scheduled to premiere there June 15, 2011.
Personal life Drescher and Jacobson remained friends, and she has worked to support homosexual rights issues after her ex-husband came out. Drescher has stated that the primary reason for the divorce was her need to change directions in life.
1985 robbery and rapeLos Angeles apartment. While one ransacked their home, the other raped Drescher and a girlfriend 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 admit this 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." She saw her rapist, who was on parole at the time of the crime, returned to prison, sentenced to two life sentences.
Cancer battleAfter two years of symptoms and misdiagnosis 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. 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."
Cancer Schmancer MovementOn 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.
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.
In September 2008, Drescher, a Democrat, was appointed as a U.S. diplomat by the U.S. State Department. 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, Kosovo and Poland.
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.
MusicOn September 28, 2009, she released a single entitled "Eye For An Eye".
AwardsDrescher 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.
|1977||Saturday Night Fever||Connie|
|1978||American Hot Wax||Sheryl|
|Stranger in Our House||Carolyn Baker|
|1980||The Hollywood Knights||Sally|
|1983||Doctor Detroit||Karen Blittstein|
|1984||This is Spinal Tap||Bobbi Flekman|
|The Rosebud Beach Hotel||Linda|
|1988||Rock 'n' Roll Mom||Jody Levin|
|Love and Betrayal||Germaine|
|Cadillac Man||Joy Munchack|
|1992||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||The Beautician and the Beast||Joy Miller||Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress|
|2000||Picking Up the Pieces||Sister Frida|
|2003||Beautiful Girl||Amanda Wasserman|
|2005||Santa's Slay||Virginia Mason|
|2007||The Reef||Aunt Pearl|
|2011||Mindwash. The Jake Sessions||Madame LaRue||voice|
|1982||Fame||Rhonda||1 episode, ″Metamorphosis″|
|1983||9 to 5||Tapioca||1 episode, "The Oldest Profession"|
|1985||Silver Spoons||Annie||1 episode, "Marry Me, Marry Me: Part 2|
|227||Mrs. Baker||1 episode, "The Refrigerator"|
|1985–1986||Who's the Boss||Joyce Columbus/Carol Patrice||2 episodes, "Charmed Lives" and "The Heiress"|
|1986||Night Court||Miriam Brody||1 episode, "Author, Author"|
|Charmed Lives||Joyce Columbus||4 episodes|
|1990||ALF||Roxanne||1 episode, "Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades"|
|WIOU||Jo Finc||1 episode, "Pilot"|
|1991||Princesses||Melissa Kirshner||8 episodes|
|Dream On||Kathleen||1 episode, "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told"|
|1993–1999||The Nanny||Fran Fine/Fran Sheffield||145 episodes, also Writer, Producer and Director |
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1996,1997)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1996,1997)
American Comedy Awards for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (1996)
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1997)
TV Guide Awards for Favorite Actress in a Comedy (1999)
TV Land Awards Favorite Nanny (2008)
|2003||Good Morning, Miami||Roberta Diaz||3 episodes|
|2004||Strong Medicine||Irene Slater||1 episode, "Cinderella in Scrubs" |
Director "Like Cures Like"
|The Nanny Reunion: A Nosh to Remember||herself||Hosted by herself and her mother Sylvia Drescher, also Producer|
|2005||What I Like About You||Fran Reeves||as her Living with Fran character, Fran Reeves, 1 episode, Girls Gone Wild|
|2005–2007||Living with Fran||Fran Reeves||26 episodes, also Producer|
|2006||The Simpsons||The Female Golem||1 episode, Treehouse of Horror XVII|
|Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Elaine Dockerty||1 episode, The War At Home|
|2007||Thank God You're Here||Herself|
|2008||Live from Lincoln Center||Morgan Le Fay||1 episode, "Camelot"|
|Entourage||Mrs. Levine||1 episode, "The All Out Fall Out"|
|2010||Glenn Martin, DDS||Arlene Stein||1 episode, voice|
|The Fran Drescher Show||Host||Talk-Show, also Producer|
|2011||Happily Divorced||Fran||also Writer and Producer|
|2002-2004||The Exonerated||Theatres at 45 Bleecker/Bleecker Steet Theatre|
|2006||Some Girl(s)||Lucille Lortel Theatre|
|2009||Love, Loss, and What I Wore||Westside Theatre|