My first memories of Fran Drescher are of Connie in “Saturday Night Fever” and as Joy in “Cadillac Man,” but it was in 1993 when she busted into mainstream America with her breakout role as Fran Fine in the Nanny. The Nanny was loved by millions and earned Fran many accolades, nominations and much respect from her peers. Who can forget all the …
From ‘The Nanny’ to ‘Happily Divorced’
My first memories of Fran Drescher are of Connie in “Saturday Night Fever” and as Joy in “Cadillac Man,” but it was in 1993 when she busted into mainstream America with her breakout role as Fran Fine in the Nanny. The Nanny was loved by millions and earned Fran many accolades, nominations and much respect from her peers. Who can forget all the hijinks from Fran, Mr. Schefield, Niles, CC and the rest of the cast. The Nanny is now being aired on Nick at Nite and TV Land which is a testament to how popular the show was and is. Fran is in the middle of filming her first season of her new series “Happily Divorced” on TV land and we here at Hotspots Magazine were thrilled to be able to sit down for an exclusive interview.
HOTSPOTS MAGAZINE: At what age did you realize you wanted to be in show business? What was your first acting job?
FRAN DRESCHER: I think when I was in junior high when I decided I wanted to be an actress although I did enjoy writing and hairdressing as well. Acting didn’t feel like work, so I thought if there is something you can do that you enjoy that doesn’t feel like work then you should do. In my senior year I laid some of the groundwork to be a professional actress, but I went to hairdressing school to have something to fall back on. My first job was a McDonald’s commercial.
“The Nanny” is where mainstream America fell in love with you. I know it’s hard to sum up in a few sentences, but can you try and describe “The Nanny” experience?
I am so proud of “The Nanny.” I absolutely adore the show and the characters. A couple weeks ago I was able to get away for two days and went to a hotel. While there I watched two episodes of “The Nanny” followed by an episode of “Happily Divorced” and couldn’t stop laughing. I knew we caught lightning in a bottle the night we shot “The Nanny” the pilot. “The Nanny” has given me the opportunity to leverage a lot of the things I am passionate about and I am very grateful that it continues to be a worldwide success and part of classic television.
Are there any outfits that you still have from “The Nanny?”
I saved a few of the outfits and there are certain things I still wear. Fortunately, since the Nanny, my feet haven’t grown as much as my ass so I can wear a lot of the outfits.
What do you think is the key to being happily divorced?
Good psychotherapy is very important because it enables you to digest and process what you are really feeling. I also had a very wise manager who said, ‘Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water’ and suggested that maybe the two of us can be something else other than a married couple. At first we were having a hard time communicating, but when my ex found out that I had cancer all of the anger went away and all he had for me was love. I feel like it takes as much effort to be happily divorced as it does to be happily married.
How does it feel to have such a personal aspect if your life on television in “Happily Divorced?”
I always write about what I know. I learned that from Neil Simon and Larry David. I felt that for me to go back to television it’s had to be with something that means a lot to me. “Happily Divorced” is a fresh concept for TV and there are a lot of emotions that go with that. My ex and I were in our early 40s when we integrated into the single and gay communities. I think the characters have taken on a life of their own, but the emotion is personal to us. This show gives me a platform to speak to all the issues.
You were very vocal about your cancer. How did it affect your life?
Life is a journey and usually the more painful things are, there are opportunities to grow as a human being. How we use it is what makes all the difference. My life has become richer, deeper and more purposeful since I beat cancer. I am also a rape survivor. I was raped at gun point. Bad things happen to good people, but turning lemons into lemonade is part of the journey. You never know what silver linings are going to come out of a very low ebb in your life. Play the hand that is dealt you and play it as courageously as you can!
Do you think California will ever get on bandwagon with Gay Marriage as New York did?
I think we are on the cusp of that as I have personally worked very hard to overturn Prop 8. It’s in our state congress and I feel very confident that it’s almost a done deal.
What’s ahead for Fran Drescher?
I am in the middle of shooting the first season of “Happily Divorced” and I am excited about some of our upcoming guests who include Lou Diamond Phillips, Renee Taylor and Charles Shaughnessy. I have also just written a children’s book “Being Wendy” which is being released by Penguin Books in November. It’s about a girl named Wendy growing up in Boxsville where no one encourages her to be diverse in her talents and her potential. By the end, they leave Boxsville for Freedom Land. As always, I am heavily involved with my organization: Cancerschmancer.org
Catch Fran Drescher every Wednesday at 10:30pm in “Happily Divorced” on TV Land.