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Francine Joy "Fran" Drescher (born September 30, 1957) is an Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-nominated Americanmarker film and television actress, comedian, screenwriter, television director, producer, author, activist and political lobbyist best known for playing Fran Fine on the television series The Nanny.

Early life

Drescher was born in Kew Gardens Hills, New Yorkmarker, the daughter of Sylvia, a bridal consultant, and Mort Drescher, a naval systems analyst. Her Ashkenazi Jewish family is of Eastern European origin (her great-grandmother was born in Focşanimarker, Romaniamarker). She has an elder sister, Nadine.

Drescher was a first runner-up for "Miss New York Teenager" in 1973, as revealed in her interview on William Shatner's Raw Nerve, which first aired on January 27, 2009. She attended Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queensmarker, where she met her future husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, whom she married in 1978, at age 21. Jacobson was Drescher's constant supporter in her show-business career, and he wrote, directed, and produced her signature television series, The Nanny.

Drescher's voice is a combination of a high nasal pitch and what is viewed as a stereotypical "New Yawk" (a.k.a. "New York City") accent. In her autobiography, Drescher discussed the fact that this is basically her real voice — even though it is played up a little on-camera — and discusses the many voice lessons she had to take to overcome it for movie auditions, only to have it, and her machine-gun titter, end up being her trademark. Her first book is appropriately and humorously titled Enter Whining.


Early career and film roles

Her first break was a small role in the blockbuster movie Saturday Night Fever (1977) in which she delivered the memorable line to John Travolta, "Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?" 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 roles

In the 1990s she and Jacobson finally created her own television show, The Nanny in 1993. The show aired on CBS from 1993 to 1999, becoming an instant success, 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 Sheffield; with her wit and her charm, she endeared herself to their widower father Maxwell Sheffield, a stuffy, composed, proper British gentleman and a Broadway producer (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 television

In recent years, Drescher has made a return to television both with leading and guest roles. In 2005, she returned to TV 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, when The WB merged with UPN to become the CW, which targeted a younger demographic.

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. In the same year, she also 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.

Personal life

In January 1985, two armed robbers broke into Drescher's and Jacobson's Los Angelesmarker apartment. While one ransacked their home, the other raped Fran and a girl friend at gunpoint. Jacobson was also physically attacked, tied up, and forced to witness the entire ordeal. It took Fran 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.

After separating in 1996, Drescher and Jacobson divorced in 1999. Their union was childless. She later dated a man sixteen years her junior.

Cancer battle

After two years of symptoms and misdiagnosis by eight doctors, Drescher was admitted to Los Angelesmarker'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. Since then, 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 alike, to become more aware of what early warning signs of cancer is and to empower themselves:I was going to learn what I needed to learn, ask questions, become partner with my doctor instead of having some kind of parent/child relationship.

Cancer Schmancer Movement

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 ninth year of wellness on June 21, 2009.

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

Her efforts as an outspoken healthcare advocate in Washington DC helped get unanimous passage for (also known as Johanna's Law) and she is acknowledged in the Congressional Record. This focus on gynecologic cancer awareness is the first language of its kind in US history, helping to build the foundation for a more female-friendly and healthier tomorrow.


Life Ball 2009; Bill Clinton, Fran Drescher and Elke Winkens
In September 2008, Drescher was appointed as a U.S. diplomat by the U.S.marker State Departmentmarker. Her official title is Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women's Health Issues. By 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 Romaniamarker, Hungarymarker, Kosovomarker and Polandmarker .

In 2008, Drescher supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. She attended a Super Democrat rally for Clinton. Drescher claimed to have been considering a run for Congress in 2010 to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, but Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed by New York Statemarker's Governor David Paterson to succeed Clinton after Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State.


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.



  2. Firestone, David. "For Queens, a Place in the Sun; Hollywood Is Suddenly Zooming In, With a Vengeance", The New York Times, September 18, 1994. Accessed January 27, 2008. "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."
  3. Meisler, Andy. "TELEVISION; Mary Poppins She's Not", The New York Times, December 18, 1994. Accessed November 20, 2007. "After she graduated from Hillcrest High School in Queens, where she met Jacobson, the two of them moved to Los Angeles and were married."
  4. - episode page
  5. Cancer Schmancer Movement Website

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