Meet 'The Nanny' Cast 20 Years after the TV Series Ended
Two decades have passed since this hilarious sitcom arrived at its sixth and final season. 'The Nanny' made a lasting impact in America’s TV landscape, thanks to a fantastic cast and it's signature brand of silly humor. Some of the actors went on to have amazing careers, and others quit the business altogether. We fell in love with all of them, and want to see how they are doing today! Read on for all the juicy details on why the show was canceled because of a mistake by the directors! We also cover talks about a reboot and how the main star may or may not be on board.
THE ICONIC FRAN DRESCHER
The 62-year-old actress played the title role of nanny Fran Fine for the series she also created. Her portrayal earned the seasoned comedian two Emmy Award nominations and two Golden Globe nominations. Beyond 'The Nanny,' Drescher has starred in two other sitcoms: first in 'Living with Fran,' from 2005 to 2007.
She also later starred in 'Happily Divorced' from 2011 to 2013. Drescher lent her voice to the character Eunice in the 'Hotel Transylvania' animated franchise, a movie series which she has been starring in for a while. Most recently, she debuted on Broadway playing the evil stepmother in 'Cinderella.'
Before Fran was "Fran," she was a young girl competing in beauty pageants in Queens, New York. As a student at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, she met her future husband, Peter Marc Jacobson. One of her fellow Hillcrest classmates was comedian Ray Romano! Interestingly, the two did not meet until their 20th high school reunion!
Drescher graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1975, and she and Jacobson married in 1978 when she was 21-years-old. Both Drescher and Jacobson attended Queens College, but dropped out in their first year because "all the acting classes were filled." Then, they both enrolled in cosmetology school.
Drescher made her big-screen debut in a small role for the 1977 blockbuster film 'Saturday Night Fever' and later appeared in 'American Hot Wax' and Wes Craven's horror tale 'Stranger in Our House.' In the 1980s, she gained recognition as a comedic actress in the films 'Gorp,' 'The Hollywood Knights,'
As well as 'Doctor Detroit,' 'This Is Spinal Tap,' and 'UHF' all while establishing a television career with guest appearances on several series. In 1993, she achieved wider fame, appearing in millions of homes around the world as Fran Fine. This would be the role that solidified her as a household name in America.
Drescher and Jacobson divorced in 1999; however, Jacobson was Drescher's constant supporter in her career. He also wrote, directed, and produced her signature television series. Drescher and Jacobson remain business partners and friends. She has said:
"We choose to be in each others' lives in any capacity. Our love is unique, rare, and unconditional; unless he's being annoying."
On June 21, 2000, after two years of symptoms and misdiagnoses by eight different doctors, Drescher was admitted to Los Angeles's Cedars Sinai Hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with uterine cancer. She underwent an immediate radical hysterectomy to treat the disease. She wrote about her experiences in her second book, 'Cancer Schmancer.'
She wrote the book to raise consciousness for men and women "to become more aware of the early warning signs of cancer, and to empower themselves."
"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," Drescher said.
AWARDS SEASON FOR AN AWARD-WINNING WOMAN
In 2006, she received the ‘City of Hope Spirit of Life Award’ from Hillary Clinton. On April 10, 2010, she was the guest of honor at the ‘Dancer against Cancer’ charity ball held at the ‘Imperial Palace’ in Vienna, Austria. At the ball, she also received her first ‘My Aid Award’ for her support of cancer prevention and rehabilitation.
Drescher has also received the ‘John Wayne Institute’s Woman of Achievement Award,’ the ‘City of Hope Woman of the Year Award,’ the ‘Gilda Award,’ the ‘Hebrew University Humanitarian Award,’ and the ‘Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Spirit of Achievement Award.’ These awards are proof of her contributions.
CHARLES SHAUGHNESSY, THE NANNY'S LOVE INTEREST
The 64-year-old British-born actor played widowed Broadway theatrical producer, Maxwell Sheffield, who starts as Fran’s boss and eventually becomes her husband. After 'The Nanny,' Shaughnessy devoted himself mostly to voice acting, lending his voice to numerous characters in animated series like 'Stanley.'
In addition to this, his voice was also featured in 'The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.' In 2005, he shared the screen with Drescher once again as a recurring character in 'Living with Fran.' Born in London, Shaughnessy studied law at the University of Cambridge before pursuing a career in entertainment.
He made his television debut in May 1983 on BBC 1’s drama series, 'Jury,' as Julian Spears. In October of that year, he portrayed John Rennie on ‘The Affair of the Pink Pearl’ episode of ‘Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime.’ When Shaughnessy was 28-years-old, he moved to Los Angeles. One year later, he got his breakthrough.
This was in his role as Shane Donovan on NBC’s daytime soap opera 'Days of Our Lives.' He appeared in the show for eight seasons and appeared on several other TV shows before moving on to 'The Nanny.' The most notable among them was 'Till We Meet Again,' 'Mad About You,' 'Murphy Brown' and 'Duckman.'
The 41-year-old actress played preppy Maggie, Mr. Sheffield's eldest child, appearing in all 146 episodes. She also became famous for her role as Ryce Newton in 'Beethoven' and 'Beethoven’s 2nd.' Tom also appeared as Scott Scanlon’s sister, Sue, on 'Beverly Hills, 90210.' Following 'The Nanny,' Tom voiced the character Supergirl/Kara Kent.
From the DC universe in different titles, including 'Superman,' until 2000, and 'Justice League Unlimited,' from 2004 to 2006. She also starred in 'The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman' from 2006 to 2007, and guest-starred on 'Gotham,' and 'The Mentalist.' Most recently, she starred in the 2019 short 'The Scrap County Murders.'
Did you know Tom is a twin? Her twin brother David is well-known for portraying Billy Abbott on 'The Young and the Restless.' She also has an older sister, Heather, who is famous for her role as Katie Logan on 'The Bold and The Beautiful.' Tom has earned nominations for many awards, including Leading Young Actress in 1993.
The 73-year-old actor played Mr. Sheffield’s loyal butler named Niles, appearing in all 146 episodes of the series. The character remained the seasoned actor’s best-known role. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Davis starred in a children's series on local television and performed as a comedian, singer, and dancer.
He later graduated from the Arkansas Arts Center with a degree in Fine Arts. After graduation, Davis worked as a stage actor, starring on both Broadway and at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford. After 'The Nanny', Davis played Judge Barton Wolfe in 2000 for three episodes of 'The Practice.'
ANN MORGAN GUILBERT
The late actress played Fran’s grandmother, recognizable by her big gray hairdo and her constant smoking. One of the most hilarious characters of the series, she appeared in a total of 56 episodes. Guilbert is very well-known for her portrayal of Millie Helper, the nosy neighbor, on the classic TV sitcom 'The Dick Van Dyke Show.'
As an accomplished Broadway actress, she had outstanding performances in 'The Billy Barnes Revue' and 'A Naked Girl on the Appian Way.' Although she only appeared in a handful of movies, she made lasting impressions with her performances in 'The Man from the Diners' Club' and 'One Man’s Way.'
She won the ‘Robert Altman Award’ for her performance in the dark comedy film 'Please Give.' After the series wrapped up, Morgan continued working on TV, landing recurring roles in 'Getting On' from 2013 to 2015 and in 'Life in Pieces' in 2016. The actress passed away in June 2016 at the age of 87, after battling cancer.
The 86-year-old actress played Fran’s obnoxious mother Sylvia Fine for a total of 94 episodes of the series. Following her work on 'The Nanny,' Taylor went on to appear in numerous series', sharing the screen with Drescher once again in 'Happily Divorced,' and playing Mrs. Matsen in 'How I Met Your Mother.'
She also has worked as a voice artist, voicing Mrs. Start in the movie 'Ice Age 2: The Meltdown,' and Principal Gottlieb in the animated TV series Allen Gregory. Since 2018, she has starred in the autobiographical play 'My Life on a Diet.' Taylor’s 1986 memoir serves as the base for the play, which is a wry, self-deprecating survey of her life.
It was framed by her never-ending struggle with weight, poor body image, and fad dieting - she’s worn sizes 4 to 18. Taylor and her husband, the late Joseph Bologna, co-wrote the play. Bologna guided the show through his artistic genius before his death in 2017. He remains its credited director.
Chagall is best known for her role as Fran's dimwitted sidekick, Val. She appeared in 79 of 'The Nanny' episodes, and went on to make guest appearances on 'Just Shoot Me!,' 'Strong Medicine,' and played a mysterious woman in 'What I Like About You.' On December 6, 2004, Chagall appeared at the cast reunion for 'The Nanny,' 'The Nanny Reunion: A Nosh to Remember.'
Salisbury is best known for playing the role of Brighton Sheffield, the second oldest child, and son of Maxwell Sheffield. Known for being an accomplished dancer, Salisbury often treated the show's studio audiences to improvisational routines when the cameras were not rolling. After 'The Nanny,' he appeared in the reunion.
In 2005, he had a minor role as a locomotive train expert on the episode "Sabotage" of the series 'Numb3rs.' In August 2006, Salisbury appeared in Domino's Pizza commercials. As of February 2017, Salisbury is working at Universal Studios Hollywood as the Director of Operations for the park.
Lane continues to be best known for her role as C. C. Babcock, Maxwell's business associate, and the antagonist of the series. She appeared in 144 episodes. In August 1997, coinciding with her time on 'The Nanny,' she also appeared on 'The Daily Show.' Since 2000, Lane has performed at Zachary Scott Theatre in Austin, Texas.
In 2010 was a guest on 'The Fran Drescher Show.' Lane is currently on the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. These days she uses her skills and experience to help other actors in their journeys to become successful in the industry.
The 34-year-old actress played Grace, Mr. Sheffield’s youngest and smartest child for the entire run of the series. Zima remained a familiar face frequently appearing in other series. She was a series regular in 'Heroes' from 2009 to 2010, 'Californication' from 2007 to 2011, and 'Betas' from 2013 to 2014.
In 2017, she worked for acclaimed director David Lynch for two episodes of the returning season of the iconic TV series 'Twin Peaks,' playing Tracey. Most recently, she starred in the mournful thriller 'Painkillers.' In that role, she portrays a wife and mother who has tragically lost her son. A role she played well.
On the role, she said:
"I think it’s something that is very relatable on a metaphorical level of something we can all relate to. The difficulty of continuing to exist, to being a human being, the unbearable weight of blaming yourself for things that go wrong in your life. I know I’ve experienced that, I’ve beat myself up mentally for things that were beyond my control; we all do that. I thought that was something that was really smart, a true analogy, and a way to sort of explore these emotions."
Zima's time on 'The Nanny' occurred at a very early and critical stage in her life when she was still developing - from the ages of six to thirteen. She recently recalled the experience as life-changing, in which she got, "a first-hand masterclass in sitcom comedy and professionalism."
Last year, she wrote and directed her first film, 'Warm Human Magic', which starred one of her sisters, Yvonne Zima. This proves that her exposure to the industry at a young age helped shape her career. It impacted the way she saw the industry and the choices she would make in her future regarding acting.
HOW ROMANCE CANCELLED THE SHOW
Fran Drescher says her on-screen romance with co-star Charles Shaughnessy killed The Nanny. While this statement might not make sense at first, she explains why. The Nanny may have been canceled nearly two decades ago, but it’s never too late to set the record straight about why the hit CBS show was axed.
Speaking to Studio 10 Fran Drescher lifted the curtain to reveal why The Nanny was canceled back in 1999, according to the Daily Mail. As it turns out, the on-screen romance between Fran Drescher and Shaughnessy killed The Nanny’s idea. It set up the show to go one way a took away any surprise elements.
The show used to draw large audiences, but after Fran Fine and Maxwell Sheffield became a couple it marked the beginning of the “demise of the show.” The Nanny was canceled soon after Fran and Maxwell put that unreleased tension and chemistry behind them and became an item.
Even though it led to the show’s demise, at least other TV series can now learn a priceless lesson. And that lesson is, Fran Drescher says, to never change the dynamic of the show if that original dynamic is what served to attract millions of viewers in the first place. The directors must stay true to the script.
She said that as soon as the pair got together, the viewers lost interest. The directors wanted to please the fans and chose to stray from the main storyline. Fran apparently warned them multiple time but they didn't listen. Shortly after the series gave the fans what they wanted, the show was canceled.
We wonder if Fran stood behind them and said "I told you so" because she certainly could. Now years later, she is keen to be involved in remaking the series. But will the directors follow some of her suggestions on how to keep the genuine tale alive or will it be completely rebranded, losing "The Nanny" in essence?
CAN FANS EXPECT A "THE NANNY" REBOOT?
Given how many '90s reboots the entertainment industry has been churning out over the past few years, fans have been chomping at the bit for news about the potential of a Nanny reboot — potential that is very quickly becoming a reality. Drescher addressed a potential reboot and rumors about cast members and castings.
She said it would be a prequel to 'The Nanny' we all know and love. While Drescher didn’t mention any storylines, she said she could come back as Sylvia, the mother.
“We would have to write it for somebody else, which I would be excited to do actually,” she said. “I could play Sylvia, the mom. And John Leguizamo could play [Fran’s dad], Morty. So, you know, we’ll see. There’s a lot of opportunities to do something fantastic with it and bring it right into the 21st century.”
Thanks to fans who demanded that Cardi B star in the new version, Drescher met with the singer's team last month to talk about the benefits of the show. Although Cardi B is yet to confirm if she's interested or not, Drescher said she is working hard to secure the fellow NewYorker for the role.
After Cardi's success in the film, Hustlers, the public has fallen in love with her acting. The rapper turned actress has a seemingly long acting career ahead of her and Drescher wants to be the next to work with her. In an interview, she detailed her ideas to have Cardi on the reboot of the show.
“That was just kind of laying out groundwork,” Drescher said. “I do think she’s great, and she would be kind of like my top choice if she’s disciplined to do this show every week.
It can be a grind, but she’s got a baby now, and it could be a very comfortable, lovely way to, you know, work, be seen worldwide, and still do mini-concert tours when you’re on hiatus.”
The multi-talented performer is currently hosting a Netflix rap competition, 'Rhythm + Flow.' The show's panelists, Cardi, T.I., and Chance, work together in Los Angeles. Together they then canvass their respective hometowns of New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago with guest judges. Cardi has become a TV hit.
She is the show’s most reliable and entertaining persona with her flamboyant outfits and voices. She’s also proven to be 'Rhythm + Flow’s' voice of reason, as she tells contestant after contestant to focus on their marketability. One thing is certain, she is both gifted on-screen and behind a microphone.
We think Cardi is perfect to play the role, and she just might too! In October of last year, she compared her style to Drescher’s style on Instagram. At last year’s Milan Fashion Week, she captioned the photo “Fran Drescher in @dolceandgabbana,” possibly teasing fans that she might be considering the role.
This hints at Cardi's possible desire to join Drescher's reboot of 'The Nanny.' Fans of both Cardi and the show were undoubtedly excited by this Instagram tease as Cardi certainly seems to admire the character of Fran. Drescher further commented on Cardi B and what her reprisal of the role would be like.
She said this regarding their similarities:
“I actually think she’s funny. I think she’s beautiful and she has a funny voice. She’s from New York. She’s got the style of a star, and you can’t buy that. There are just some people like JLo and Cher and Diana Ross. It’s just a given,” Drescher said of Cardi B.
“She and I on social media, on Instagram and stuff, she’s often putting us together. My picture, her picture. She’s very influenced by the style of myself and The Nanny from back in the day, and it’s very flattering to me.”
Drescher's recent movie, 'Safe Spaces,' screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. She is set to star in 'Uninsured,' a new sitcom in development for NBC. Despite this news, the majority of Drescher's fans are most intrigued by what she is planning for the reboot of the show they came to know and love.
WHAT DRESCHER THINKS ABOUT A REBOOT
In the so-nostalgic year of 2017, with so many networks focused on reviving popular 90s TV shows, The Nanny could still re-emerge on the small screens. Besides, Fran Drescher doesn’t rule out the possibility of reprising her iconic role of Fran Fine. But Fran Drescher was quick to add something else.
She's clear that she’s not going to jump on just any The Nanny reboot script. Instead, she’s going to be picky. Fran Drescher stressed that she won’t star in a Nanny reboot just to pocket huge paychecks. The actress says the reboot would need to have a script that provides adequate justice to her character’s story 20 years on.
AN ALTERNATE ENDING
When The Nanny wrapped up in 1999, everything seemed to have ended like a fairytale. Maxwell Sheffield and Fran Fine were married with two kids of their own and heading off to California to start a new life. To top it all off the family’s delightfully witty butler Niles had just gotten hitched to his longtime rival C.C. Babcock.
After watching the chemistry between both couples throughout the series, it was the ending fans all thought they wanted — but as co-creator and star Fran Drescher, 60, has since admitted, it actually ended up killing the show. In fact, given her way, Drescher would have starred in a very different series finale.
She explained to news.com.au,
“I would have written a great season finale, but not changed the dynamic of the relationship [between Fran and Maxwell], so the show would have ended with her being the nanny of the kids, and him being her boss but the two of them sharing a certain attraction that never got realized.”
But unfortunately, it wasn’t her call. “Honestly, I would have preferred not to wrap the show up the way it was at all,” Drescher said. “That was dictated to us by the network — to get [Fran and Maxwell] married and hope they could get one last season out of it and increase ratings. It really wasn’t our choice.”
Despite recent talk of a Nanny reboot, Drescher is very wary about how it could even work. “It’s hard to reboot the show because it’s not ‘The Nanny’ anymore. They got married, they had kids… so it would kind of have to be the same characters, you know, 20 years later.” It’s a sentiment echoed firmly by her former co-star Daniel Davis.
Davis played Niles and sai his character’s love story never made sense to him. “That’s the only part that I never really bought." “C.C. and I had been so oil and water — I didn’t buy that we would end up married. But I had to play it because that’s what they wrote… I don’t think I’ve ever expressed that to anyone before!”
WHAT WE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE SHOW
The Nanny' was a show with an interesting background and behind the scenes reality. During the duration of the show, and afterward, Fran was a fashion icon. The extent of this was impressive; so much so, that the Barbie doll brand made use of her style. An array of Barbie, inspired by Fran's style, were soon created and sold.
There was intense talk about Mr. Sheffield's accent. Many English viewers felt that it was insincere and suggested that he stop his "bad accent" and copy the accent Niles was using instead. The humor of this story lies in the irony of Mr. Sheffield's, played by Charles Shaughnessy, hometown. Sheffield was, in fact, born in London and was more English than Niles, an American, who was born in Arkansas.
Another unique back story from 'The Nanny' is that the writer and producer of the series were married. While the show was being filmed, Fran and Peter Marc Jacobson, were in a loving relationship. However, the marriage did not last. Despite this, they still used the names they planned for their own children as names for children in the series.
In a similar trend, the names Sylvia, Morty, and Nadine also have an interesting story. The names happen to be the names of Fran's family members in both the series and in real life. The writer, Fran, arguably liked the authentic feel that came with using names she could genuinely identify with.
Renée Taylor apparently gained more or less 50 pounds during the filming of the show. It became a serious health concern for her and she eventually consulted her doctor about the issue. Her doctor then sent a letter to 'The Nanny's' production members asking them to give her low-fat foods to avoid future health problems.
Both C.C and Val became pregnant in season 5. This was a big challenge for production, but they managed to keep audiences mostly unaware. When C.C's baby was born, they decided to release her from the show. They incorporated a storyline into the show which claimed she was now in a "mental hospital."
It is clear that many fans of the show were unaware about much was taking place in the real lives of the cast members. The show was also, in some ways, closely linked to the writer's real world. Do you think the entire cast of 'The Nanny' should come back for the show's reboot, or would you like to see more new characters like Cardi B? Leave your answer in the comment section!