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Known mostly for her outrageous leading role on the 1990s sitcom The Nanny, Fran Drescher also has appeared in numerous films and is a published author.
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When "Princesses" was put on hiatus, a dejected Drescher headed to Europe. Coincidentally, her first-class seatmate was CBS executive Jeff Sagansky. The two talked for the duration of the flight, and Drescher managed to secure a development meeting with the exec upon her return to Los Angeles.
While in Europe, Drescher visited legendary model and "Princesses" co-star, Twiggy Lawson. Interacting with Lawson's children sparked an idea for a new TV show: Drescher would star as Fran Fine, the big-hearted, big-mouthed, big-haired nanny to three upper-class children of a widowed aristocrat (played by British actor Charles Shaughnessy). When she returned to L.A., Drescher and Jacobson refined the concept and pitched the show to CBS. The role was tailor-made for Drescher, and "The Nanny" officially hit the airwaves in 1993.
The sitcom drew from much of Drescher's personal life. The actress kept the same names for her "on-air" parents (Mort and Silvia), as well as her character's Queens upbringing. For her portrayal of a jubilant standout in a buttoned-up world, she heightened her already outrageous accent and splashy sense of fashion. By 1994, the accessible, family-friendly series had become a top-ten hit, and garnered positive critical attention. Over the next few years, it was nominated for multiple Golden Globes and took home an Emmy.
In 1996, Drescher released her first book, Enter Whining, and teamed up with Robin Williams once again for a role in the big picture release, Jack. With the success of her sitcom well underway, Drescher and Jacobson established their own production company, High School Sweethearts. Although the couple separated in October of that year, the business stayed in tact. The following year, their production house released the Drescher vehicle The Beautician and the Beast (co-starring Timothy Dalton).
After six seasons, production on "The Nanny" ended in 1999; the same year Drescher and Jacobson filed for divorce. Drescher began work on other projects, but hit a bump in the road when she was diagnosed with Stage 1 uterine cancer. After undergoing a radical hysterectomy, she wrote about her experiences with misdiagnosis, surgery and survival in her 2002 book, Cancer Schmancer.
Drescher returned to the small screen in 2005 for the eponymous sitcom, Living with Fran. Once again, she used her personal experiences--in this case, dating a significantly younger man--as fodder for her on-air exploits, but the WB series didn't last long. Since then, she has become an outspoken cancer activist. She launched her own Cancer Schmancer Movement in 2007, and her international philanthropic efforts earned her the title of U.S. Special Diplomacy Envoy.
In 2011, Drescher used her own life as a spring board for her next sitcom Happily Divorced.
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