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Also Known As: Francine Drescher Died:
Born: September 30, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, producer, director, screenwriter, food manufacturer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Turning the jarring juxtaposition of her nasally New York accent and fashion model looks into an endearing signature persona, actress Fran Drescher found fame as a brassy and sassy Lucille Ball-like character on one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1990s. After making her minor, but memorable film debut in "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), Drescher was seen regularly in small parts in films like "Ragtime" (1981), "Doctor Detroit" (1983) and "This is Spinal Tap" (1984). Unsuccessful attempts at landing a television series of her own, which included "Charmed Lives" (ABC, 1986) and "Princesses" (CBS, 1991), eventually gave way to sitcom stardom as the outspoken au pair Fran Fine on the hit comedy "The Nanny" (CBS, 1993-99). The show's popularity also enabled its star to pursue lead roles in such feature films as "The Beautician and the Beast" (1997). Drescher later became an awareness advocate after being diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000, an illness from which she fully recovered following aggressive surgery. Continuing to mine personal experience for her creative endeavors, Drescher returned to television in "Happily Divorced" (TV Land, 2011- ), a sitcom inspired by her real life ex-husband coming...

Turning the jarring juxtaposition of her nasally New York accent and fashion model looks into an endearing signature persona, actress Fran Drescher found fame as a brassy and sassy Lucille Ball-like character on one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1990s. After making her minor, but memorable film debut in "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), Drescher was seen regularly in small parts in films like "Ragtime" (1981), "Doctor Detroit" (1983) and "This is Spinal Tap" (1984). Unsuccessful attempts at landing a television series of her own, which included "Charmed Lives" (ABC, 1986) and "Princesses" (CBS, 1991), eventually gave way to sitcom stardom as the outspoken au pair Fran Fine on the hit comedy "The Nanny" (CBS, 1993-99). The show's popularity also enabled its star to pursue lead roles in such feature films as "The Beautician and the Beast" (1997). Drescher later became an awareness advocate after being diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000, an illness from which she fully recovered following aggressive surgery. Continuing to mine personal experience for her creative endeavors, Drescher returned to television in "Happily Divorced" (TV Land, 2011- ), a sitcom inspired by her real life ex-husband coming out to Drescher as a gay man years earlier. A perfect example of playing to one's strengths, Drescher turned her adenoidal yet adorable personality into a veritable cottage industry as an actress, producer, writer and wellness advocate.

Born Francine Joy Drescher on Sept. 30, 1957 in Flushing, Queens, NY, "Fran" was the youngest daughter of Sylvia, a bridal shop salesperson, and Morty, a systems analyst. Always a popular girl, she was first runner up for "Miss New York Teenager" in 1973. Two years later, Drescher graduated from Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, where she had been classmates with future actor-comedian Ray Romano and Peter Marc Jacobson, an aspiring actor whom she would marry in 1978. She began her film career with a small part in the phenomenally successful disco drama "Saturday Night Fever" (1977), in which she uttered the memorable line "Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?" to John Travolta's Tony Manero. After making the move to Los Angeles with Jacobson, Drescher picked up a series of small roles in projects like the rock-n-roll docudrama "American Hot Wax" (1978) and the made-for-TV thriller "Stranger in Our House" (NBC, 1978). Struggling to find the right part, her early, uneven portfolio included turns in forgettable sex comedies like "Hollywood Knights" (1980) and "Gorp" (1980), as well as small roles in more respectable works, including director Milos Forman's "Ragtime" (1981).

After marking time with guest spots on series like "Fame" (NBC, 1982-83) and "Nine to Five" (ABC, 1982-88), Drescher returned to theaters with a seductive supporting role as one of Dan Aykroyd's prostitutes in the unfunny comedy "Doctor Detroit" (1983). One of her briefer appearances included a highly effective cameo as a no-nonsense record label PR person in Rob Reiner's seminal mockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap" (1984). By and large, Drescher subsisted on sporadic television work, appearing on such sitcoms as "Silver Spoons" (NBC, 1982-87), "Who's the Boss?" (ABC, 1984-1992) and "Night Court" (NBC, 1984-1992). "Charmed Lives" (ABC, 1986) - Drescher's first attempt at headlining her own show, alongside "Doctor Detroit" co-star Donna Dixon - proved to be anything but when it ended after a mere four episodes. Undaunted, she fared somewhat better as Robin Williams' married mistress in the comedy-drama "Cadillac Man" (1990).

Although it would be another exceptionally short-lived effort, Drescher was honing in on the daffy, yet defiant character she would soon become known for on the short-lived sitcom "Princesses" (CBS, 1991), opposite Julie Hagerty and Twiggy Lawson. After turns in minor film and TV efforts like "We're Talking Serious Money" (1992) and "Without Warning: Terror in the Towers" (NBC, 1993), Drescher had the success she had long been planning for. Created and produced with her husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, she starred as Fran Fine, a sort of Mary Poppins by way of Queens, on the family sitcom "The Nanny" (CBS, 1993-99). A classic "fish out of water" story, the show's humor was largely derived from the juxtaposition of the middle-class Jewish nanny (Drescher) wreaking havoc in the refined world of the British-born, upper-class theater producer (Charles Shaughnessy). For her work on the series - which, after a slow first season, became one of the network's most successful offerings - the actress was twice nominated for an Emmy as Best Actress in a Comedy Series.

Despite her heavy workload on "The Nanny," Drescher still found time for other projects, one of which included her reteaming with Robin Williams in Francis Ford Coppola's "Jack" (1996), a contemporary fable about a young boy (Williams) afflicted with a rapidly-advanced aging disease. In 1996, the comedic-actress published her autobiography, Enter Whining, in which she bravely revealed that she had been sexually assaulted in a 1985 home invasion robbery, during which Jacobson was beaten and forced to watch his wife's rape. Parlaying her newfound small screen clout into film opportunities, she took on her first big screen lead in "The Beautician and the Beast" (1997). Executive produced by the actress and her husband, the romantic-comedy was practically a spin-off of her TV series. In the film, Drescher played a cosmetician from Queens who, via a series of mix-ups and misunderstandings, finds herself in the role of tutor for the children of a blustering Eastern European dictator (Timothy Dalton). Critics and audiences greeted the project with only modest interest.

After separating years earlier, Drescher and her husband of more than 20 years divorced in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Jacobson came out to his ex-wife and admitted that he was gay. Committed to their enduring friendship and mutual support, the pair remained close in both their personal and professional lives in the years that followed. Enduring a particularly chaotic period of her life, Drescher was later admitted to Los Angeles's Cedars Sinai Hospital in June 2000 after doctors diagnosed her with uterine cancer, a condition that had gone untreated and misdiagnosed for the previous two years. Fortunately, an emergency radical hysterectomy treated the disease effectively and no post-operative treatment was deemed necessary. Now a cancer survivor, Drescher wrote about her experience with battling the disease in the memoir Cancer, Schmancer, which was followed by her founding of the non-profit cancer awareness organization, the Cancer Schmancer Movement.

Reinvigorated, Drescher tried to hit sitcom pay dirt once more with "Living with Fran" (The WB, 2005-06), the story of a divorced mother of two (Drescher) struggling to manage her relationship with a much younger man (Ryan McPartlin). In this case, lightning would not strike twice, when the series was canceled at the end of its second season. Following a relatively quiet period, marked briefly by a three-week test run for a daytime talk show, "The Fran Drescher Show" (syndicated, 2010), she returned with another sitcom project. "Happily Divorced" (TV Land, 2011- ) - co-created by Drescher and her ex-husband, Jacobson - found her once again mining laughter from personal experience, playing a woman who becomes the last person to realize that her husband of 18 years (John Michael Higgins) is gay. Despite middling early reviews, the show performed well for the cable channel in its first season, giving Drescher hope for "Nanny"-like longevity.

By Bryce Coleman

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Reef 2, The (2012)
3.
 Reef, The (2007)
4.
 Picking Up the Pieces (2000) Sister Frida
5.
 Beautician and the Beast, The (1997) Joy Miller
6.
 Jack (1996) Dolores Durante
7.
 No-Tell Hotel, The (1994) Linda
8.
 Car 54, Where Are You? (1994) Velma Velour
9.
 Without Warning: Terror in the Towers (1993) Rosemarie Russo
10.
 We're Talkin' Serious Money (1991) Valerie
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Voted Miss New York Teenager
1977:
Landed a bit part in "Saturday Night Fever"; delivered memorable line, "Are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?" in her feature film debut
1978:
Earliest TV work included a role in the TV-movie "Stranger in Our House" (NBC)
1978:
First gained recognition in the feature "American Hot Wax"
1984:
Made a memorable cameo in Rob Reiner's spoof "This Is Spinal Tap"
1988:
Started company Loaf & Kisses Gourmet Croutons
1990:
Made her first screen appearance opposite Robin Williams in "Cadillac Man"
1991:
Appeared in stage play "The Rug Merchants of Chaos" (Pasadena)
1991:
Co-starred as Melissa Kirschner on the short-lived CBS sitcom "Princesses"
1993:
Landed breakout television role as Fran Fine on the CBS sitcom "The Nanny"; also created show idea and made producing debut
1996:
Co-starred opposite Robin Williams in Francis Ford Coppola's "Jack"
1996:
Signed two-picture deal with Caravan and TriStar
1997:
Starred in the film "The Beautician and the Beast"
1998:
Made directorial debut with an episode of her sitcom "The Nanny"
1998:
Executive produced, wrote and directed the MTV pilot "Daytrippers"
1999:
Announced in January that she was ending production on the CBS sitcom "The Nanny"
1999:
Signed to make Broadway acting debut in "Sweet Deliverance"; production put on hold
2003:
Starred in the ABC movie "Beautiful Girl"
2005:
Cast as a divorcée on The WB comedy "Living with Fran"
2006:
Joined the cast of Neil LaBute's off-Broadway play "Some Girl(s)" co-starring Eric McCormack
2008:
Guest starred on HBO's "Entourage"
2010:
Hosted the daytime talk program "The Fran Drescher Show"
2011:
Created, executive produced and starred in "Happily Divorced" (TV Land) about a divorced couple (Drescher and John Michael Higgins) who still live together even though he's gay; premise based on Drescher's real-life marriage to ex-husband and co-creator Peter Marc Jacobson
2012:
Voiced Frankenstein's wife in animated feature "Hotel Transylvania"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Parsons Junior High School: Flushing , New York -
P S 165: Flushing , New York -
Hillcrest High School: Jamaica , New York - 1975

Notes

"I'm not Meryl Streep. I'm a pretty girl with a funny voice. It's an odd combination, but that's the package." --Fran Drescher to USA Today, November 2, 1993.

"With characters I've done in the past, I've almost always rewritten my dialogue so that it isn't abrasive. Very often I'm doing roles that were written by a man who tends to write a mean-spirited character because he's working something through with his 'muhthuh'...If all my characters end up being from one region of the globe, I'm not 'bittuh' about it. That's fine, because just within New York there is probably unfolding every human conflict you can imagine." --Drescher quoted in Entertainment Weekly, November 5, 1993.

"A beautiful babe with a voice like this is rare. I'm funny even when I'm not telling a joke." --Drescher, quoted in Us, November 1995.

in addition to being partners in the production company High School Sweethearts, Drescher and Jacobson launched Loaf and Kisses Gourmet Croutons in 1988.

In 1996, a talking "Nanny" doll went on sale.

Drescher's Pomeranian, Chester, has appeared with her in "The Nanny" and "Cadillac Man."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Peter Marc Jacobson. Actor, food manufacturer. Married on November 4, 1978; high school sweethearts and partners in production company High School Sweethearts; co-produced "The Nanny" with Drescher; separated in October 1996; reportedly reconciled by December 1997; separated again; filed for divorce in October 1999.
companion:
Gary Oseary. Record executive. Dated in 1999.
companion:
Michael Angelo. Born c. 1974; together from summer 1999.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Morton Drescher. Civilian executive systems analyst. With wife, has appeared as a contributor on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show".
mother:
Sylvia Drescher. Saleswoman. Was the inspiration for the title character's mother on "The Nanny"; with husband, has appeared as a contributor on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show".

Bibliography close complete biography

"Enter Whining" HarperCollins
"Cancer Schmancer" Warner Books

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