Fran Drescher, aka The Nanny, opens up to i24NEWS about playing a TV Jew

Drescher opens up about her role in the megahit 1990s series, The Nanny.

August 13, 2019 02:57
2 minute read.
Fran Drescher, aka The Nanny, opens up to i24NEWS about playing a TV Jew

Actress Fran Drescher arrives as a guest at the premiere of "Star Trek Into Darkness" in Hollywood. (photo credit: FRED PROUSER/REUTERS)

“I was the first Jewish actress to play a Jewish character in a starring role in prime time since Molly Goldberg in 1948,” Fran Drescher, the lovably nasal actress from Flushing, Queens who won hearts around the world with her starring role in the megahit 1990s series, The Nanny, told Emily Frances on the program, TRENDING, on i24NEWS. “Procter and Gamble wanted to buy it outright, but only if The Nanny would be written Italian and not Jewish.”

“We stopped taping it 20 years ago, but it’s never been off the air anywhere in the world for 25 years,” she said. “And now all the millennials are very excited about it, they love the show.”

The series has also been remade in many countries.

For the show to succeed, she said, “We had to write what we knew. So I said, you know, that Fran Fine must be Jewish. We had a [brit milah] on the show, we went to Israel on the show, I had to get my tattoo removed if I wanted to get buried in a Jewish cemetery.”

Asked by Frances about Jewish influences in her childhood, Drescher responded, “[When] we had a bar mitzvah or a wedding, it was always buying Israeli bonds, that was the gift growing up... we also planted a lot of trees and used the Jewish holidays as an opportunity to be in gratitude, and there was always this kind of, you know, safety net, that we could always go [to Israel], should we get the boot where we were.”

Drescher also spoke about the possibility that The Nanny could be remade with a younger actress, such as Cardi B. Drescher’s upcoming NBC show is called Indebted, and it features her as a married baby boomer who goes bust and has to live with her grown son and his young family. Her character and her on-screen husband are “very fun, sexy joyful people who simply cannot stop spending money.”

Asked about how being diagnosed with cancer has helped her find herself spiritually, she said, “Sometimes, the best gifts come in the ugliest packages.”

She spoke about her work with the Cancer Shmancer organization, which tries to educate young people to make healthier choices to halt the spread of the disease. Her 2002 book of the same name tells the story of her journey and struggle with cancer.

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