The Nanny star Fran Drescher discussed her role as Fran Fine on the All Inclusive with Jay Ruderman podcast, explaining why she fought to keep the character Jewish.
The Nanny is an American sitcom from the '90s which follows a Jewish nanny played by Drescher.
After landing the role, Drescher was told that Fran, who was originally written as Jewish, would become an Italian character, but Drescher fought to keep her as she was. When asked why by the podcast's host, Jay Ruderman, Drescher explained that the character was always meant to be Jewish because she was written especially for Drescher.
"And then CBS called when we were writing the pilot script and said that they have an opportunity to pre-sell the entire series," said Drescher. "The only thing is they want the character to be Italian, not Jewish."
She then explained that she was scared that if the character was changed, the show might fail. "If I didn't stand firm on how this character must be written and the show failed, I would have a very difficult time living with the fact that I didn't do it my way."
Drescher also explained that she wanted Fran to authentically represent her real-life identity.
"I really dug my heels in and said, 'I'm sorry, but the character of Fran Fine must be Jewish,'" she told Ruderman.
Drescher was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) in September.
She also survived uterine cancer 21 years ago and published her memoir, Cancer Schmancer, shortly after. Five years later, she founded the Cancer Schmancer Movement that promotes the detection of women's cancers early and helps them through their battle with the disease.
"At the earliest curable stage, which I call the whisper stage, you may feel something unusual, irregular, abnormal, but you can dismiss it because it's not that bad and you have a lot on your plate already, and maybe it'll just correct itself and go away," she told Ruderman about the movement. "Unfortunately, in most cases, that is not what happens. And so, we at Cancer Schmancer have been trying to pivot women's thinking to realize that they have to put their health and well-being first."