Fran drescher charles shaughnessy

Sad truth behind Nanny star’s iconic look

“I’d been the victim of a violent crime about 10 years before The Nanny, and I hadn’t really dealt with that,” Drescher, who in 1985 was raped at gunpoint during a harrowing home invasion, said during a discussion at NYC’s The Wing last Friday.

Fran said PTSD was responsible for her petite frame. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Limited

“I had to deal with it once I became famous and it came out, though — thank God I was in therapy! Honestly, I just loved going to work and being Fran Fine, because she was nothing but funny and light, and my life was kind of a mess. I think that was part of why I was so thin.”

Added Drescher: “I look back at some of those episodes, and I remember what was going on behind the scenes, and it wasn’t pretty. When I sold the show , I was 142 pounds (64 kilograms) — and by the time we were in our fifth season, I was maybe 110 pounds (49 kilograms). I was burning the candle at both ends.”

Today, having returned to a healthy weight and defeated uterine cancer, Drescher said she’s all about “honouring my body,” and doesn’t miss her old physique.

MORE: The Nanny series finale Fran Drescher wanted to happen

Charles Shaughnessy and Fran Drescher in a scene from The Nanny. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Corp Australia

The actor managed to snag some pieces from the show’s wardrobe to keep — but, she said, “most of them don’t fit anymore. And I’m really okay with that. I couldn’t be that thin anymore and still look good.”

Still, she confesses she still has a soft spot for the 1990s, and for the era’s fashion in particular.

“The ‘90s was such an exciting time,” Drescher told Page Six. “It was the dotcom boom, the Clinton era, and money was free-flowing. And what we saw emerge out of that era — Moschino, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Todd Oldham — was incredible. Even Chanel, a classic older label, was getting young. I wore Chanel miniskirts on the show, with the cropped jackets and chain belts! It was a better decade.”

And though Drescher had teased a Nanny reboot earlier last week, she shut down rumours of a revival during her Friday chat.

Fran Drescher in New York last week. Picture: RW/MPI/Capital Pictures / MEGASource:Mega

“It’s not true,” the star confirmed. “I mean, never say never, but what I said was: Peter and I are working on a very exciting project that I think the fans will be very happy with — when we’re ready to announce it.”

Drescher added that since The Nanny ended with her character marrying her wealthy boss, Mr Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), a reboot would have to involve major structural changes. “I’m not looking to revisit Fran Fine because, first of all, it wouldn’t be the same show. It can’t be The Nanny — I’m Mrs Sheffield now!” she said.

This story first appeared on the New York Post and has been republished here with permission.

She had style, she had flair, she was there! Fran Drescher staged a reunion of The Nanny on Wednesday, March 18, getting back together with some of her castmates from the beloved 1990s sitcom.

The veteran actress, 57, was supported by her former costars at the opening of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella in Los Angeles. Drescher plays the wicked stepmother Madame in the stage show, which recently moved from Broadway to L.A.

THE NANNY, (clockwise): Fran Drescher, Charles Shaughnessy, Nicholle Tom, Madeline Zima, Benjamin Sailsbury CBS Television/courtesy Everett Collection

As she fêted the West Coast kickoff, the New Yorker was joined by her onetime leading man Charles Shaughnessy. The British actor, 60, starred opposite Drescher as Maxwell Sheffield, a wealthy widower who hires Fran Fine (Drescher) to care for his children.

Looking beautiful in a figure-hugging forest green dress with a plunging neckline, the Happily Divorced actress cozied up to her on-screen love interest before finding other Nanny stars.

Joseph Bologna, cast member Fran Drescher and actress Rene Taylor pose during a post show photo op for the opening night performance of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” Ryan Miller/Getty Images

Drescher posed for a happy photo with Joseph Bologna and his wife Renée Taylor, who both appeared on The Nanny.

Bologna, 80, had a short run with the series, playing two different characters. In 1994, he played actor Alan Beck, and in 1999, he starred as Dr. Joe Razzo, the love interest of Sylvia Fine (played by Bologna’s real wife Taylor). Taylor, 82, was on The Nanny for the entirety of its six-year run, playing Fran’s mother.

Christopher Rich and cast member Fran Drescher pose during a post show photo op for the opening night performance of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” Ryan Miller/Getty Images

Finally, Drescher caught up with Christopher Rich. The Murphy Brown actor, 61, appeared in one 1995 episode of The Nanny, playing a manny named Kurt Jacobs. He also went on to make a cameo in Drescher’s now-defunct TV Land show Happily Divorced, playing surgeon Frank in a 2012 episode.

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Once Fran Drescher’s boss on ‘The Nanny,’ Charles Shaughnessy playing Henry Higgins in Matunuck

Shaughnessy signed on about a year ago, then was offered a part in a pre-Broadway show in New Jersey — and he’s doing both.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Charles Shaughnessy, Fran Drescher’s well-heeled boss in “The Nanny,” signed on about a year ago to play another imperious boss at Theatre By The Sea this month, that being the blustery Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady.”

He’d done the show a couple of times before and says it’s his favorite musical. So he couldn’t wait to reprise the role in Matunuck.

But then New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse came along with an offer to create the role of King Francis in a musical adaptation of the Drew Barrymore film “Ever After.” The musical, which includes two-time Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole, is being eyed for a Broadway run, and Shaughnessy was determined to do both.

The only thing was that would leave just three days between the close of the Paper Mill show and the opening of “My Fair Lady.” So the 60-year-old actor has been rehearsing on his days off with the director and the leads for “My Fair Lady” in New York, while watching the rest of the cast rehearse in Wakefield via Skype.

“I’m a big believer in harnessing new technology,” he said.

Even so, Shaughnessy conceded he’ll be facing a pretty intense three days between shows. He’ll arrive in Rhode Island on Monday and scramble to find his bearings for Wednesday’s opening.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he said. “I’m really excited, and a little nervous.”

Luckily, Shaughnessy starred in the Lerner and Loewe classic four years ago at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Mass., so he said a lot of the musical is in his muscle memory. He’s also back working with director Charles Repole, who he knows so well they “sort of speak to one another in short hand.”

If you’re wondering how a well-known star like Shaughnessy ended up in Matunuck, that was the work of Bill Hanney, who owns both North Shore and Theatre By The Sea and has been trying to lure him to Matunuck ever since they first worked together in 2011. Although it doesn’t seem as though Hanney needed to do a lot of persuading.

Shaughnessy is also a big fan of summer theater. He used to take summers off during filming of “The Nanny” to act in Williamstown, Mass. And he’s performed in Ogunquit, Maine, which he found “just gorgeous.”

“I really enjoy the legacy of summer stock,” he said.

He has yet to see the old barn of a theater in Matunuck, though. “I hear it’s very lovely, but everyone is telling me there is no air conditioning. I run a little hot, so I hope it’s not a steamy July.”

Shaughnessy will be playing opposite Kerry Conte as Eliza Doolittle, the Cockney flower girl who becomes part of Higgins’ experiment to turn her into a lady. The show contains hits such as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Wouldn’t It be Loverly,” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Face.”

Shaughnessy was born into a theater family in London. His father, Alfred, was the scriptwriter for “Upstairs, Downstairs,” his mother, Jean Lodge, was an actress, and his brother David is an actor and television producer.

Charles started acting at an early age, and toyed with going into the law at one point. But eventually he returned to the stage while at Cambridge and ended up enrolling in a London drama school.

He became widely known in the 1980s playing the part of Shane Donovan in the long-running soap “Days of Our Lives.” He and Patsy Pease’s Kimberly Brady became a soap super couple.

Then in the 1990s, audiences got to know him as Maxwell Sheffield, playing opposite Drescher in CBS’ “The Nanny.” And he continued to work with her until 2006 as her philandering ex, Ted, in “Living with Fran.”

Now, after working on the East Coast, he’s eager to return home to California and “do some TV. I miss my home, I miss my wife, I miss my dog. I don’t travel well.”

Shaughnessy said he’s working on a pilot, but didn’t seem to care much if it gets picked up.

He said he likes not having a regular TV show, because then he’s forced to take what comes along and finds that’s fun, like the Yasmina Reza play he just did in Bermuda.

“There’s security in TV,” he said, “but something week after week doesn’t allow you to do the exciting things that come up. You have to lean into life and see it as an inexplicable dance. It’s about having no expectations and seeing what turns up.”

In a way, that’s the approach he’s been taking with “My Fair Lady.” By being familiar with the show, he has been able to relax and let things happen, making for subtle changes.

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Charles George Patrick Shaugnessy, 5th Baron Shaughnessy (born 9 February 1958) is an English actor. Shaugnessy portrays Maxwell Sheffield on The Nanny.

Career Edit

Shaughnessy first became widely known for playing Shane Donovan on the soap opera Days of Our Lives from 1984 to 1992. His character’s romance with Patsy Pease’s character, Kimberly Brady, made the duo into a soap supercouple and revived interest in Days among teenage viewers in the 1980s. In 1986, he appeared with Betty White and Bert Convy on Super Password, and in January 1993, Shaughnessy appeared in an episode of Murphy Brown as the title character’s date to the inaugural ball.

Shaughnessy is also well known for his portrayal of Maxwell Sheffield opposite Fran Drescher on CBS’ The Nanny from 1993 to 1999. He and Drescher resumed acting together in Drescher’s next sitcom, Living with Fran, wherein Shaughnessy appeared fairly frequently as her philandering but needy ex-husband, Ted. Living with Fran was cancelled on 17 May 2006, after two seasons.

In 1996, Shaughnessy was reunited with another co-star from Days of Our Lives – Charlotte Ross, who portrayed Shane’s daughter, Eve Donovan – for the TV movie A Kiss So Deadly. This time, Ross portrayed the roommate of Shaughnessy’s daughter (Dedee Pfeiffer); Shaughnessy’s character, although married, forms an obsessive Lolita-esque relationship with Ross. When she tries to break it off, Shaughnessy’s character murders Ross’ character; gradually, his daughter uncovers the truth.

Shaughnessy also appeared (in a dual role) in the Disney Channel 2002 made-for-TV movie Get a Clue. He was also seen in the 2000 made-for-TV Halloween movie Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire starring opposite Caroline Rhea; she guest-starred on The Nanny in 1998 as part of a cross-over with Hollywood Squares. That same year, Shaughnessy made two appearances on The WB’s Sabrina (this show stars Rhea, Melissa Joan Hart, and Beth Broderick) playing two different characters. He played Alec Colson in the 8th-season episode “Covenant” of Stargate SG-1. He also voiced Dr. Quintaine in the PC game Freelancer.

Shaughnessy appeared on an episode of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and is also the voice of Dennis the Goldfish on the Disney Channel cartoon series Stanley. On 11 May 2002, Shaughnessy won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for his portrayal of Dennis the Goldfish on Stanley.

On 8 August 2008, Shaughnessy portrayed the murder victim (Samuel, Guru) in Murder 101: The Locked Room Mystery. As of September 2008, his voice was heard in a few television commercials for Range Rover cars. In December 2008, he provided the voice of Pietro in The Tale of Despereaux. He also portrayed the Cockney English accent for “The Boss” in the game Saints Row 2, and more recently has voiced more commercials for Land Rover.

On 5 May 2009, Shaughnessy made a guest appearance in the series The Mentalist episode “Miss Red” as the manager of a private club. His voice has been featured in commercials for Land Rover. He also appeared on the popular TV show Hannah Montana as a talent show judge modelled after Simon Cowell in the episode “Judge Me Tender”.

Shaughnessy returned to Days of Our Lives in May 2010, in a storyline associated with the funeral of Alice Horton (played by Frances Reid), briefly reuniting him with his former co-star Patsy Pease (Kimberly). This plot development was necessitated by the real-world death of the actress who had long portrayed Mrs. Horton, as the producers were aware that the audience would not accept the portrayal of the character by anyone else.

In August–September 2010, Shaughnessy appeared as King Arthur in Monty Python’s Spamalot! at The Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine. In January 2011, he won the Broadway World Boston Theater Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical (Large Theater). Since 2010, Shaughnessy has starred on the soap opera web series The Bay as Elliot Sanders. On 6 December 2010, he reunited with Fran Drescher as a guest on her limited-run daytime show, The Fran Drescher Show.

In June 2011, Shaughnessy appeared as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts. He made a guest appearance on the first-season finale of Fran Drescher’s TV Land sitcom, Happily Divorced, first airing on 17 August 2011.

Shaughnessy returned to Days of Our Lives for a limited run in May 2012 as Shane Donovan, in a story line involving his return to the ISA and interacting with Hope and Bo Brady and Stefano DiMera. His co-star, Patsy Pease did not appear as Shane’s wife, Kimberly, in this story arc; nor did Charlotte Ross, who had played Shane’s daughter, Eve. He also returned in November 2013 for a three-episode arc, in which his character Shane, and his wife Kimberly, deal with their daughter’s drug use.

On 23 January 2014, it was announced that Shaughnessy would assume the title role in the play Harvey at the New Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas after original star Judge Reinhold was offered the opportunity to leave the production.

In August 2014, Shaughnessy made a guest appearance on the Disney Channel show Dog with a Blog as business tycoon Tom Fairbanks, a man who wanted to buy Stan, the title character, and use him as the spokes-dog for his animal rescue campaign.

It looks like the cast of The Nanny, the ’90s sitcom that got Fran Drescher’s laugh permanently lodged in your brain, is just as tight as they were when Fran Fine was working at a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens. Entertainment Weekly reports that the cast had a mini-reunion last week to celebrate the birthday of Renée Taylor, who played Fran’s mother.

Charles Shaughnessy, who played Mr. Sheffield, shared the photos from the shindig at Drescher’s house, and everyone looks fantastic. They’ve clearly ditched their ’90s wardrobe — though Schaughnessy has stayed consistent with the turtlenecks — which is a change for the better.

For a quick recap, here’s what they looked like in The Nanny’s heyday:

Getty Images

And here’s what they look like now:

The cast has worked together on several occasions over the years, including on Drescher’s sitcom Happily Divorced and in a 2004 reunion, A Nosh to Remember, on Lifetime.

Shaughnessy also had an extended arc on Mad Men as Saint John Powell, one of the British bosses who ends up taking over Sterling Cooper. Taylor has kept busy as well, with roles in Bob’s Burgers and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. Since wrapping on Happily Divorced in 2013, Drescher has focused on her charity, Cancer Schmancer, and recently married the inventor of e-mail. (Yes, seriously.)

What do The Nanny stars look like now?

Charles Shaughnessy (who played Maxwell Sheffield), Fran Drescher (who played Fran Fine) and Renée Taylor (who played Sylvia Fine) caught up last weekend to celebrate Taylor’s 83rd birthday.

Shaughnessy shared snaps of the smiling trio on Facebook with the caption, “An evening with the mother in law! Happy Birthday Renee!”

And don’t they look fine. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

There’s still so much love between the two. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

The Nanny ran for six glorious years and finished in 1999.

Here are some fun facts you might not know about the show and its stars:


Fran Drescher was on a plane from France to the US when she realised the head of TV network CBS was on the same flight.

She had always wanted to star in her own show, so she spent several minutes in the plane bathroom psyching herself up before introducing herself to the TV executive.

Drescher managed to charm him and he agreed to meet with her later on to discuss some ideas. A year later, The Nanny was born.

The cast of The Nanny.Source:News Corp Australia


According to IMDB, UK fans of the show often wrote letters complaining about Charles Shaughnessy’s (who played Mr Sheffield) British accent.

They suggested that he should study Daniel Davis’ (who played Niles the butler) accent. The complaints were a bit of a slap in the face for Shaughnessy, because he was actually born in London, whereas Davis was born in Arkansas.


Madeline Zima (who played Grace Sheffield) did not enjoy her six years on The Nanny.

“It wasn’t a fun experience,” Zima said to The TV. “They treated me more like a prop than like a human being.”


In real life Fran Drescher was just as unlucky in love as her character Fran Fine was on The Nanny before she snagged Mr Sheffield.

Drescher was married to the sitcom’s writer and producer, Peter Marc Jacobson. But their relationship deteriorated during the show’s successful run, and the two divorced in 1999. Jacobson later admitted that he was gay, which came as a bit of a shock to Drescher.

“We had good sex, we had a very normal marriage,” Drescher said.

Fran and Mr Sheffield tied the knot The Nanny.Source:News Limited


A number of characters on The Nanny were either played by or named after Fran Drescher’s friends and family.

In real life, just like on the show, Fran’s parents are called Sylvia and Morty and her sister is called Nadine.

Her real life dad appeared on the show several times, both playing Fine’s father Morty and Uncle Stanley.


The actor who played Fran’s grandma, Yetta (Ann Morgan Guilbert) was actually only five years older than the actor who played Fran’s mum, Sylvia (played by Renée Taylor).

Stars from The Nanny: Ann Guilbert and Renee Taylor.Source:YouTube


Remember CC’s dog Chester? There was a running gag in the show that Chester hated CC and kept running away.

The Pomeranian loved Fran Fine though, which isn’t surprising given that Chester was actually Drescher’s dog in real life.


In the show’s finale, it was revealed that CC’s real name is Chastity Claire.