The Show”The Nanny”, Cast, Pictures, and Trivia!
This series is about a whiny-voiced Jewish woman named Fran Fine (Fran Drescher).
She is from Flushing, New York, and has recently lost both her job and her boyfriend and is now forced to sell cosmetics door-to-door. One day, she arrives at the Manhattan home of Broadway producer, Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy) and is mistaken for someone applying for the position of becoming a nanny to his three children, Maggie, (Nicholle Tom) Brighton (Benjamin Salisbury) and Grace (Madeline Zima). Despite not previously being a nanny, she decides to apply for the position and is hired. She becomes close to the children almost immediately, although at first, Maxwell is not entirely happy about having her there and doesn’t think that she is the right type of person for the job. But he soon sees how the children have taken to her and that she actually fits in perfectly, though he doesn’t like to admit it. He also does not want to admit to the sexual tension that quickly arises between the two of them, although his butler/chauffeur Niles, (Daniel Davis) is quite happy to see their mutual attraction. Partly because he feels that his employer needs someone in his life and partly due to the fact that Mr. Sheffield’s business partner, C.C. Babcock, (Lauren Lane) has romantic feelings toward him and Niles does not want the two of them to marry as he is less than fond of her. All in all, Fran Fine is the perfect solution to make this family healthy, happy and whole again.
Fran Fine (Fran Drescher)-Fran Fine is a Jewish woman from Queens who is sweet, outgoing, funny and has a voice that could drive a person insane! After being fired from her job in her boyfriend’s bridal shop and then being dumped by him as well, Fran is left with no choice but to sell cosmetics from door-to-door. Shortly after starting this, she ends up at Maxwell Sheffield’s house and is mistaken for an applicant for the nanny position. After being hired, it doesn’t take much time before she bonds with the children and finds a best friend in Niles. Her parents are Sylvia (Renee Taylor) and Morty (Steve Lawrence) Fine, she has an older sister named Nadine and her grandmother is named Yetta. Fran’s best friend is Val Toriello, a slightly dimwitted woman (Rachel Chagall) with whom she went to high school and also worked at the bridal shop with. Fran is always looking for “Mr. Right”, partly due to her mother’s constant nagging of her about marriage and partly due to the fact that she really does want a husband and family. She seems to be very attracted to Jewish men (especially doctors) but it never seems to work out. Of course this may have to do with the many fantasies that she has about she and Mr. Sheffield someday becoming romantically involved, not to mention the constant sexual tension that is always between them. Also, she never likes to admit her true age and has an enormous obsession with Barbara Streisand.
Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy)-Maxwell Sheffield is a widowed, Broadway Producer with three children, Maggie, Brighton and Grace. His butler/chauffeur is Niles and his business partner is C.C. Babcock, a woman who has wanted to become the next Mrs. Sheffield, since his wife, Sara, died. Maxwell is fairly successful, but always seems to remain in the shadow of his rival, the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber. Part of his irritation with Webber stems from the fact that he (Maxwell) had turned down the opportunity to produce the Broadway shows, “Tommy”, “Hair” and most especially, “Cats”. Cats, of course, are turning out to be a huge financial windfall for Webber. (Later, it is discovered that C.C. is the one who convinced him not to do Cats.) Maxwell is British and does not seem to have enough hours in the day to be with his children and work at his career since the death of his wife, which is why he is in need of a nanny. Or rather, another nanny, as the children have managed to run off quite a few of them already. And although he is attracted to Fran, he is nervous about committing again and tries to keep his relationship with her on a professional level.
Niles (Daniel Davis)-Niles is the butler/chauffeur of the Sheffield household. He is kind, caring, a good listener and always loyal. He and Fran become friends immediately and their closeness only deepens as the years go by. He is known to be the “snoop” of the house and is constantly overhearing things that he is not supposed to. He becomes friends with Fran’s mother, Sylvia, and is always looking for ways to torture C.C., calling it “a hobby”. He has known Maxwell all of his life, as his father was Maxwell’s father’s butler and is therefore also a friend of Maxwell, despite the fact that they keep their relationship on a professional level most of the time. Niles is known for his manipulation of certain situations and the fact that he whines and tends to sulk when things do not go his way.
C.C. Babcock (Lauren Lane)-C.C. is Maxwell’s business partner and has worked with him for nearly twenty years. She is also the person whom everyone seems to dislike to a certain degree. She is madly in love with Maxwell and wants desperately to become his next wife, although he seems amazingly unaware of this fact. She is a functioning alcoholic, cool, selfish, and despite wanting to marry Maxwell, very uncaring where the children are concerned, she usually cannot even remember their names. She and Niles have an ongoing rivalry which seems to bring a certain amount of twisted joy to them both. She has an intense dislike for Fran or “Nanny Fine” as she always refers to her, from the very beginning, viewing her as a threat to her “possible future” with Maxwell. She also dislikes all the members of Fran’s family including her best friend, Val.
Maggie Sheffield (Nicholle Tom)-Maggie is Maxwell Sheffield’s oldest child. A shy, awkward but very intelligent teenage girl, who is worried that no boy will ever like her, until she meets her new nanny. Fran develops a bond with her right away, helps her to come out of her shell and blossom into a beautiful, self-assured and popular girl. Before Fran came along, Maggie spent much of her time either being smothered by her father or bickering with her brother, Brighton.
Brighton Sheffield (Benjamin Salisbury)-Brighton is the only son of Maxwell Sheffield and a constant annoyance to both of his sisters. Things change when Fran comes into the picture however, as she seems to know just how to handle him with her down-to-earth attitude and her wily street smarts. Brighton does not like her at first, but soon changes his mind and accepts her into his life quite happily. A somewhat sensitive boy, he is not always easy to deal with but as time goes on, grows up and develops a calmer and stronger personality, due mostly to Fran’s and her mother’s influence over him.
Grace Sheffield (Madeline Zima)-Grace is the youngest of the Sheffield children and perhaps the most emotionally problematic of the three. Due to losing her mother at such a young age, Grace has spent quite a bit of time in therapy, has an imaginary friend and uses complicated words and medical terms that most adults don’t understand. Fran’s arrival into the household however, seems to be just what “Gracie”, as Fran calls her, needs. Soon after she begins working there, Gracie loses her imaginary friend, which her therapist says was because Grace felt like Fran was filling the hole left by the loss of her mother. As she grows older, Grace becomes even closer with Fran and fully supports the idea of her and her father becoming a couple.
This show was funny, sweet and always entertaining. It was a fairly simple storyline but you enjoyed watching it anyway. I give this series 7 out of 10.
Fran Fine-Fran Drescher
Maxwell Sheffield-Charles Shaughnessy
C.C. Babcock-Lauren Lane
Maggie Sheffield-Nicholle Tom
Brighton Sheffield-Benjamin Salisbury
Grace Sheffield-Madeline Zima
Sylvia Fine-Renee Taylor
Val Toriello-Rachel Chagall
Grandma Yetta-Ann Morgan Guilbert
Chester (C.C.’s dog)-Chester Drescher
Dr. Jack Miller-Spalding Gray
Uncle Stanley-Mort Drescher
Dr. Reynolds-Nora Dunn
Bernard’s Mother-Sue Goodman
Concession Stand Clerk-James Edson
Dotty-Dee Dee Rescher
Juror #6-Lawrence Mandley
Car Dealer-Steve Posner
Dancing Woman in Restaurant-Roz Kern
Aunt Rose-Sylvia Drescher
Aunt Freida-Lainie Kazan
Fred the Pharmacist-Fred Stoller
Maid #2-Jean Ford
One of Fran Drescher’s classmates in high school was comedian Ray Romano, of the popular series, “Everybody Loves Raymond“.
After the series started being broadcast in the UK, Charles Shaughnessy (Maxwell Sheffield) received quite a few letters from fans about what they considered to be his fake English accent. They even suggested that he practice with his co-star Daniel Davis (Niles) so that he could achieve a proper English accent for the show. Everyone on the series thought this funny, as Shaughnessy is a native Englishman who was born in London and Davis is actually not from England but an American who was born in the state of Arkansas.
Fran Drescher and a friend of hers were both raped at gunpoint in 1985, when two armed robbers broke into her and husband, Peter Marc Jacobson’s, Los Angeles apartment. Jacobson was attacked physically and tied up, then forced to watch the entire horrendous nightmare as it unfolded. Drescher says it took many years to recover and even more to tell her story to the press. Following the crime, her rapist, who was on parole, was sent back to prison and later given the punishment of two life sentences.
Nicholle Tom (Maggie Sheffield) has a twin brother named David and an older sister named Heather.
Daniel Davis was nominated for Broadway’s 2000 Tony Award as Best Actor for “Wrong Mountain”.
Benjamin Salisbury competed on Jeopardy! In a special Teen Celebrity Jeopardy! Against actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and actress Kirsten Dunst. Salisbury won and received $15,000 for his charity.
Charles Shaughnessy attended Eton College and read for a law degree at Magdalene College of University of Cambridge.
During the run of the series, Lauren Lane (C.C. Babcock) and Rachel Chagall (Val Toriello) both became pregnant but did not have their pregnancies covered up, unlike most shows that make every effort to keep their actresses pregnancies hidden.
Madeline Zima (Grace Sheffield) had a recurring role on the television series, “Californication”.
Fran Drescher and her ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, created a new series called, “Happily Divorced”, which premiered in 2011, but only lasted for two seasons. To help with the promotion of the show, Drescher hand-picked three couples to marry from a contest that was featured on Facebook called, “Fran Drescher’s ‘Love is Love’ Gay Marriage Contest’. Drescher received a minister’s license from the Universal Life Church.
Charles Shaughnessy and Fran Drescher acted together on another television show in 2004, called, “Living with Fran”. The show was cancelled after only two seasons.
One of The Nanny’s most classic scenes is where Daniel Davis does his take of Tom Cruise’s underwear dance in the movie, “Risky Business”.
Lauren Lane had her first (and only) child, a daughter, when she was 37 years old.
Niles’ family name is never mentioned in the show.
Nicholle Tom was in the film, “Beethoven” and its sequel, “Beethoven’s 2nd”.
The names of Fran Fine’s parents are Sylvia and Morty, and her sister’s name is Nadine. That is also the names of Fran Drescher’s real-life parents and sister.
Charles Shaughnessy has been married to his wife, actress Susan Fallender, for 31 years and they have two daughters together.
Benjamin Salisbury is an accomplished dancer and when the cameras were off, he would often entertain The Nanny studio audiences with spontaneous dance routines.
You don’t find out C.C. Babcock’s actual first name until the series finale. It is Chastity Claire.
Drescher and her husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, divorced in 1999, after more than 20 years of marriage. Following the end of their marriage, Jacobson admitted to her that he was gay. They remain close friends as well as business partners.
Charles Shaughnessy became the fifth Baron Shaughnessy in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 2007, after the death of his second cousin.
Madeline Zima and her two sisters, actresses Vanessa and Yvonne, have their own website called: The ZIMA Sisters’ Official Home Page.
Nicholle Tom is a hopeful painter and has had her oil paintings displayed at an art show.
The series was produced by Fran Drescher’s (Fran Fine) company, which made the working conditions much more pleasant than on many other television shows. Because of this, there were no main cast changes on the show during the entire time that it was on the air. Also, there were a number of family and friends hired to be regulars and guest stars as well as members of the production staff.
Benjamin Salisbury (Brighton Sheffield) has a BA in Journalism from American University. He graduated magna cum laude after having made the Dean’s List a total of six times.
Fran Drescher met her future husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, in high school. Jacobson was also the writer, director and producer of The Nanny.
Lauren Lane received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Madeline Zima had a starring role in the made-for television movie, “The Sandy Bottom Orchestra” where she actually learned to play virtuoso violin pieces so well, that the movie’s music consultant thought that she was a professional violinist.
Fran Drescher had a radical hysterectomy in 2000, to treat uterine cancer. She had been misdiagnosed by eight different doctors and had symptoms for two years before finally getting the correct result. She has now been cancer free for more than ten years. She has a website called cancerschmancer.org and was also instrumental in helping to pass H.R. 1245 (also known as Johanna’s Law or the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act). She is actually acknowledged in the Congressional Record.
Charles Shaughnessy is well known for his role as Shane Davis on the daytime soap opera, “Days of Our Lives”.
Fran Drescher was appointed as a U.S. diplomat in 2008, by Goli Ameri. Her title is Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women’s Health Issues.
Benjamin Salisbury worked as an intern for House minority leader, Richard Gephardt. He someday hopes to be able to have a career in either politics or sports casting.
Fran Drescher considered running for the United States Senate to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, but eventually changed her mind.
Madeline Zima almost quit acting until she decided to go in for her sixth call back for the movie, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” and got it.
Just as the character of Fran Fine was from Flushing, Queens, so was Fran Drescher in real life.