With long, shapely legs, a svelte, curvaceous body to die for, and thick black hair cascading around her lovely face, Fran Drescher has all the looks of a sophisticated movie star. And then she opens her mouth. Out comes a crow-like cacophony of nasal sounds made more grating by a thick Queens accent and a tendency to pull no punches. The paradox between the book and its cover is what has made Drescher a rich and popular comedienne; her long-running sitcom The Nanny, with its combination of romantic and slapstick comedy, led many to hail her as Lucille Ball's successor. Though she capitalizes on playing a rather ditzy working-class gal from Flushing, Drescher is known for her creativity and shrewdness. In addition to acting, she is a talented writer and producer.
Much of Drescher's comedy, especially that from her sitcom, is drawn from her life experiences. Like her character, Fran Fine, she was born and raised in Queens. She has had a lifelong interest in acting and studied drama in high school. She attended a year at Queens College and then attended cosmetology school to become a hairdresser. For a time, she had her own business. She made her film debut playing Connie in Saturday Night Fever (1977). Her next film, American Hot Wax (1978), provided Drescher with her first major role and though she would continue on to play supporting parts in numerous other films, it was not until she played a small but memorable part in Rob Reiner's hilarious mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984) that she began making a name for herself. In addition to her film roles, she was also busy on television, guest starring in series and appearing in television films like Terror in the Towers. She played starring roles in three short-lived series, including Princesses. She and her husband Peter Marc Jacobson created The Nanny and it aired on CBS from 1993 to 1999. She not only starred in the show, but also wrote and produced it; Drescher received Emmy nominations for her work on the show. In 1996, she co-starred with Robin Williams in the Disney comedy Jack, while in 1997, she and Jacobson co-created the idea for the romantic comedy The Beautician and the Beast, in which she also starred. Drescher published her autobiography, Enter Whining, in 1996.
Drescher once again drew from her life experiences in the 2002 memoir Cancer Schmancer, which chronicled the actress's battle with uterine cancer, and formed the Cancer Schmancer Movement in 2007. The nonprofit is dedicated to educating women about cancer prevention and the importance of early detection (Drescher's cancer was initially misdiagnosed). In 2011, Drescher appeared on Oprah Winfrey to discuss her relationship with her then ex-husband Peter Mark Jacobson after he came out as gay after the end of their 21-year marriage. The television series Happily Divorced (2011-2012) is based on her experience with Jacobson. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi