A body to die for and a mane of midnight black hair, Fran Drescher had one other trick up her sleeve—that voice! Getting to chatwith her, the star of “Happily Divorced,” I not only got her laughing, but also requested a “Mr. Sssssshhhhheffield,” Fran Fine-style.
New York Q News: Fran, the gay community just adores you and, being a tireless supporter of gay rights, do you think California will ever get on the wagon and legalize gay marriage, as happened here in New York?
Fran Drescher: We are right on the cusp. I do feel very confident that it will be a done deal. I hope for that. Changes in state government are happening. A new mayor for California [Fran resides in Malibu] and the support of the community is the most important to make any changes. Everyone has a right to love who they want and getting married is an American right. California was a very free modern thinker and it changed so drastically. I really believe this state will legalize gay marriage like New York has done!
NYQN: With your hit sitcom “Happily Divorced” based on the real-life spilt from co-creator and ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson, dare I say the "D' word can be jovial?
FD: It takes a good physiotherapist to teach one to process and digest a twenty year marriage that ended because your spouse is gay. A wise man once said "never throw out the baby with the bath water" and I truly believe that. You need to begin with civility and kindness toward each other. Peter and I reconnected when I was diagnosed with cancer and we are genuinely each other’s best friend. Both [divorce and cancer] taught me to live life and find the silver linings in each hardship, to fight courageous and elegantly as you can. I’m lucky to have survived both, and have Peter as close as we are.
NYQN: I’m pretty keen and I always thought you parallel Lucille Ball’s physical comedy as an actress. It’s subtle, but there is Lucy in you. Maybe it’s just my kooky sense of nostalgia, but I see the connection, am I the first to mention that?
FD: Thank You! Yes, I have heard that many times before, and that is the highest honor I can receive as an actress. To even be in the same sentence as Lucy is very special to me. I grew up watching her and have always been a great fan myself. That was very kind of you to say. People enjoy seeing me do physical comedy, like the character Fran Fine, and I will be doing more on "Happily Divorced."
NYQN: Speaking of Fran Fine, did you happen to save any of those fantastic outfits from the “Nanny” years?
FD: Yes! I do have a lot of the classic pieces from “The Nanny.” Too bad my feet didn't grow like my ass did to wear them! I love them! I’m extremely proud of the global success “The Nanny” has achieved. I adore the show and the character of Fran Fine. I actually watched two episodes recently. I laughed all by myself, having a great old time watching. That show has been very good to me both as a producer, writer and actress. I support classic television!
NYQN: What’s the scoop on “Happy Divorced”—any guest stars and tidbits? Now that we are besties, spill it!
FD: Well (laughs), Charles Shaughnessy (Maxwell Sheffield) will be on and playing a swinger! Renée Taylor, who played my Mom on “Nanny,” will be a downstairs neighbor joining the cast. We want to focus on the story-line and the characters and not overshadow [them] with too many guest appearances to fast. We have lots of great things on the table for the show.
NYQN: You’re one busy Hollywood gal; actress, producer and writer, LGBT activist, cancer supporter, charity work, what else could you possibly have on your plate?
FD: (Laughs) I’m going to be the voice of Miss Frankenstein, along with Kevin James as hubby Frankenstein, in “Hotel Transylvania!” I also have a children’s book, “Wendy the Penguin,” I wrote, that will debut during the holidays. It’s beautifully illustrated and I’m looking very forward to that. I work very hard for the Cancerschmancer Movement and anything I'm fully passionate about.
“Happily Divorced” airs at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesdays on TV Land! Keep up with the fabulous Fran Drescher at frandrescher.com, cancerschmancer.org, and tvland.com.