The Nanny, Then and Now
It’s been almost 25 years since “the flashy girl from Flushing” hit TV screens with her heavy Queens accent, squeaky laughter, and unforgettable ’90s fashion. The Nanny, produced by Fran Drescher and her then-husband Peter Marc Jacobson, centered around a quirky woman who, after losing her boyfriend and her bridal shop job, lands a gig taking care of the three children of a rich English widower.
The comedy aired for six seasons on CBS from 1993 to 1999; after a rough first year, it quickly became one of the highest-rated sitcoms of the late ’90s. The Nanny earned 12 Emmy Award nominations, winning only one for Fran Fine’s “outstanding” costumes. Beyond the awards, the show has infiltrated pop culture thanks to its on-point humor, memorable characters, and of course, Fran’s ’90s high-fashion aesthetic. Click ahead to see the cast of The Nanny then and now.
Fran Drescher (Fran Fine)
Before embodying the unforgettable role of Fran Fine, Drescher had appeared in movies like Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Wes Craven’s Stranger In Our House (1978). The actress stepped into comedy during the ’80s when she appeared in films like UHF (1980) and The Hollywood Knights (1980), starring alongside Michelle Pfeiffer and Tony Danza.
During her run as The Nanny, Fine’s career reached new heights and landed her two Emmy Award nominations and two Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. In 1996, the actress made the film Jack alongside Robin Williams; in the 2000s, Drescher returned to sitcoms, playing two very similar roles in Living with Fran and Happily Divorced, both of which only lasted two seasons. Drescher created the latter with her ex-husband Jacobson.
Most recently, the actress made her Broadway debut as the wicked stepmother in Cinderella; she also voices Eunice in the Hotel Transylvania film series and in 2017 made a memorable guest appearance as Ilana’s aunt on the fourth season of Broad City.
Charles Shaughnessy (Max Sheffield)
The British actor was born into show business — his father was a TV writer (Upstairs, Downstairs) and his mother, Jean Lodge, was an actress. Shaughnessy got his big break when he played Shane Donovan on Days of Our Lives from 1984 to 1992, playing one half of a soap-opera super couple with Patsy Pease.
After The Nanny, Shaughnessy appeared in shows like The Mentalist, Mad Men, Hannah Montana, with especially plum roles on series like Saints & Sinners and the animated series Stanley (Shaughnessy is also an accomplished voice actor).
In 2005, he reunited with Drescher to play her character’s ex-husband on Living with Fran. Most recently, Shaughnessey landed major roles on Masters of Sex and The Magicians, and even brief returned to his soap roots and reprised his role as Shane on Days.
Lauren Lane (C.C. Babcock)
Lane began appearing in films around 1984, but her television career didn’t begin until 1991 when she landed the role of Sgt. Chris Novak on NBC’s crime drama, Hunter. After The Nanny ended in 1999, Lane would retire from television two years later. She has since dedicated her life to theatre and teaching; she is now a full-time lecturer at Texas State University.
Daniel Davis (Niles)
Davis first appeared on television in 1980 and racked up credits on Texas, Dynasty, and Star Trek: The Next Generation; Niles the butler became his most famous role, however, thanks to his on-point faux English accent and hilarious one-liners.
After The Nanny, the actor appeared on Frasier, Ugly Betty, and The Practice, as well as Christopher Nolan’s magician film The Prestige. In 2000, Davis turned to the stage and landed a Tony Award nomination for his role in David Hirson’s Wrong Mountain. Most recently, the actor has made guest appearances on shows like Gotham and The Blacklist.
Nicholle Tom (Maggie Sheffield)
Prior to her role as the preppy Maggie Sheffield, Tom had appeared in Beverly Hills, 90210 and in 1992 landed the role of Ryce Newton in the Beethoven series. After her breakthrough as Maggie in The Nanny, Tom collected a handful of film roles but, perhaps most importantly, she became Supergirl, voicing the character in the DC animated TV universe in shows like Superman and Justice League Unlimited.
Her last decade has included guest roles on any number of popular shows like Master of Sex, Gotham, Survivor’s Remorse, Castle, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, Without a Trace, and Burn Notice.
Benjamin Salisbury (Brighton Sheffield)
Before playing the mischievous middle child on The Nanny, Salisbury’s career started in 1992 with the movie Captain Ron (opposite Kurt Russell and Mary Kay Place). After his role as a Sheffield kid, the actor has stayed out of the public eye, save for an appearance on the show Numb3rs in 2005. His last acting gig was the short film On the Brink in 2006.
Madeline Zima (Grace Sheffield)
After playing the youngest and smartest Sheffield child for six seasons, Zima made appearances in shows like Gilmore Girls, 7th Heaven, and Grey’s Anatomy. Her most notable role after The Nanny was Mia Lewis, a precocious 16-year-old on Showtime’s drama series, Californication. Zima also starred on the short-lived fantasy series Heroes and Betas. Most recently, she returned to the network when she played the ill-fated Tracey on the 2017 revival of Twin Peaks.
Renee Taylor (Sylvia Fine)
Taylor had a long and successful career prior to playing Fran Fine’s outspoken mother. Taylor and her husband, Joseph Bologna, were nominated for an Oscar for writing the 1970 film adaptation of their Broadway comedy, Lovers and Other Strangers. The actress’ early credits also included Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Producers, Made for Each Other, Lovesick, and The End of Innocence. In 2001, Taylor returned to Broadway with Bologna in their two-man show, If you ever leave me…I’m going with you!.
Over the past two decades, Taylor has guest-starred on How I Met Your Mother, Everwood, Bob’s Burgers, Disney Channel’s Shake It Up, and of course, Fran Drescher’s Happily Divorced. She also appeared in Netflix’s The Do-Over (opposite Adam Sandler) and recently starred in the 2017 comedy, How to Be a Latin Lover.
Ann Morgan Guilbert (Grandma Yetta)
With her voluminous gray ‘do and cigarette in hand, Guilbert gave life to one of the most memorable characters from The Nanny. The actress started her career as a singer in the 1950’s, launching to fame after her portrayal of neighbor Millie Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
The actress never stopped working, appearing in shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Love, Law & Order: SVU, and The Andy Griffith Show, as well as HBO’s Getting On. Her final credit came with CBS’s Life in Pieces, wherein she played the mother of Dianne Wiest’s character; an episode was centered around the passing of Guilbert’s character when the actress herself passed away in 2016 at the age of 87.