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Fran Drescher dishes about how The Nanny views Valentine's Day and being a U.S. diplomat (really!)



HR_FranDrescher Picture a sage source for incisive advice on romance and you hardly imagine a bubbly scatterbrain like The Nanny’s lead character Fran Fine.

But that’s just what you’ll get if you look at Nickelodeon’s Nick at Nite this week, where Nanny star Fran Drescher reprises her character for Valentine Schmalentine – a collection of love-themed Nanny episodes airing two half-hour episodes at 11 p.m. until Valentine’s Day

Turns out, Drescher has had a far more interesting life than her Queens-bred homebody character -- developing a habit for dating young men before the word cougar was cool while living a second act as an outspoken uterine cancer survivor, HSN celebrity salesperson and a diplomat with the U.S. State Department (really!).

Here’s a little insight from showbiz’s most unlikely stateswoman (featuring edited comments from an interview transcript).

Deggans: What love advice does Fran Fine have for the TV viewers of America?

Drescher:: (laughs) Well, you know, it’s all tongue-in-cheek and for fun, so I said things like … you don’t have to have a boyfriend to enjoy Valentine’s Day. For, like, five years I did not have a boyfriend and I would plan the most fabulous evenings for me and all my single girlfriends. There would be like a dozen women and we’d go out to a fabulous restaurant and then we’d go see a show, and we were all together, and we got all dressed up and we professed our love for each other.

Sounds like the plot to a really interesting Cinemax movie. What’s the difference between how Fran Fine looks at love and Fran Drescher looks at love?

I think Fran Fine wanted to get married and have a family and, you know, she had very provincial ideas of what her future should be. Even though I love being in relationships, I really don’t try and build my life around one. I try to feel complete and accomplished and fulfilled as my own woman.”

TheNanny_S2 You created and produced The Nanny with your now-ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson. Was it tough playing a character so dependent on a man, co-created by your husband, when you didn’t feel that way?

“That might have been part of why I ultimately needed to get a divorce. I think that I couldn’t find myself within that relationship that I had been in since high school. I had never even as much as bought a chair without saying, what do you think, honey? And, you know, I felt very much like a bird in a gilded cage.”

You played a cougar in the 2005 WB series Living with Fran way before Courteney Cox made it cool. Do you feel ahead of your time?

I almost always am involved with younger men…I think a woman has to realize that there’s a natural curiosity and interest from a young man if the woman is sexy because she’s gonna be more comfortable in her skin, more confident in the bedroom. But you can’t take it seriously, because eventually they’re gonna want to show off everything they know with someone their age or younger. At the end of the day, the dude needs to feel like the dude.”

In 2008 you were appointed a U.S. diplomat on women’s health issues, sparking a lot of snarky news stories about The Nanny as an ambassador. Did that bother you?

“Over the years subsequent to The Nanny, I have reinvented myself. I’m a public speaker, I’ve gotten laws made in Washington and now I’ve written two New York Times best-selling books. So, you know, I think that, for the most part, short of maybe some mean-spirited tabloid which I’m also unaware of, I think, for the most part, I’ve been very well received for my effort as a woman that is leveraging her international celebrity to help women on a global level.”

The new book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America says you turned down a threesome with Warren Beatty and another actress. Is that true?

“They probably picked up on a chapter I (wrote) in my first book, Enter Whining,  a humorous book about an ordinary girl in extraordinary situations while, you know, trying to make it in Hollywood. The angle of that particular story is really how much of a fish out of water I was, and how awkward and uncomfortable I was and how I really didn’t know anything. I was, you know, really very naïve and fresh out of Queens. So I got nervous thinking ‘What’s happening?’ and I just sort of ran to the ladies’ room. That was how I handled it, as this naïve girl, formerly a chubby girl from Queens.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:05pm]


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