In the sitcom The Nanny, Charles Shaugnessy played Maxwell Sheffield — a widower and Broadway Producer who hires cosmetic saleswoman Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) to serve as a nanny to his three children. He and Fine boast a will-they-won’t-they romantic tension that carried the ‘90s show — alongside epic one-liners and overall cast chemistry — for several seasons. During an interview with Studio 10, Shaugnessy praised Drescher, as well as the overall cast, noting how they all managed to just mesh, despite being quite different.
Charles Shaughnessy on Fran Drescher
While sitting with Shaughnessy, the Studio 10 interviewer noted that he and Drescher “obviously got on very well,” to which Shaughnessy agreed. They remain great friends when the cameras aren’t rolling. Shaughnessy said:
“I mean, we had very different lives, but Franny was like such a force of nature, and right from the beginning, so mishpachah…”
As evidenced by the quote above, it’s clear that Shaughnessy is familiar with Yiddish, and the term he used here tends to refer to “family,” and he could be hinting at Drescher’s familial nature and willingness to let people in. He likely means that the two were family from the start. However, the connotation shifts depending on context.
Shaugnessy went on to note that his wife is Jewish, so he and Drescher “understood each other,” as he had “the lingo down almost better than [his] wife.” Shaughnessy explained that he understood the culture, and Drescher appreciated that. Shaughnessy then discussed the entire cast, praising how well they fit together.
Charles Shaughnessy talks cast chemistry on the set of ‘The Nanny’
Shaughnessy explained that no matter which cast members were in a scene together, it worked. Each dynamic had its own appeal. He shared:
“You can put any two in the scene and there will be a different chemistry and a different run relationship…”
Grandma Yetta and Nanny Fine had one dynamic, as one ever knew what would come out of Yetta’s mouth, and how Fran would have to respond. Niles and C.C. had another — marked by verbal one-upping each other for much of the season.
Then you had the sexual tension between Sheffield and Fine, or the battleground dynamic between Fine and C.C. No matter who was in a scene, it worked because each character served a purpose. Filler characters were not present in the show. The Nanny ran for several seasons, and a Broadway production based on the sitcom is currently in the early stages of development.
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