Fran Drescher – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this amazing woman, one that has made a life of extracting the positive from any situation, to the degree that she describes herself as: “My whole life has been about changing negatives into positives.”

She is a leader in her community devoting much of her time raising the awareness of cancer that the need to find a cure.

 
 
 
 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 
 
Fran-Drescher (1)
 
 

Fran Drescher

 
 
 

Drescher was born in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, the daughter of Sylvia, a bridal consultant, and Morty Drescher, a naval systems analyst. Her Ashkenazi Jewish family is of South-East and Central European origin. Her great-grandmother was born in Focșani, Romania, and had emigrated to the United States. She has an older sister, Nadine.

Drescher was a first runner-up for “Miss New York Teenager” in 1973, as revealed in her first autobiography Enter Whining released December 29, 1995, and on her interview on William Shatner’s Raw Nerve, which first aired on January 27, 2009. She attended Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, where she met her future husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, whom she married in 1978, at age 21. They divorced in 1999. Jacobson was Drescher’s constant supporter in her show-business career, and he wrote, directed and produced her signature television series, The Nanny. Drescher graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1975; one of her classmates was comedian Ray Romano. Drescher’s character Fran Fine on The Nanny and Romano’s character Ray Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond met at a 20th high school reunion.

saturday_night_fever-15lshlnHer first break was a small role as the dancer Connie in the blockbuster movie Saturday Night Fever (1977) in which she delivered the line “So, are you as good in bed as you are on the dance floor?” to John Travolta.

A year later, she began to gain more attention in films such as American Hot Wax (1978), and Wes Craven’s Summer of Fear (1978).

She also took on a rare dramatic role in the Miloš Forman 1981 film, Ragtime.

During the 1980s, Drescher found moderate success as a character actress with memorable roles in films such as The Hollywood Knights, Doctor Detroit, The Big Picture, UHF, Cadillac Man, and memorably in This is Spinal Tap as publicist Bobbi Fleckman. She also made an appearance in a second season episode of Who’s the Boss? in 1985 as an interior decorator. She also had an appearance on Night Court as a schizophrenic who flips from a prude to a sexually minded woman and ends up in a hotel with ADA Dan Fielding.

The 1985 robbery and rape
 
In January 1985, two armed robbers broke into Drescher and Jacobson’s Los Angeles apartment.

forcible rapeWhile one ransacked their home, the other raped Drescher and her friend at gunpoint.

Jacobson was also physically attacked, tied up, and forced to witness the entire ordeal.

It took Drescher many years to recover, and it took her even longer to tell her story to the press. She was paraphrased as saying in an interview with Larry King that although it was a traumatic experience, she found ways to turn it into something positive.

In her book Cancer Schmancer, the actress writes: “My whole life has been about changing ‘negatives into positives‘.”

Her rapist, who was on parole at the time of the crime, was returned to prison and sentenced to two life sentences.
 
Drescher attended Queens College, City University of New York.
 
In recent years, Drescher has made a return to television both with leading and guest roles.

In 2003, Drescher appeared in episodes of the short lived sitcom, Good Morning, Miami as Roberta Diaz. In 2005, she returned to TV with the sitcom Living With Fran, in which she played Fran Reeves, a middle-aged mother of two, living with Riley Martin (Ryan McPartlin), a man half her age and not much older than her son. Former Nanny costar Charles Shaughnessy appeared as her philandering ex-husband, Ted. Living with Fran was cancelled May 17, 2006, after two seasons.

In 2006, Drescher guest starred in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent; the episode, “The War at Home”, aired on US television on November 14, 2006. She also appeared in an episode of the series Entourage and in the same year, gave her voice to the role of a female golem in The Simpsons episode “Treehouse of Horror XVII”.

In 2007, Drescher appeared in the US version of the Australian improvisational comedy series Thank God You’re Here.

drescherodonnellIn 2008, Drescher announced that she was developing a new sitcom entitled The New Thirty, also starring Rosie O’Donnell. A series about two old high school friends coping with midlife crises, Drescher described the premature plot of the show as “kind of Sex and the City but we ain’t getting any! It’ll probably be more like The Odd Couple.” The sitcom failed to materialize however.

In 2010, Drescher returned to television with her own daytime talk show, The Fran Drescher Tawk Show. While the program debuted to strong ratings, it ended its three-week test run to moderate success, resulting in its shelving.

The following year, the sitcom Happily Divorced, created by Drescher and her ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, was picked up by TV Land for a ten-episode order. It premiered there June 15, 2011. The show was renewed in July 2011 for a second season of 12 episodes, which aired in spring 2012. On May 1, 2012, TV Land extended the second season and picked up 12 additional episodes, taking the second season total to 24. The back-order of season two debuted later in 2012. Happily Divorced was cancelled in August 2013.

Happily Divorced SABC3 Fran Drescher April 2012To promote Happily Divorced, Drescher performed the weddings of three gay couples in New York City using the minister’s license she received from the Universal Life Church.

Drescher hand-picked the three couples, all of whom were entrants into “Fran Drescher’s ‘Love Is Love’ Gay Marriage Contest” on Facebook, based on the stories the couples submitted about how they met, why their relationship illustrated that “love is love” and why they wanted to be married by her.

Drescher and Jacobson created their own television show, The Nanny in 1993. The show aired on CBS from 1993 and ended in 1999, and Drescher became an instant star. In this sitcom, she played a charming and bubbly woman named Fran Fine who casually became the nanny of Margaret (“Maggie”), Brighton (“B”), and Grace (“Gracie”) Sheffield; with her wit and her charm, she endeared herself to their widower father: stuffy, composed, proper British gentleman, and Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield (played by British actor Charles Shaughnessy).

Drescher appeared in Jack (1996), directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Beautician and the Beast (1997) (for which she was also executive producer) and Picking Up the Pieces (2000) co-starring Woody Allen. She also was the voice of “Pearl” in Shark Bait (2006).

fran ex husbandAfter separating in 1996, Drescher and Jacobson divorced in 1999. They had no children. Drescher stated, “I would have been able to conceive but not hold on”. READ MORE

Drescher has worked to support LGBT rights issues after her ex-husband came out. Drescher has stated that the primary reason for the divorce was her need to change directions in life. Drescher and Jacobson remain friends and business partners.

She has stated that “…we choose to be in each others’ lives in any capacity. Our love is unique, rare, and unconditional; unless he’s being annoying.”
 
Cancer_tattoo_421After two years of symptoms and misdiagnosis by eight doctors, Drescher was admitted to Los Angeles’s Cedars Sinai Hospital on June 21, 2000, after doctors diagnosed her with uterine cancer. She had to undergo an immediate radical hysterectomy to treat the disease. Drescher was given a clean bill of health and no post-operative treatment has been ordered.

She wrote about her experiences in her second book, Cancer Schmancer. Her purpose for this book was to raise consciousness for men and women “to become more aware of the early warning signs of cancer, and to empower themselves.” Drescher says, “I was going to learn what I needed to learn, ask questions, become partners with my doctor instead of having some kind of parent/child relationship.”

On June 21, 2007, the seventh anniversary of her operation, Drescher announced the national launch of the Cancer Schmancer Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all women’s cancers be diagnosed while in Stage 1, the most curable stage.

She celebrated her tenth year of wellness on June 21, 2010.

Fran says: “We need to take control of our bodies, become greater partners with our physicians and galvanize as one to let our legislators know that the collective female vote is louder and more powerful than that of the richest corporate lobbyists.”

Her goal is to live in a time when women’s mortality rates drop as their health care improves and early cancer detection increases. More information can be found on her website at cancerschmancer.org.

Her efforts as an outspoken healthcare advocate in Washington DC helped get unanimous passage for H.R. 1245 (also known as Johanna’s Law) and she is acknowledged in the Congressional Record.
 
 

 
 

OM Times Magazine says: Fran Drescher – Cancer Schmancer.

Fran-Drescher-Cancer-Schmancer-2x300In 1998, Fran Drescher seemed to be at the top of her game with her hit sitcom “The Nanny” enjoying strong ratings in its fifth season. But all was far from well. “For two years, I was bleeding 24/7 and being prescribed different treatments that did not work. I had classic uterine cancer symptoms, but those symptoms mimic so many other diseases,” she recalls.

“It was easier to treat the problem if it was benign, and that’s the kind of treatment I got, including doses of estrogen which only make uterine cancer grow. Despite the fact that the doctors and I heard hooves galloping, we were looking for horses not zebras. My doctors didn’t order the proper diagnostic tests.

At the time, I didn’t know to ask why or why not, because I was just happy to be told I was too young for something! But finally after an endometrial biopsy, my greatest fear was confirmed; I had cancer. It took me two years and eight doctors before finally being told I had a gynecologic cancer,” says Drescher.

In 2000, she underwent a radical hysterectomy at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles where her doctors successfully cured her of her uterine cancer. While her initial response was to feel betrayed by both her body and by the medical community, Drescher doesn’t believe in playing victim. “I was bitter after my surgery,” she recalls. “I was in love and we’d been talking about having a baby. But my boyfriend said I wouldn’t heal as long as I was angry. So that’s when I began to think about the book. Writing it forced me to remember things in hindsight that were actually really funny. Once I struck that note, I never let it go. It’s saved me a million times over. At some point you have to stop kicking, screaming and crying, and play the hand that’s been dealt to you as courageously as you possibly can,” she says.

In September 2008, Drescher, a Democrat, was appointed as a U.S. diplomat by George W. Bush Administration’s Assistant Secretary of State Goli Ameri. Her official title is Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women’s Health Issues. In traveling throughout the world, she will support U.S. public diplomacy efforts, including working with health organizations and women’s groups to raise awareness of women’s health issues, cancer awareness and detection, and patient empowerment and advocacy.

Her first trip was in late September and included stops in Romania, Hungary, Serbia, and Poland.

In 2008, Drescher supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. She attended a Super Democrat rally for Clinton. Drescher said that she had been considering a run for the United States Senate in 2008 to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton, but ultimately decided against it.

fran-drescher300Drescher has been the recipient of the John Wayne Institute’s Woman of Achievement Award, the Gilda Award, the City of Hope Woman of the Year Award, the Hebrew University Humanitarian Award, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Spirit of Achievement Award.

Most recently she was honored with the City of Hope Spirit of Life Award, which was presented to her by Senator Hillary Clinton.

On April 10, 2010, she was guest of honor at the “Dancer against Cancer” charity ball held at the Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria, where she received the first “My Aid Award” for her achievements in support of cancer prevention and rehabilitation.
 
 

 
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A Celebration of Women™

 

welcomes this woman leader into our global alumni with open arms, celebrating her ability to turn adversity into a reason for positive action; and look forward to future collaboration in bettering the lives of all women.

 
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Brava Fran!

 

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Comments

  1. Sally Seldschopf says:

    Ich finde das Bemühen von Fran in der Organisation super.
    Fran als Freundin zu haben wäre schön, den ich schätze Sie sehr.

    Sally

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