Fran Drescher talks health, Cancer Schmancer, and a 'Nanny' reboot

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Actress Fran Drescher attends the 2015 Health Hero Awards hosted by WebMD at the Times Center on Nov. 5, 2015, in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for WebMD)
Actress Fran Drescher attends the 2015 Health Hero Awards hosted by WebMD at the Times Center on Nov. 5, 2015, in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for WebMD)

It’s been almost 25 years since Fran Drescher’s The Nanny premiered, and although the show made her legendary, it has not defined her legacy. For Drescher, a two-year struggle with trying to get the proper diagnosis for cancer led her to another passion and purpose when she founded the Cancer Schmancer Movement. The organization is committed to early detection and prevention, and it was Drescher’s own bout with uterine cancer that inspired it.

Last week, Drescher discussed the importance of cancer prevention, causation, and early detection through education as the keynote speaker at Healthline’s “State of Cancer” event in New York. At the panel, she discussed her latest updates and research from Cancer Schmancer.

While working to help reduce cancer risks, Drescher is still very much involved in the entertainment industry. Yahoo Lifestyle caught up with Drescher about health, The Nanny, and the lasting style of the iconic Fran Fine.

Yahoo Lifestyle: In the past several years, the Cancer Schmancer Movement has become the central focus of your career. At what point did that really take shape as your passion and career?

Fran Drescher: I feel like I got famous, I got cancer, and I lived to talk about it. After two years of going to eight doctors and still being in stage I, I had a higher purpose. This happened for a reason. At least that’s what I like to believe and help make sense out of the senseless. I’m always very active in my show business career so that I continue to have a potent platform, from which I can speak to my passions: health, civil liberties, arts, and education. The health thing, because it personally impacted me, is a very big thing, and I founded the organization for that reason. I mean, I just did a movie, I was just on Broad City, I just recorded Hotel Transylvania 3, I’m in development now with a Broadway musical and I’m now writing an independent film and possibly a new series for me.

Oh, wow. What would a new series entail?

Well, it would be a comedy. But this has given me a depth to my life. It’s resonated a level of compassion and deeper feelings, which has actually made me a better actor too. It’s connected me more to who I am. It’s given me a life of purpose.

What do you think about people who are in the entertainment industry with big platforms who don’t use their fame to advocate for something to help people?

I find it very disappointing and a waste of celebrity. If you’re a celebrity and you’re not using it for the greater good, you’re wasting it. I don’t really understand it myself. Being famous doesn’t necessarily make you a together person, a feeling person, or an aware person. It may give you an excuse to be about “me, me, me.” I’ve learned that over the years. Besides being famous and having done something, we don’t know how screwed up they are in the head. It’s even harder to face yourself when you’re surrounded by “yes” people.

There have obviously been rumors of a Nanny reboot. Has there been any progress with that?

Well, I’m involved with everything with The Nanny. The old series is starting all over again Jan. 1 on Cozi TV, which is a subsidiary of NBC. I would be open to doing a reboot and so would our parent company, Sony. Of course I would be heavily involved in every step of that.

Would it pick up where it left off, or would it be a new set of characters altogether?

That’s the question. I think it would have to pick up where it left off because 20 years later I’m still the nanny trying to get him to like me. I think we’d have to honor the fans. But we have yet to find a place that wants to do it. In spite of the fact that the numbers are out there, the fandom of it prevails. I myself have always been nurturing that fandom online. We’ve not yet found the right home for it. I wish CBS would wake up and realize there’s a series here with the original cast and there’s a fandom that’s chomping at the bit to see it. But timing is everything and I don’t like to swim upstream, and maybe I’m supposed to be doing something else, and I’m not beyond thinking that way. So, I’m a writer and a producer. I’ve been in the Fran Drescher business for a long time and I can come up with something else. I’ll still be me — I’ll still be Fran. We’re putting a constellation of my writers together to figure something out.

Your character Fran Fine became such a style icon. Why do you think her style resonated so much with the public over time?

The show is an anomaly. It was a miracle we even got on the air, and it was an instant success. I think the clothes were as popular as the nanny herself and remain so. Brenda Cooper was the designer — she’s an Emmy winner as a result. I’m extremely grateful It was a big, glamorous, fun show with a great big heart, and people always want that.

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