This morning, Fran Drescher was on the show to celebrate seven years of being cancer-free and to kick off the Cancer Schmancer Movement -- which seeks to raise cancer awareness, educate women and serve as a policy-driven women's health movement. WATCH VIDEO
I caught up with Fran after her appearance to talk about her famous high school classmate, her political ambitions and the enduring popularity of "The Nanny":
Q: You've talked about the possibility of running for office down the road, maybe running for Congress. What in particular about politics interests you?
Fran Drescher: I like the idea that it's the American dream felt in full force -- that an average girl from Flushing can make a law. I was instrumental in working with lawmakers and special interest groups on Johanna's Law [The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act, passed in 2005]. I was talked about quite wonderfully in the Congressional Record by two U.S. senators for my work to help get the bill passed.
Also, the U.S. State Department has offered me the prestigious role of Special Envoy for Women's Gynecologic Health. I'll be using my international celebrity to speak to women in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and in emerging nations.
Q: I read that there's going to be a new version of "The Nanny" in Indonesia. Are you surprised at how the show has resonated with people all over the world?
FD: It's everywhere. They have the show all throughout Russia, Sony Pictures wants me to go to Poland...It's a #1 hit worldwide, which says a lot about how the story and humor of the show are so universal.
I was honored at the Knesset in Israel for creating a Jewish character that is so balanced. They love the show in the Middle East -- not just in Israel but also in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Q: Did you think it could be so successful when you first came up with the idea?
FD: When we did the pilot, the people were so on board with us, and I knew we had caught lightning in a bottle. All the pieces fit -- it was a miracle. We had the right network president at the right time, who wasn't afraid to take a chance. It all worked out.
Q: You went to Hillcrest High School in New York with another person who would go on to become a TV star --
FD: Yes, Ray Romano.
Q: And he actually appeared in an episode of "The Nanny."
FD: Right. We didn't know each other in high school, and he was the one who actually knew about me. I was more popular in high school, and I think he was more of a loner.
When he told me we had gone to the same high school, I didn't believe him. I thought a CBS publicity person had come up with it. But I looked it up in the school yearbook, and there he was and there I was. Neither of us knew what would become of us.
Q: You've been in an eclectic mix of movies over the years, from Saturday Night Fever to This is Spinal Tap to UHF -- what is your favorite that you've been in?
FD: My favorite is Beautician and the Beast, but I also love American Hot Wax and Spinal Tap. I had such great experiences on so many movies. On Doctor Detroit, I met two of my best friends, Dan Aykroyd and Donna Dixon. On Car 54, Where Are You? I met Rosie O'Donnell. So everything leaves you with something.
Q: What's next on your agenda?
FD: I have some big projects coming up with the Cancer Schmancer organization, including a celebrity PSA project. Later today, I'm taking a meeting about a new production of a Wendy Wasserstein play -- so I'll be meeting the director to see if there's a match there.
I just handed in a children's book I've been writing for Dutton, and I'm developing a daytime talk show. I've also got two feature film screenplays that I'm hoping to direct.