Fran Drescher Talks Life After Cancer, Reminisces About 'The Nanny' and Shares Her Future Career Plans

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The actress opens up to ETonline about her charity, honoring Rosie O' Donnell and getting back into TV.

It’s hard to imagine how someone can turn a life-threatening
illness into a way to help thousands of women take control of their health, but
cancer survivor Fran Drescher is just that kind of woman. While the popular
comedic actress is known for her many performances on television and Broadway, her
most rewarding role has been as creator of the non-profit organization, Cancer
, which recently hosted its first Women’s Health Summit in Los

Curb Your Enthusiasm’s
Cheryl Hines and Drescher’s former TV mom, Renee Taylor, attended the Summit,
which honored Rosie O’ Donnell with the Empowerment through Comedy Award for raising
awareness for women’s heart health.

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Unfortunately, O’Donnell was unable to attend last minute,
but sent in a video from the set of FOX’s Empire
in Chicago. “I will be playing Pepper O’Leary, a baker with a criminal past,
and I’ll be on a couple of times this season,” O’Donnell explained. “When
Frannie asked me to accept an award, which I thought was so kind of her -- she
is the kindest person I know… I support her in every way and everything she
does. This Health Summit is so needed, so wonderful, so empowering to women. I
wish I could be there, I said yes right away and then I got this job. And you
know actors, we need work!”

Following the event, ETonline exclusively caught up with
Drescher to talk about her charity, O’Donnell and getting back into TV. 

ETonline: What was
your goal at the Summit?

Fran Drescher: We
wanted to create an educational conference that would offer people information
that they would never hear from a doctor. We didn’t want to just do a typical
fundraiser, where you sit at round tables and watch a comedian. We had over 400
people who participated in panel discussions that raised awareness about early
warning symptoms, nutrition, reducing their risk of disease and detoxifying
their home. As a cancer survivor, it’s become so important for me to turn pain
into purpose and offer people a way they can take charge of their health. It
was truly a great day.

Rosie O’Donnell has
been dealing with a lot lately, with the troubles surrounding her daughter.

I really love that lady. It is very heartbreaking to see
what Rosie is going through. Her daughter is over 18 and that makes it hard. I
know she hopes at some point to get her into a special needs home where she can
get the help she needs. In the meantime, she has four other kids she shares her
life with. Her heart is always open to her daughter no matter what… time will
tell. It wasn’t nice what her daughter did, acting out publicly.
It’s really a cry for help. Rosie didn’t deserve that. 

It must be so nice to
see your former TV mom, Renee Taylor.

I see Renee often, I love her! She is great -- so very glad
she was able to come. She is very interested in cutting edge and alternative
medicine and always interested in learning new things. And she is always there
to support me. That relationship we shared on camera was exactly the same way
when we were not on set; we genuinely loved each other. And we will always have
the memories from the show.

Do you have a
favorite episode from The Nanny with

There were so many! I like the one where Aunt Ida died and
left me a mink coat. I didn’t want to accept it since I wasn’t wearing fur
for political reasons, but my mom was completely old school about it! She was
so excited her brother's daughter didn’t get it but her daughter did.

Are you writing
something new for yourself to star in?

I have to get back into the saddle. My dear friend of 37
years (former manager Elaine Rich) died on Aug. 13 and I have been grieving
these last several weeks. I just haven’t felt like writing. I am not sure what
my next choice is. I am always offered so many things to do, but it has to be
the right thing. I don’t want to push myself out of the grieving process. I
would also love to write another book. I have a TV series for myself I need to begin writing next
month. I wish to develop something for me and possibly my husband that revolves
around health, prevention, lifestyle and practical tips plus the science behind

You just celebrated
your one-year anniversary with your husband Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai.

Yes! It was a quiet evening at home. Being newly married, I
am trying to put energy into that as well.

You did a terrific
job with Cinderella. Would you go
back to Broadway?

I would go back to Broadway but not anytime soon! It’s
wonderfully enriching while wholly exhausting. 

Do you ever run into
your former castmates from TV Land’s Happily

I see Tichina Arnold and her sister, Zenay. I speak to Rita
Moreno via email as well as Robert Walden. DW Moffet I see all the time, as he
and his wife, Kristal, live nearby.