Fran Drescher Takes Center Stage as Actors Union Leader

Fran Drescher Takes Center Stage as Actors Union Leader

The stage was different and the tone was also different. But the voice was clear.

Possessor of a distinctive nasal, Queens-splitter accent, Fran Drescher made a name for herself in Hollywood thanks to her lead role on the sitcom “The Nanny.” On Thursday, she appeared in front of dozens of cameras as president of the actors’ union, which voted unanimously earlier in the day, to go on strike, and delivered a fiery argument reflecting the stakes of the decision.

“The eyes of the world, and especially of Labour, are on us,” Ms Drescher said. “What happens to us is important. What is happening to us is happening to all sectors of labor.”

He shook his fists in anger. “I’m appalled by the way people we’ve done business with are treating us!” He continued. “this is sick. shame on them!”

Ms Drescher is the latest in a long line of familiar faces – Ronald Reagan, Patty Duke and Charlton Heston – to run for SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents thousands of screen actors. But it also amounts to a surprising plot twist in his long career.

As Thursday’s press conference made clear, he is now a prominent face of the revitalized labor movement nationally. How she handles it in the coming weeks, and possibly, months, could help determine the fate of 160,000 actors.

The actors’ strike, which will take effect on Friday, is a crisis point for Hollywood, which has already been shaken by sweeping technological changes in recent years, including the pandemic and the rise of streaming, and the steady decline of cable television and the box office. Return. Hollywood writers have been on strike for months, and now that actors are joining them – the first time since the 1960s that both are on strike at the same time – the industry will essentially shut down.

Ms. Drescher, 65, has spent several decades acting in Hollywood in both television and film. Since her most prominent role to date, her starring role in “The Nanny” in the 1990s, she has appeared sporadically in television and feature films. He most recently starred in a short-lived sitcom for NBC called “Indeed”, which ran for 12 episodes before being canceled in 2020.

He has long expressed concern about corporate greed, captioning photographs with slogans such as “Stop capitalist greed now”. That was enough for New York Magazine Title on 2017 Blog Post“Your new favorite anti-capitalist symbol is Fran Drescher.”

A few years later, in 2021, Ms. Drescher won election to the guild president’s post in a hotly contested race against actor Matthew Modine. They represented different factions: Ms. Drescher for the organization Unite for Strength party, and Mr. Modine for Membership First, an upstart group.

The race got so heated that Mr. Modin accused Ms. Drescher of spreading lies about him allegedly said“I’m ashamed of Fran Drescher, I’m disappointed. But after she is gone, she will be judged by the people of the world, or whatever god she worships.

Unlike screenwriters, who have gone on strike several times over the decades and have historically been united, actors are more known for their infighting. Hollywood had been preparing for the writers’ strike since the beginning of the year – but few senior executives and producers were ready for the actors’ resolve to meet the strike.

When Ms Drescher came to power she vowed to bring the union together to bring an end For “passive division in this union”.

When the actors agreed to the strike authority, it was with a vote of 97.9 percent—an astonishing figure that surpassed even the writers’ important strike authority. Last month, membership first, opposition party, Supported Ms. Drescher’s re-election bid.

Still, some of his public statements and actions in recent weeks have left many actors confused.

In late June, days before the actors’ contracts were to expire, Ms. Drescher and the union’s lead negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, released a video that unsurprisingly excited many viewers given the high stakes of the negotiation .

“I just want to assure you that we are having a very productive conversation that focuses on all the important issues that you told us are most important to you,” she said, wearing a military jacket. “We’re standing firm, and we’re going to get a great deal!”

A few days later, more than 1,000 actors, including Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence, signed a letter to the union leadership expressing concern that they were not heeding their wish to strike. “We hope that, on our part, you will meet that moment and not miss it,” the letter said.

Ms. Drescher – curiously, given her position – added her signature to the letter.

On Monday, days before the actors’ contracts were to expire, Drescher attracted attention on another front: She was attending a couture Dolce & Gabbana fashion show in Puglia, Italy, where she posed for photos with Kim Kardashian. . To her 362 million Instagram followers, Ms Kardashian said of Ms Drescher: “To my fashion icon! Always on my mood board! I really love this woman!”

The response was quick and swift. “General Hospital” actress Nancy Lee Grahn questioned whether the photo was a joke. “I hope it is not true. This can not happen. No one can be so stupid,” he wrote on Twitter.

In a statement, a spokesman for the actors’ union said Ms Drescher was acting as a “brand ambassador” for Dolce & Gabbana, and the commitment was “fully known to the negotiating committee.” Mr Crabtree-Ireland described criticism of Ms Drescher’s appearance at the fashion show as “outrageous” and “disgusting”.

Ms Drescher addressed the issue at a press conference on Thursday. “It was absolutely the right thing to do,” he said. She also said that she kept talking to the interlocutors from abroad. “I was in hair and makeup for three hours a day, walking on cobblestones in heels. Doing things that are work. Not fun.”

While Mr. Crabtree-Ireland spoke from a teleprompter at the news conference, Ms. Drescher spoke without thinking.

“Wake up and smell the coffee,” she said of the studio. “We demand respect! You cannot exist without us!”

“They’re standing on the wrong side of history this time,” he said, pointing his finger at Camera Banks. “We stand in unprecedented unity. Our union, our sister unions and unions across the world stand with us.”

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