Picks and Pans Review: Enter Whining
Once you hear it, you can never forget it: Fran Drescher's air-raid siren of a voice. Of course, without that distinctively nasal delivery, Drescher probably wouldn't be the pop icon she is today. The winsome actress, once compared to Lucille Ball, has racked up a hit TV series (CBS's The Nanny, which is now in its third season), her own line of lipstick, a children's cartoon special and several juicy movie roles, all thanks—at least in part—to her signature, raise-the-dead voice.
In fact, you can almost hear the whine while reading Drescher's new autobiography, a large-type, photo-heavy affair that is pleasantly chatty and free of pretension. It is the feel-good story of how a gum-snapping girl from the New York City borough of Queens—who likes big hair and the exclamation oy!—ends up in Hollywood doing a nude scene with Robin Williams in the 1990 farce Cadillac Man, dodging an amorous Warren Beatty at an audition, accidentally setting herself on fire in front of CBS executives at a party and finally hitting it big with The Nanny, which she dreamed up and produced together with her husband, Peter Marc Jacobson.
But the most telling chapter is Drescher's candid account of having been raped by an intruder who broke into her home in 1987. Traumatized, Drescher nearly fled Hollywood, but therapy helped her emerge, she says, "a survivor as a woman in a sometimes violent man's world." The unsinkable kid from Queens isn't a whiner, she's a winner. (Regan-Books, $22)