Fran Drescher is most famous for her iconic portrayal of Fran Fine in the popular sitcom The Nanny. However, she has also taken on another significant role as the president of SAG-AFTRA, the world’s largest actors union, which represents over 160,000 performers.
Drescher, who was elected in September 2021, has led the union in a historic strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association that represents the major Hollywood studios, over issues such as residuals, streaming royalties, diversity, and health care.
The strike, which began on October 18, 2023, was the first major work stoppage in Hollywood since the 2007-2008 writers strike, and affected thousands of productions across film, TV, and streaming platforms. It also sparked a wave of solidarity and support from other unions, celebrities, politicians, and fans.
Drescher, who has been described as a smart, tenacious, and dedicated leader, has used her charm, wit, and Buddhist wisdom to rally the actors and challenge the industry. She has also faced some obstacles and criticisms, such as her stance on vaccine requirements, her appearance at a fashion show in Italy, and her lack of experience in labor negotiations.
But Drescher has proven to be a formidable and influential figure in Hollywood, who has been underestimated by many. As she told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m not a politician. I’m an actor. I’m a union leader. And I’m a Buddhist. And I try to live my life with compassion and kindness and honesty.”
After three weeks of negotiations, Drescher and her team reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP on November 9, 2023, that would end the strike and provide significant gains for the actors, such as increased residuals for streaming, improved diversity and inclusion measures, and enhanced health and safety protocols.
The tentative deal still needs to be ratified by the SAG-AFTRA national board and the union’s members, which could take several weeks. But many actors have already expressed their gratitude and admiration for Drescher and her leadership.
Drescher, who has been praised by both the union and the industry for her role in resolving the strike, said that she was proud of the outcome and hopeful for the future.
– Fran Drescher’s Role of a Lifetime: Leading SAG-AFTRA Strike, The Hollywood Reporter, November 8, 2023
– SAG-AFTRA reaches tentative deal to end strike, USA Today, November 9, 2023
– Hollywood Reacts to Tentative SAG-AFTRA, AMPTP Deal: “We Did It”, The Hollywood Reporter, November 9, 2023
– Actors strike ends: SAG-AFTRA leadership OKs tentative deal with major Hollywood studios, USA Today, November 9, 2023