How Fran Drescher Became President Of The SAG

Fran Drescher is best known for her fashionable character Fran Fine in "The Nanny." Not only was she a lead actress in the '90s sitcom, but Drescher was the executive producer and writer. The comedian has produced, acted, and written several works. However, you rarely see Drescher in Hollywood anymore because she's working magic behind the scenes.

Since 2021, Drescher has been the president of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. As an activist for equality and health, it is no surprise the Hollywood star used her platform to defend others. "I've always felt like I could be protective of those who are marginalized," the Cancer Schmancer nonprofit founder shared with Interview Magazine. "I know how to argue on behalf of someone."

Drescher is putting those skills to use in the wake of the SAG-AFTRA strike. As president, the A-lister is leading the way for entertainers of all sorts to receive fair condensation and treatment. But how did "The Nanny" star go from onscreen diva to union leader?

Fran Drescher beat Matthew Modine for SAG-AFTRA president

Fran Drescher's work in the entertainment industry will never be forgotten. However, the waves she created in the social and political scene will go down in history. The "Enter Whining" author created the Cancer Schmancer Foundation in 2007 after surviving uterine cancer. Her organization got the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act passed in Washington. She was the U.S. State Department Public Diplomacy Envoy for Health under Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Secretary Hillary Clinton. Plus, Washingtonian named the actress one of the top celebrity lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

Drescher's activism and leadership gave her the edge against Membership First party candidate Matthew Modine. Running under the Unite for Strength party, Drescher clinched the SAG-AFTRA presidency in a 52.5% to 47.5% victory. As the union leader, she represents over 160,000 actors and performers.

After securing the election win, Drescher released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying, "I am honored to serve my union in this capacity. Together we will navigate through these troubled times of global health crisis and together we will rise up out of the melee to do what we do best, entertain and inform."

Since taking over from her predecessor, Gabrielle Carteris, in 2021, Drescher is faced with her most difficult task as president — leading the first actors' strike since 1986.

The first SAG-AFTRA strike of the 21st century

The Write Guild of America went on strike on May 2, 2023, after a deal wasn't reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. On July 14, 2023, the SAG-AFTRA joined the picket lines. It has been over six decades since both writers and actors were on strike simultaneously. Union president Fran Drescher wanted to avoid a strike but revealed the studios were overcome by greed forcing her hand.

In an interview with MSNBC, Drescher explained, "The entire business model has changed and they're still just thinking that we're going to be satisfied with incremental changes from a contract that was forged in 1960." The previous agreement is outdated thanks to A.I. and streaming services integrated into the industry. While talks show hosts, reality TV personalities, and your favorite soap stars might still work despite the actors' strike in Hollywood, this movement will affect many trying to earn a liveable wage doing what they love.

"The majority of our members are just working-class people trying to get jobs to feed their family and to pay their rent," Drescher shared. "This is the people that we are really going to the mat for because they are getting hurt the worst and getting marginalized to an extent where it cannot be tolerated anymore, so you know it's imperative that we don't settle."