‘The Nanny’ Star, Charles Shaughnessy, Sold Adult Films Before Landing His Starring Role in the 1990s Hit Sitcom

Charles Shaughnessy is best known, now, for playing Maxwell Sheffield in The Nanny. The famed 1990s sitcom was a longstanding success because of Maxwell’s romantic chemistry with Fran Fine, portrayed by Fran Drescher. Shaughnessy wasn’t always a sitcom star, though. Before he broke into acting in the 1980s, he worked as a telephone salesman, peddling adult films. 

Charles Shaughnessy recalled selling adult movies over the phone before landing his first big role 

Shaughnessy sat down for an interview with Studio 10 in 2018 and discussed his life before he became a soap opera and, then, a sitcom star. Shaughnessy revealed that he once took a job selling X-rated videotapes over the phone. He said he thought he’d be great at the gig, but he wasn’t a great salesman in the end. 

Charles Shaughnessy as Maxwell Sheffield is photographed sitting in a leather chair against a backdrop of the New YorK City skyline
Charles Shaughnessy | CBS via Getty Images

Shaughnessy recalled that his accent was more pronounced when he first arrived in the United States. He went on to claim that the pronounced British accent might have scared some would-be customers off, even if the X-rated deal he was offering was too good to pass up. It was all for the best, though. Eventually, he went on to make a living as a swoon-worthy television star. 

Charles Shaughnessy made a name for himself as a soap opera star before landing The Nanny 

While Shaughnessy is best known for his role in The Nanny now, it isn’t where he got his start. Long before The Nanny, Shaughnessy joined the cast of Days of Our Lives. Shaughnessy’s character, Shane Donovan, appeared in Salem in 1984 as an ISA agent. He hooked up with Kimberly Brady, and the two married.

Shane Donovan and Kimberly Brady get married on 'Days of our Lives'
Patsy Pease as Kimberly Brady Donovan and Charles Shaughnessy as Shane Donovan | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Shaughnessy appeared in the show from 1984 until 1992. He then took a lengthy break to film The Nanny. Following the sitcom’s end, Shaughnessy involved himself in several other television and film productions before returning to Days of Our Lives. He reappeared on the soap opera in 2002 and has made several more guest appearances since. His most recent string of episodes came in 2017. Shaughnessy has appeared as Shane in more than 1,000 episodes, according to IMDb

A reboot of The Nanny could happen 

It has been 22 years since fans last caught up with Maxwell and Fran, but that doesn’t mean their story is gone for good. In recent years, Drescher has alluded to a potential reboot of the series. Shaughnessy has spoken briefly about the possibility, too.

Maxwell Sheffield and Fran Fine embrace on a deserted island after being lost at sea on their honeymoon on the hit show, 'The Nanny'
Fran Fine and Maxwell Sheffield | CBS via Getty Images

Shaughnessy recently spoke with the Daily Mail and said one of Drescher’s ideas for a reboot is “genius,” but all of the working parts would need to come together for it to happen. He did not go into detail about the plan, and it looks like fans will need to wait for any more information. No official announcement about a reboot has been made.