Charles Shaughnessy is best known for his role as the stuffy, yet dreadfully charming theater producer and father, Maxwell Sheffield, which he played on The Nanny opposite Fran Drescher. The British-born actor played the character for all six seasons of the show, from 1993 to 1999, and is also popular with soap fans, having been a fixture in daytime since he first appeared on Days of Our Lives in 1984. But despite being a steadily working TV actor (and a Baron within the United Kingdom, after inheriting the title), Shaughnessy has always been a low-key celebrity. Read on to find out what the now-67-year-old has been doing since he left Flushing, Queens.
He’s still a soap star.
On Days of Our Lives, Shaughnessy played Shane Donovan, a secret agent sent to Salem to investigate Stefano DiMero, regularly from 1984 to 1992, and then off and on through 2021, including on the spinoff limited series, Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem. (He also played Shane’s identical twin brother, Drew.) But while he’ll always be Shane to some, Shaughnessy’s most recent soap opera role is on General Hospital, where he took over the role of Victor Cassadine, who had previously been played by Thaao Penghlis and was presumed to be dead for seven years. Shaughnessy said of the role to Soap Opera Digest, “It’s really kind of unique to the soap universe that you can do this. That a character will die and be resurrected by different actors. In the soap world, you can take a character that’s been established and put your twist on it, your little spin. It’s a fun character, a complex character to play.”
Shaughnessy is still recurring on General Hospital, and fans shouldn’t count out another return to the Days of Our Lives universe either.
He’s appeared in dozens of other shows and movies.
After The Nanny ended, Shaughnessy had more on his plate than just soap operas. Over the years, he’s appeared in shows including Mad Men, Veronica Mars, Castle, Modern Family, and NCIS. He’s popped up in lots of children’s shows, like Hannah Montana and Victorious, and several TV movies. The actor has also lent his distinguished voice to several video games.
He’s reunited with his The Nanny castmates recently.
The cast of The Nanny all appear to have remained close in the years since the sitcom went off the air. Recent reunions include Shaughnessy, Benjamin Salisbury (who played Brighton), Drescher, and Lauren Lane (who played C.C.) supporting Renée Taylor, who played Fran’s mom Sylvia, at her one-woman show, My Life on a Diet, in 2019. (Pictured above.) Then, in 2021, Shaughnessy, his wife Susan Fallender, daughters Jenny and Maddy, and son-in-law Jonathan battled it out with Drescher and her team on Celebrity Family Feud.
Given that every 1990s sitcom seems to have gotten a reboot, it’s understandable that Shaughnessy and his former co-stars have been asked if they’re interested. While he’s skeptical that they could recapture the magic, he’d still want to be involved.
“It would be a lot of fun. It’s hard because people see The Nanny now, it’s 30 years old, so we’re all different,” Shaughnessy told People in 2021. “I’m a lot older. [Drescher’s] a lot older. The kids are a lot older. You see that and you kind of want to recreate that, but it’s un-recreatable. I have questions about reboots, in general, but if someone comes up with it and offers me to revisit Maxwell Sheffield, I’d be delighted.”
He hosted a quarantine podcast.
While everyone was holed up in their homes during the COVID lockdown, Shaughnessy hosted a podcast on Facebook Live called Conversations in Quarantine, sponsored by the Robert F. Kennedy Action Corps. He spoke to all sorts of people, including other actors from his soap operas and producers from The Nanny. While it’s no longer ongoing, all of the videos can be found on Facebook. And if you’d like to gift someone a greeting from Shaughnessy (or Mr. Sheffield), you can book with the actor on Cameo.