In the mid-1990s, one of the most popular sitcoms on TV was The Nanny. Starring Fran Drescher as nanny Fran Fine, the series often had guests like Ray Charles, Elizabeth Taylor and, in one notable episode, both Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump. Although Trump’s screen time in this episode was no more than a minute, he had a very specific demand for his appearance.
Trump was well-known for his business ventures and celebrity status in the ’90s and was sought after for guest appearances on television and movies. Trump had appeared in several on-screen roles throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, briefly making it a full-time career with The Apprentice before refocusing on his real estate businesses.
A Season 4 episode of The Nanny titled “The Rosie Show” follows nanny Fran Fine as she hosts a weekly childcare segment on Rosie O’Donnell’s TV show. Following her rapid rise to fame on this segment, Fran is busy with parties, meet and greets and dates. One of these dates is none other than Donald Trump, as himself.
His scene is brief, no more than a minute, with two lines of dialogue. Fran is introducing Trump to her boss, Maxwell Sheffield. When she starts to introduce them, she catches herself and says, “Oh, all you handsome zillionaires know each other.” Originally, the line was “all you handsome millionaires know each other.” It was this original line that Trump had a problem with.
In an interview with SheKnows, Drescher explains that after reading the script, Trump’s people sent a note demanding a change be made so the line would read “billionaire” instead of “millionaire.” Instead of agreeing to his request, Drescher changed the line to “zillionaire,” which is how the final scene remained. Nanny co-creator and Drescher’s ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson thought the request so hilarious that he kept the note and framed it. That note still hangs in his office today, even as Trump’s wealth and accomplishments have grown over the last two decades.
In the early 1990s, Trump had fallen off of Forbes’ list of billionaires and reports on his actual net worth varied. By the early 2000s, he had again climbed the ranks and was allegedly a billionaire once more. His wealth and influence grew from there. Today he is estimated to be worth over two billion dollars. In the two decades since his Nanny appearance, Trump has come a long way. He went from demanding the title of “billionaire” on a ’90s sitcom to commanding the most powerful office in the world as President of the United States.