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‘The Nanny’ star Charles Shaughnessy feels like Canadian royalty

TORONTO — Most people recognize Charles Shaughnessy as Maxwell Sheffield from the long-running TV sitcom The Nanny — but he’s officially the Right Hon. Lord Shaughnessy.

During an appearance Tuesday on Global’s The Morning Show, the 58-year-old actor said he feels a bit like Canadian royalty.

Though born in England to screenwriter-producer Alfred Shaughnessy and actress Jean Lodge, he’s the great-grandson of T.G. Shaughnessy, an American who came to Montreal to work for Canadian Pacific Railway.

After playing a key role in saving the company from bankruptcy in 1885, T.G. Shaughnessy was promoted to vice-president. Later, as president, he oversaw the expansion of CP Rail, including the addition of 7,000 kilometres of tracks and the launch of Atlantic Steamship Lines.

Shaughnessy House in Montreal was declared a National Historic Site in 1974 and Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood is named in his memory.

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T.G. Shaughnessy was elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1916 as Baron Shaughnessy, which makes Charles the fifth and current holder of the title.

As proud as he is of his history, the star is most proud of the fact that he and wife Susan Fallender are about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Their secret? “Obviously, you have to work at it,” he said. “There are periods early on when you just have to stick to the fact that you’ve committed to each other and know that it’s going to pay off.”

Shaughnessy said he and his wife are “more in love than we’ve ever been.”

His marriage to Fran Drescher on The Nanny, on the other hand, is seen by many as the show’s “jump the shark” moment.

Shaughnessy agrees.

“Once you get married [on a show] where it’s all built on that sexual tension, you know that you’re letting the air out of a balloon, so to speak,” he said. “So we knew it was ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ in a way. But it was still fun. We had another season after that, but you’re kind of committed to something different then.”
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Charles Shaughnessy is starring in Game Show at the Stage West Theatre Restaurant in Mississauga, Ont. until June 25.

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