What Happened to C.C. Babcock from ‘The Nanny’?

What Happened to C.C. Babcock from ‘The Nanny’?

Actress Lauren Lane tells VICE what it was really like being on a sitcom in the 90s and what came next when she left it all behind.
On the one hand, she was a pretentious classist who let her unrequited love for Mr. Sheffield dictate her every move. On the other, she was a successful theater tycoon who didn’t feel the need to conform to traditional domestic or maternal expectations.

Flinging zingers as sharp as her blonde bob, the uptight, no-nonsense C.C. Babcock was the perfect foil to Fran Fine’s carefree, flashy girl from Flushing. Audiences loved to hate her as much as she hated Fran, but over the years, C.C. has become an icon in her own right.
Decades after its 1993 debut on CBS, The Nanny fans now argue that “the beloved sitcom actually did one of its most dynamic characters dirty.” There’s a rotisserie chicken restaurant in Sydney, Australia, named CC Babcoq in her honor. And when The Nanny arrived on HBO Max in April, floods of tweets appreciating both the show and Lauren Lane’s performance as C.C. popped off.

“I’m learning 30 years later, oh my God, this meant so much to people,” Lane said via video from her home in Austin, Texas. But during her run on the show, Lane privately faced her own obstacles. And after The Nanny ended, she felt effectively forced out of Hollywood and chose to reinvent a life for herself completely separate from her sitcom past.

Here, Lane opens up to VICE about her experiences within an ageist, sexist, sizeist industry and how she carved her own path beyond what Hollywood expected.
Getting discovered
Born Laura Lane in Oklahoma—she later changed her name to Lauren since there was already a “Laura Lane” in the Screen Actors Guild—and raised in Texas, Lane’s life was a far cry from that of the wealthy Ms. Babcock.

“I come from a lower middle class, Southern, Oklahoma-Texas family. I didn’t come from sophisticated folks who were like, ‘Well, maybe you’ll do something important later,’” she said. “I didn’t have that pressure.”
Lane put the pressure on herself. After getting her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington, she went on to study at the prestigious American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Soon after graduating, she was performing in a staging of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya with the ACT when an NBC television scout offered her a development deal with the network.

“I was literally like, ‘Okay!’ because I had $65,000 in graduate debt to be an actor. So it was a miracle. I was the only one of my class that went to LA,” she said. “I knew I was funny. And I knew I loved doing comedy based on theater stuff I’d done. But, probably, if I’m honest, I wanted to be Meryl Streep—but I’m not Meryl Streep.”

Her development deal led to multiple episode arcs on the crime drama Hunter and legal series LA Law and, eventually, a dream audition for the HBO sitcom The Larry Sanders Show.

“I call my casting category ‘evil vixen,’ whether it’s comedy or drama. I think it’s because I’m tall and I have a deep voice,” she said. “They’re just like, ‘Yeah, you have a deep voice. That’s for sure evil.’”

The casting director for The Larry Sanders Show happened to also be in charge of The Nanny and decided Lane would be perfect in the “evil vixen” role on that show instead.

And [to the tune of The Nanny theme song] that’s how she became C.C.
The lady in tan
The Nanny premiered on CBS in November 1993 to modest ratings, but it soon developed a loyal following. Over the course of six seasons it became a staple of network TV and, ultimately, a 90s classic. Lane’s appreciation of the series was an equally slow burn.

“At the time, I was ambitious in a different way. I think that’s the best way to put it,” Lane said. “I respect everybody that did that show. It gave me what I have today and it’s why I’m talking to you. But at the time, I didn’t get it. I didn’t get that people loved it.”

After wrapping up each day on the show’s Culver City set, she’d spend her nights performing with Tim Robbins’ experimental theater company, The Actors’ Gang. She felt embodying a “sophisticated clown” on a family sitcom didn’t exactly play to her strengths.
“I was living in this world of like, ‘I’m a classically trained theater actress, and ‘The Nanny’ is a great job. I’m happy, I’m grateful. But it’s not what I’m going to end up doing, and not what I’m good at,’” she said. “Now, at my age, I’m like, ‘You are so silly. You were so blind.’ I wish I’d been smarter about it.”

And despite playing a key supporting role on a major series, Lane’s life changed remarkably little. “I could pay my bills, and I could save money. That was a drastic change for a poor graduate student and I never lost sight of it,” she said. She did receive her share of fan letters. “Lots from prison,” she noted. “Evil vixens were their thing.”

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