Daniel Davis played the wise-cracking butler Niles on classic ’90s sitcom The Nanny.
And the 75-year-old actor has now revealed how he landed the role, telling Australian morning show Studio 10 he couldn’t believe his luck when he got the call.
The Broadway actor explained he’d auditioned for the part against screen legend Roddy McDowall and so didn’t think he had a chance.
Niles: The Nanny’s Daniel Davis, 75, made a rare appearance on Australian TV on Wednesday, as he revealed how he snagged the iconic part of Niles the Butler on the 90s hit sitcom
He revealed that Fran Drescher, who played the titular nanny on the show, had gently teased him about his defeatist attitude.
Imitating Fran’s unique voice, Daniel said: ‘She told me, “I bet you when you came into CBS you thought it was going to be Roddy McDowall!”
‘I said, “Yes, actually. I really did.”‘
Starring role: Imitating Fran Drescher, he said: ‘[She said] I bet you when you came into CBS you thought it was going to be Roddy McDowall,’ he said, before she gave him the part
He then revealed that Fran had lobbied for him to get the part because she didn’t want to be upstaged by Roddy.
‘She said, “No, because then it would be the Roddy McDowall show and this is the Fran Drescher show!” So right away I knew where I would be standing,’ Daniel said.
During the run of The Nanny, Niles’ nemesis C.C. Babcock, played by Lauren Lane, was often the butt of the butler’s witty barbs.
He said that Lauren actually complained to the writers during the forth season about her character being mocked so often
Quips: During the run of the series, Daniel explained that Lauren complained about always being the butt of Niles’ witty quips. Here with Fran Drescher
‘I can’t stand it! You have to start giving me some comeback,’ he claimed she’d said.
The Nanny was screened in more than 30 countries, with several A-listers making cameos – including future U.S. President Donald Trump.
Daniel said Trump was less than personable after he complimented the business mogul on one of his Columbus Circle buildings in New York.
Not so nice! Daniel said former President Donald Trump was less-than-personable after he complimented him on one of his Columbus Circle high rises in New York
Daniel explained: ‘I said to him one day, “I was just in New York about a month ago and that incredible building you are building in Columbus Circle, I would love to live in that building.”
Daniel said Trump had replied: ‘You couldn’t afford it.’
In contrast, he dazzled by Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, who was a delight to work with despite making ‘so many demands’ in her contract.
‘They had to repaint her dressing room, everything had to be lavender, there was one kind of bottled water for her, another kind for the dog,’ he said.
Dazzling: ‘They had to repaint her dressing room, everything had to be lavender, there was one kind of bottled water for her, another kind for the dog,’ he said of Elizabeth Taylor. Here: 1959
Turning his attention to his own storyline of Niles marrying C.C. Babcock, Daniel acknowledged it was a mistake.
‘I don’t think Lauren or I ever understood it,’ he said. ‘It baffled the hell out of me. It was so weird.’
Daniel is now a massive star on celebrity shout-out app Cameo, where he records message for fans while in character as Niles.
Cameo king: Daniel is now a massive star of Cameo. He records message of fans of the beloved show and Niles. ‘I try to image what Niles is up to in 2021,’ he said