Renée Taylor was born in the Bronx, New York to Frieda (née Silverstein) and Charles Wexler. She worked as a comedian in the early 1960s at the New York City nightclub Bon Soir. Her opening act was a then unknown Barbra Streisand. She earned notice for her portrayal of Eva Braun in Mel Brooks’s The Producers (1967), and continued to act in several film, television, and theater productions. However, despite an impressive, 50-year resume, she is better remembered as Sylvia Fine, the overbearing, classic Jewish mother of Fran Drescher’s title character in The Nanny (1993).
Before signing with director Stanley Donen to play Michael Caine’s libidinous best friend in Blame It on Rio (1984), Joe Bologna netted rave reviews for his Sid Caesar send-up in the well-received comedy My Favorite Year (1982) with Peter O’Toole. Well known as both a writer and an actor, Bologna dates his interest in the theater from his student days at Brown University, when a casting notice called for “non-actor” types to fill roles in a stage production of “Stalag 17.” He landed the leading part but did not act again for ten years. Bologna graduated from Brown with a degree in art history, and a tour with the Marines followed. When he was discharged from the service, he started directing short films and writing special comedy material.
After marrying in 1965, Taylor and Bologna co-wrote the Broadway hit comedy, “Lovers and Other Strangers”, and received an Oscar nomination for writing the 1970 film adaptation. They wrote and costarred in the romantic comedy, Made for Each Other (1971), and won an Emmy for writing the 1973 TV special, Acts of Love and Other Comedies (1973). They also co-directed and co-starred in the film, It Had to Be You (1989), adapted from their play.