Days of Our Lives
British TV and movie actor of Irish descent Charles Shaughnessy gained fame and recognition while portraying Shane Donovan in the long-running daytime soap “Days of Our Lives” (1984-1992), where he took home three Soap Opera Digest Awards. He further cemented his reputation as TV star with his portrayal of Maxwell Sheffield, opposite Fran Drescher, on the highly successful sitcom “The Nanny” (1993-1999). In 2002, Shaughnessy won a Daytime Emmy Award for his voice-work in the Disney animated series “Stanley” (2001), as Dennis the goldfish. Among his other TV credits are the miniseries “Till We Meet Again” (1989), Everything to Gain (1996), Moms Got A Date With A Vampire (2000), Get a Clue (2002), as well as memorable guest appearances on “Murphy Brown” and “Mad About You” (both 1993) and a recurring role on Drescher’s sitcom “Living with Fran” (2005-2006).
As a film actor, Shaughnessy has played roles in such film as Denial (1998), Second Chances (1998) and The Painting (2001), Kids in America (2005), and more recently Dorm Daze 2 (2006). He will be cast as Dr./Mr. Wilkinson in director W. Scott Peake’s upcoming comedy/drama What We Did on Our Holidays (2006).
“Who is my biggest inspiration? Wow...I really, without wanting to sound “aw gee shucks,” I’d have to say my wife who taught a rather uptight Englishman what there is to be got out of life. Susan is my greatest inspiration. She has more integrity than anyone I know and integrity is more important than anything for a happy and successful life.” Charles Shaughnessy
As for his private life, Shaughnessy has spent his life outside the limelight with his wife of 23 years, actress Susan Falleder. The couple have two young daughters, Jenny and Madelyn.
Son of Entertainers
Childhood and Family:
Charles Shaughnessy was born on February 9, 1955, in London, England, to showbiz parents. His father, writer/director Alfred Shaughnessy, is the former principal writer and script editor for “Upstairs, Downstairs” and his mother was an actress. He is the brother of actor/director David Shaughnessy, who worked on the 1965 CBS series “The Young and the Restless.” Charles graduated from Eton College and earned his BA in Law at Magdalene College of Cambridge University. Upon graduation, he attended a drama school in London.
Charles relocated to Hollywood to follow his lover, actress Susan Falleder, whom he met while in drama school. They finally married on May 21, 1983. His wife gave birth to their first daughter, Jenny Shaugnessy, in 1990, and their second daughter, Madelyn Shaughnessy, was born five years later.
Born into a show business family, London-born and raised Charles Shaughnessy began performing in school productions while still in grade school. However, after graduating from college, he majored in Law at Cambridge rather than pursued an acting career. He said, “Despite a lifelong love of the theater, I thought it was about time someone in my family did something sensible.”
While in Cambridge, Shaughnessy became a member of the renowned “Footlights Revue” comedy group, and made his return to his first love, acting, after receiving his BA. He then enrolled in a London’s drama school, a stint that led to him to touring in a repertory company for a year. Shaughnessy made his TV-series bow with a guest starring role as John Rennie in the Agatha Christie serial “Partners in Crime” (1983) before landing a starring role in the BBC drama “Jury,” that same year. After moving to America, he won a four day role in the long-running ABC series “General Hospital” (1983).
Following appearances at the Los Angeles Theater, the LAAT, The Mark Taper Forum, the Globe Playhouse and the Ahmanson along side the late Alan Bates in “A Patriot for Me,” Shaughnessy was cast in the role of Shane Donovan in the NBC daytime series “Days of Our Lives,” a role that put him on the spotlight. During his seven years tenure from 1984 to 1992, the actor displayed attraction and strength that won him three Soap Opera Digests for Outstanding New Actor (1985), Favorite Daytime Super Couple (1986) and Favorite Super Couple (1988). Additionally, his character’s romance with the character of Patsy Pease made the duo into a soap super couple and stimulated interest in Days among young audiences in the ‘80s. While costarring on the soap opera, Shaughnessy also starred with Hugh Grant, Michael York and Courteney Cox in the British miniseries Judith Krantz’s “Till We Meet Again” (1989).
Shaughnessy then gave well-received guest performances on “Murphy Brown” and “Mad About You” (both 1993), but the actor did not create huge impact on audiences until he played the role of Maxwell Sheffield, the cool, calm, uppercrust British widower and Broadway producer whose family both comes detached and is recovered by the entrance of the Nanny from Flushing, New York (played by Fran Drescher), on the CBS series “The Nanny.” Premiered in 1993, the show was an immediate success that resulted in being CBS’ biggest sitcom hit since “Murphy Brown” in 1987. He stayed with the show until it departed the airways in 1999.
With The Nanny’s fame, Shaughnessy’s career received much boost. He could be seen acting in numerous TV movies such as A Kiss So Deadly (1996, opposite Charlotte Ross), Everything to Gain (1996), The New Adventures of Spin and Marty: Suspect Behavior (2000), Disney’s Moms Got A Date With A Vampire (2000, with Caroline Rhea) and Get a Clue (2002, along side Lindsay Lohan). He also appeared in the big screen movie Denial (1998, with Patrick Dempsey and Jason Alexander), Second Chances (1998) and The Painting (2001, costarred with Clifton Davis).
A regular voice-over actor, Shaughnessy, who has done many animated series, was handed a 2002 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for his voice-work as Dennis the goldfish in the animated Disney cartoon “Stanley” (2001). He also provided the voice of Squirrel in the 2002 animated film The Wild Thornberrys Movie.
The actor made his Broadway debut in 2004 by starring as Caldwell B. Cladwell in the Tony award winning musical “Urinetown.” A year later, he was seen as Dr. Drummonds in director-actor Kellie Martin’s Mystery Woman: Vision of a Murder (2005, TV) and Sergeant Carmichael in Kids in America (2005), a drama/comedy helmed by Josh Stolberg and starring Gregory Smith and Stephanie Sherrin. Additionally, he rejoined with The Nanny costar Fran Drescher in her latest sitcom “Living with Fran,” where Shaughnessy appeared as her philandering but deprived former husband, Ted, in eight episodes from 2005 until 2006.
More recently, Shaughnessy guest starred in an episode of “Squirrel Boy” (2006) and had a feature role, as Professor Cavendish, in the comedy film Dorm Daze 2 (2006), which starred Gable Carr, Patrick Casey and Patrick Cavanaugh. The 51-year-old performer is scheduled to team up with Frank Harper, Gina Bellman, Phoebe Thomas and Jonathan Bailey in What We Did on Our Holidays (2006), a comedy/drama directed by W. Scott Peake.