Renee Taylor (born Renee Wexler; March 19, 1933) is an American actress, Academy Award-nominated writer and one-time director, best known for having played Fran Drescher's title character's outspoken mother, Sylvia Fine, on the TV series The Nanny.
Taylor was born in The Bronx, New York to Charles and Frieda (nee Silverstein) Wexler. Taylor 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. In 1968, Taylor played Eva Braun in Mel Brooks' feature film The Producers, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.
Taylor and her husband, Joseph Bologna, co-wrote the Broadway hit comedy Lovers and Other Strangers, and received Oscar nominations for having written the 1970 film adaptation. In 1971, the couple co-wrote and starred in the film Made for Each Other. Their screenplay received a nomination for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy. Taylor played Arlene Sherwood, co-producer of a television show along with Jerry Orbach and John Candy in the 1991 film Delirious.
From 1992-94, Taylor played the overbearing Jewish mother of Brian Benben's lead character on the HBO series Dream On. In 1993, she was cast as the mother of Richard Lewis, and the ex-wife of Don Rickles, in the Fox sitcom Daddy Dearest, which was cancelled after a two-month run in the fall. At about the same time, Taylor was slated for sporadic guest appearances on the new CBS sitcom The Nanny, playing Sylvia Fine, the mother of Fran Drescher's title character. Several episodes into The Nanny, and after the cancellation of Daddy Dearest, Taylor was upgraded to a recurring cast member, and eventually a full-time cast member by the third season. Her roles on the two broadcast network series were concurrent with her work on Dream On.
Taylor is most often recognized for her standout role as Sylvia in The Nanny, the overbearing mother of thirty-something Fran Fine who is determined to live to see her daughter get married. Her character is intent on finding Fran a husband and has a passionate love for food. Taylor's husband, Joseph Bologna, made a guest appearance on The Nanny as an egocentric actor named Allan Beck, who tormented Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy); and, in the final season, Bologna guest-starred on the series, playing an admirer of Sylvia in the episode "Maternal Affairs".
In recent years, Taylor guest-starred as Ted Mosby's neighbor, Mrs. Matsen, on How I Met Your Mother. She also had a guest-starring role on the Disney show, Shake It Up, portraying a cranky, mean elderly woman in a retirement home as Mrs. Lacasio, as well as a guest-starring role on the Nickelodeon show, Victorious as Robbie's cranky grandmother who needed Robbie's help with the internet.
In addition to her numerous guest-starring appearances, Taylor has worked as a voice-actor as the character Mrs. Start in the animated feature film Ice Age: The Meltdown, and in a recurring role as Linda's mother Gloria in the animated Fox series Bob's Burgers. Taylor also played Martha Benson in the film Opposite Day, released in 2009.
Taylor also guest-starred on Fran Drescher's newest show Happily Divorced as Fran's mother's best friend. In 2011, Taylor was cast in the ultimately short-lived Fox cartoon Allen Gregory, in which she voiced the character of Principal Gottlieb. In 2013, she starred in the Tyler Perry film Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor as Ms. Waco Chapman, the owner of Chapman drug company.
Taylor married actor Joseph Bologna on August 7, 1965, in Stamford, Connecticut. They have one son, Gabriel Bologna, an actor.
Taylor is Jewish.