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She Played Grace on "The Nanny." See Madeline Zima Now at 36.

The former child star has complex feelings about being on the '90s sitcom.

No fan of The Nanny could ever forget the intro to the show—an animated sequence that introduces all of the characters while the famous theme song about the "flashy girl from Flushing" plays. The parade of dancing animated characters includes the youngest member of the Sheffield family, Grace, played by Madeline Zima. At the time that the show premiered in 1993, Zima was only eight years old—and it wasn't even her first acting gig.

Now, Zima is 36, and while she is still an actor today, she has complicated memories about getting her start in the business at such a young age. Read on to see what Zima is up to now and to find out how she feels about The Nanny today.

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Zima started acting as a young child.

A portrait of Madeline Zima circa 1994
Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

By the time Zima began starring on The Nanny, she had already appeared in the 1992 thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Before that, she got her start in commercials. "My first audition was an open call for a Downey [sic] commercial when I was 24 months old," she said during a Reddit Ask Me Anything in 2013. "Crazy! I booked it out of 1,000 other babies."

She doesn't have the fondest memories of The Nanny.

In a 2013 interview with The TV Page (via Showbiz CheatSheet), Zima said that she didn't have the best time filming The Nanny.

"It wasn't a fun experience," she said. "There were other experiences on other sets where people treated me kindly. I worked when I was five years old on The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and everybody was wonderful to work with on that set. People treated me as they should have—because I was a child. There was just a kindness and a sensitivity that didn't exist on the set of The Nanny. They treated me more like a prop than like a human being. At a certain point I can't pretend like it was some great experience anymore."

She added, "[I]t bums so many people out because they love the show. They are like 'What's wrong with this girl? Why didn't she like it?' But I would rather be honest. I have been diplomatic and neutral and politically correct long enough."

Zima shared similar sentiments on Reddit, and wrote, "I was a child and it was more emotionally scarring than anything."

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She says she did learn from the experience, however.

Speaking with KTLA in 2019, Zima said that she was still able to learn from being on The Nanny.

"I am grateful for The Nanny and the experience, and it changed me as a person, but for the best," she said. "I know so much about acting, about story, about timing and that's from Fran [Drescher] and watching her and watching everybody on the show who was so brilliant. So, I'm grateful for it even though there were some tough moments like everything in life."

Zima recently reunited with her co-stars virtually, when the cast did a "Pandemic Table Read" of the first episode in April 2020.

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She never stopped acting.

Madeline Zima at the premiere of "Bombshell" in 2019
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Zima continued her career in show business after The Nanny ended. She's also known for playing Mia on Californication from 2007 to 2011 and Gretchen on Heroes in 2009 and 2010.

More recently, the former child star has been in episodes of Twin Peaks, You, Perry Mason, and Hacks, and in the movies Bombshell and Bliss. She's also set to appear in Netflix's adaptation of the comic series Grendel.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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