Yetta’s character was based on Fran’s real-life grandmother, who died in 2007. At first, according to Fran’s first book, Enter Whining, the real Yetta didn’t like her character’s portrayal, but one day, she needed a beauty shop appointment with no advance notice, and she got in, simply because she was Yetta, The Nanny’s grandmother. As her own personal fame grew in the neighborhood, whenever Ann played Yetta, so did the real Yetta’s appreciation for her counterpart.
Grandma Yetta Edit
Yetta was the sometimes dippy and frequently forgetful mother of Sylvia Fine and Fran Fine's grandmother. She lived in a retirement home, and was often visiting the Sheffield home where Fran worked as the nanny. She was often seen with a cigarette in her hand and, despite her age, was a voracious smoker. After Fran started working for Maxwell Sheffield, Yetta incorrectly assumed that they were married and that the three kids were Fran’s. This was a result of her senility, and one of the show's running gags was the fact that she always assumed this no matter how many times Fran told her she was not married.
She is quite friends with her son in-law's mother, Nettie Fine, and will constantly argue over something and smoke together. In the episode "The Grandmas" Yetta and Nettie comes for a visit to the Sheffield home, and when Fran opened the door, lots of smoke came in, and when Fran said that they promised not to smoke again, Grandma Nettie replies, “What? It's gonna stunt our growths?”
She, like her daughter, was pleased that Fran had found such rewarding work, after being fired from the bridal shop where she had worked. Yetta truly loved her granddaughter, whom she called "Frannie". Fran called her "Yettie" and the love was mutual. When Fran was giving birth, Yetta and Sylvia joined her at her bedside in a celebration of three generations of “Fine Women.”
As Fran became part of the Sheffield family, so did Yetta. The widowed Yetta found love with a man named Sammy, and though was engaged, later married him in the show (Sammy was played by Ray Charles). Her first husband, Shlomo (or sometimes referred to as Joe), choked on a chicken bone and died. Besides Sammy and Shlomo, she fell in love with a man named Richard in the episode “Yetta’s Letters.” He is a waiter that works in a ship which carried immigrants from Romania to Long Island long ago when Yetta was promised to marry Shlomo, who is a furrier.
When Fran, who had finally married Maxwell Sheffield, and her new family moved to California from New York, Yetta went with them. She also gained a great-grandmotherly bond with Maxwell’s three children from his first marriage: Maggie, Brighton, and Gracie. She had the funny habit of occasionally calling Brighton “Schmooey,” as she thought that was his real name.