Childhood & Early Years
Charles George Patrick Shaughnessy, Fifth Baron Shaughnessy, was born on 9 February 1955 in London. His father Alfred James Shaughnessy was a noted television writer, while his mother Jean Lodge was an actress. His younger brother David Shaughnessy is a voice actor, producer and director.
Born with a natural flair for acting, Shaughnessy started appearing in plays while he was still in primary school. Later, he attended Eton College, from where he completed his schooling.
After graduating from school, he enrolled in Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge. He earned his bachelor’s degree in law with a thesis on the House of Lords. While there, he continued honing his acting talent and joined the Cambridge Footlights, a renowned dramatic club.
After completing his education, Shaughnessy decided to devote his life to show business and enrolled in a drama school in London. Later, he began his acting career by joining a repertory theatre, touring all over England for one year.
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According to available records, Charles Shaughnessy debuted on television in May 1983 with BBC 1’s drama series, ‘Jury’, appearing in it as Julian Spears. In October that year, he was seen in the role of John Rennie on ‘The Affair of the Pink Pearl’ episode of ‘Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime’.
In 1983, he moved to the USA, where he first started working on stage, appearing in the play ‘A Patriot for Me’ at the Ahmanson Theater. He also performed at other theaters, such as The Mark Taper Forum and the LAAT.
Shaughnessy debuted on American TV in 1984, appearing as Alistair Crawford in one episode of the medical drama series ‘General Hospital’. From July 31 onward, he started appearing as Shane Donovan in one of NBC’s longest-running scripted television programs ‘Days of Our Lives’.
He remained with ‘Days of Our Lives’ until 1992, appearing in 114 of its episodes. His character’s romance with Kimberly Brady, played by Patsy Pease, helped the soap opera become more attractive to teenagers. From September to December 1988, he also played the role of Shane’s identical twin brother, Drew Donovan, on the show.
In 1993, he got his first leading role when he was cast as Maxwell Sheffield in the CBS television sitcom ‘The Nanny’. It ran until 1999, making him a household name.
Concurrently with appearing on two mega series, ‘Days of Our Lives’ and ‘The Nanny’, Shaughnessy was seen on several other TV shows. The most notable among them were ‘Till We Meet Again’ (1989), ‘Mad About You’ (1993), ‘Murphy Brown’ (1993), ‘Duckman’ (1994), ‘A Kiss So Deadly’ (1996), ‘Everything to Gain’ (1996) and ‘Second Chances’ (1998).
He began the new millennium by starring in the TV film 'Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire', playing the role of Dimitri Denatos. From 2001 to 2004, he was the voice of Denis the Goldfish in 33 episodes of the animation series ‘Stanley’. Meanwhile in 2003, he debuted in video games, appearing as Quintain in ‘Freelancer’.
In 2004, Shaughnessy played Alec Colson in the military TV series 'Stargate SG-1' and voiced for the character of Airline Rep in the animation series ‘All Grown Up’. Thereafter, he appeared in 7 episodes of ‘Living with Fran’ (2005-5006), 62 episodes of ‘Saints and Sinners’ (2007), 5 episodes of ‘Mad Men’ (2008-2009), 15 episodes of ‘The Bay’ (2010-2014).
In the 2000s, he acted in several movies, such as ‘Get Clue’ (2002), 'National Lampoon's Dorm Daze 2' (2006), 'The Tale of Despereaux' (2008, voice), 'Love's Christmas Journey' (2011) and ‘Liz & Dick’ (2012). In 2014, he starred as ‘Judge’ in 'My Dad Is Scrooge'.
At present, Shaughnessy is playing the role of Christopher Plover in the fantasy series ‘The Magician’ (2016 - 2019). In 2017, he appeared in the police procedural show ‘NCIS’, while his TV roles in the year 2018 included playing Kenneth Lenier in the supernatural show ‘Ghosted’ and Murray in the sitcom ‘The Cool Kids’.
Apart from working in TV series and movies, Shaughnessy has also been active on stage, appearing as the toilet magnate Caldwell B. Cladwell in ‘Urinetown’ (2003). He played the role of King Arthur in ‘Monty Python's Spamalot!’ in 2010 and then appeared as Henry Higgins in ‘My Fair Lady’ in 2011.
Charles Shaughnessy is best known for playing the male protagonist in the television sitcom, ‘The Nanny’, appearing in it as Maxwell Sheffield. Starting on November 3, 1993, the show ran until June 23, 1999, spanning 6 seasons and 146 episodes, out of which he appeared in 145 episodes.
Family & Personal Life
On 21 May, 1983, Charles Shughnessy married actress Susan Fallender, whom he met while studying at the drama school in London. The couple has two daughters; Jenny Johanna Shaughnessy and Madelyn Sarah Shaughnessy.
In December 2007, after the death of his second cousin, Michael James Shaughnessy, 4th Baron Shaughnessy, he became the fifth Baron Shaughnessy. However, he continues to live in Los Angeles, where he is also involved in various charitable endeavors for children.