She is portrayed by Ann Morgan Guilbert.
As a young woman, Yetta's emigrated to the United States from her home in Romania to meet Shlomo Rosenberg, with whom her marriage had been arranged. While on the boat, Yetta had a romantic affair with Richard, a waiter in the first class dining room. Yetta originally confessed that she was unable to marry Shlomo due to her love for Richard, but unable to find her lover after landing in America, went through with her marriage.
Throughout her life, Yetta moved back and forth between Europe and America. She is implied to have experienced several events of World War II first hand; claiming to have "fled poland" for her and her husband's first anniversary, and experienced a "fireworks show" in Hawaii on 7 December 1941. Later, Yetta had a daughter with Shlomo, Sylvia. At some point during Sylvia's childhood, Yetta was separated from her daughter. Yetta seems to have returned by the time Fran was a young girl, having come "out of Europe with a dining table strapped to her back."
Yetta was the sometimes dippy and frequently forgetful mother of Sylvia Fine and Fran Fine's grandmother. She lived in a retirement home and often visited 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‘s quite friendly 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; when Fran said that they had 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 adoringly 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”, where she showed her first sign of complete sanity, saying "I can't believe I lived long enough to see you have babies!" That's when Sylvia snarced, and said, "Neither can I!" As Fran became a loved part of the Sheffield family, so did Yetta. The widowed Yetta found love with a man named Sammy, became engaged, and later married him in the show (Sammy was played by Ray Charles). Her first husband, Shlomo Rosenberg (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.” Richard was a waiter on the ship which carried immigrants from Romania to Ellis Island when Yetta was journeying to meet Shlomo, a furrier, as their marriage had already been arranged.
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. In the last season, she welcomed her biological great-grandchildren, Jonah and Eve Sheffield. She had the funny habit of occasionally calling Brighton “Schmooey,” as she thought that was his real name.
Though they love each other, Yetta and Sylvia are often seen bickering and are frequently annoyed by one another. Yetta appears to have been a similarly overbearing mother to Sylvia as Sylvia is to Fran, constantly pressuring her daughter to get married and have children.
- 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.
- Yetta's actress, Ann Morgan Guilbert, is also known for her appearence on The Dick van Dyke Show, on which she played their next-door neighbor, Millie Helper.
- Although not technically a member of the Fine family, Yetta is often referred to as a "Fine woman" by Fran and Sylvia.