Jennifer Aniston biography 2022

Actress Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston biography

Jennifer Aniston (her original last name was Anastassakis, but her family changed it when they moved to America from Greece) was born on February 11, 1969, in Sherman Oaks, California, USA.

Aniston is no stranger to the acting world: she is the daughter of John, who starred as Victor Kiriakis on the daytime soap Days of Our Lives, and Nancy, an actress, and model. Jennifer is also the goddaughter of the late Telly Savalas (Kojak).

After living in Greece with her family as a young child, Jennifer's parents got divorced, forcing Jennifer to live with her mother in New York City at age 9. In high school, Aniston was a member of the drama club, which sparked her decision to pursue a career as an actress.

In addition to acting, Aniston has always been passionate about painting; one of her creations was even displayed in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art when she was 11. A New York's High School of Performing Arts graduate in 1987, Aniston worked in the off-Broadway productions For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker's Grave.

But after heading for Hollywood, she landed her first television role in 1989 as a regular on Molloy. It took a while for Aniston to get more parts, and apparently, her agent suggested she lose some weight -- she wasn't fat, but she wasn't "L.A." thin.

None of the T.V. roles she landed were worth watching. Does anybody remember catching the sitcom Ferris Bueller (based on the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off) or the sketch show The Edge? But Jennifer Aniston kept busy with a recurring role on Herman's Head and Burke's Law and Quantum Leap appearances in the early '90s.

By the time the pilot for a new NBC show called Friends came along in 1994, Jennifer was trying to make her mark in Hollywood. But with the 1993 bomb Leprechaun as the most significant credit on her resume, Jennifer had nothing to lose and auditioned for Friends. The producers originally wanted Aniston to audition for the neurotic chef Monica Gellar role, but Jennifer thought she was more of a "Rachel Green" -- and she was right.

The part of Monica went to Courteney Cox. When Aniston first appeared in the pilot as a runaway bride, she was also starring in a show called Muddling Through... but we don't need to tell you what happened to that one. Friends became a huge hit as part of NBC's "Must-See T.V." lineup, and the six cast members became stars.

Thanks to the "Ross and Rachel" plot and Jennifer's haircut, which became known as "The Rachel," Jennifer Aniston became a household name. Aniston's other "digital" gigs include an appearance on the Microsoft Windows 95 Video Guide, with co-star Matthew Perry, and a role on a CD-ROM directed by Steven Spielberg and co-starring Quentin Tarantino, entitled Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair (1996).

Whenever Friends was on hiatus, Jennifer kept busy with movie roles. In 1996, she appeared in the independent film, She's the One, co-starring Cameron Diaz and Edward Burns, and the following year, she starred in Picture Perfect with Kevin Bacon.

In 1998, Aniston starred in The Object of My Affection and The Thin Pink Line, while the comedy Office Space (directed by the creator of Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill) and The Iron Giant (to which she lent her voice) followed in 1999.

Joining the ranks of fellow beauties Tyra Banks and Rebecca Romijn, Aniston and her Friends' co-star Lisa Kudrow proved they "Got Milk" by showing off their milk mustaches for the famous milk ad campaign. In the meantime, Aniston's star rose to the stratosphere when she and Brad Pitt appeared at awards shows and premieres. Although she had already been linked to Counting Crows' lead vocalist Adam Duritz and actor Tate Donovan, her relationship with Pitt made Jennifer and Brad one of Hollywood's "It" couples.

On July 29, 2000, Jennifer and Brad exchanged vows at a Malibu estate in a million-dollar wedding hailed as "the showbiz wedding of the year."

Although Jennifer is still credited as "Jennifer Aniston," she is legally known as Jennifer Pitt. In 2001, Jennifer returned to the big screen with her role as Mark Wahlberg's girlfriend in Rock Star.

The following year, she wowed audiences and critics alike with her turn as an unfaithful wife in the independent flick, The Good Girl. Not only did she develop a Southern drawl for the role, but she also proved that she could go beyond the ditzy "Rachel" character and even downplayed her looks for the role. Aniston received Best Actress nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards and the Golden Satellite Awards, thanks to The Good Girl. In 2003, Aniston joined Jim Carrey in one of the summer's blockbusters, Bruce Almighty.

She also proved her star power by topping Forbes magazine's "Celebrity 100" list of the world's most influential celebrities, beating out Brad, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Spielberg.

In 2004, Jennifer co-starred with Ben Stiller in the romantic comedy Along Came Polly, proving once again that although she was the least known of her Friends co-stars when the show debuted in 1994, Aniston is without a doubt the star who will have a career after Friends.

Speaking of the hit NBC show, after the highly-publicized negotiations that featured an "all for one" strategy, the six cast members were locked into a contract that guaranteed them a $1 million per episode paycheck. But after a 10-season run on NBC, the cast of Friends said goodbye on May 6, 2004. After two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nod for the role of Rachel, Jennifer took home both trophies in 2002 and 2003.

Life after Friends will still be busy for Jennifer: not only can she work on Plan B Productions, but Jennifer can also get started on the family life she is hounded about in the tabloids.

Look for Aniston to star in a film produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, as well as 2005's Diary and 2006's Gambit.

last updated October 2022

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