Jennifer Joanna Aniston was born on February 11, 1969, in Los Angeles. Her parents, John Aniston and Nancy Dow, were actors, too. After moving to New York as a child, Aniston discovered acting at 11 while attending school. By high school, she joined the school’s drama society and performed in two plays. She first worked in off-Broadway productions and supported herself with part-time jobs as a telemarketer, waitress, and bike messenger. By the late ’80s, Anniston had an uncredited minor role in Mac and Me before moving back to Los Angeles.
Flops Before Friends
Her first regular television role was on Molloy in 1990 with Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik. That same year, she appeared in the television adaptation of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Both series were quickly canceled. She starred in the horror film Leprechaun (1993) at 24 years old, which she has expressed embarrassment over. Aniston also appeared in two failed television comedy series: The Edge and Muddling Through.
Depressed over four back-to-back unsuccessful television shows, Aniston approached the head of NBC entertainment, Warren Littlefield, at an LA gas station, asking for reassurance. Littlefield encouraged her to continue acting, and just a few months later, he helped to cast her in Friends. The producer wanted Aniston to audition for the role of Monica Geller, but Courteney Cox snagged the character. Instead, Aniston was cast as Rachel Green. At the same time, Aniston was also offered a spot as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, but she turned it down in favor of Friends. Adam Sandler was a SNL cast member at the time and really wanted Aniston to join. She played Rachel on Friends for the show’s entire run, from 1994 until the show ended in 2004.
With 75 acting credits below her belt, Aniston is known for more than just being Rachel on Friends. She has starred in some of our favorite movies of the romance and comedy genres, sometimes a mix of both. Her acting range has expanded from comedic roles to serious dramas. Take a look below at our five favorite film and television roles starring Jennifer Aniston: