She’s a movie star now, but to fans of NBC’s long-running hit Friends, Jennifer Aniston will forever be the sometimes exasperating, usually captivating, and always hilarious Rachel Greene.
Aniston was born in Sherman City, California, in 1969. You could say acting was in her blood from the start, as her parents were actors John Aniston (who would later star on Days of Our Lives) and Nancy Dow, and her godfather was Telly Savalas of Kojak fame. Aniston did most of her growing up in New York City, where she attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
After some post-graduation work in off-Broadway productions, Aniston moved to Hollywood in 1990. Her first handful of parts were not the stuff of which stardom is made: a co-starring role in the TV version of Ferris Bueller (quickly cancelled), daughter roles in two other sitcoms (also quickly cancelled), a regular role on a sketch-comedy show (ditto), and some guest spots on the likes of Quantum Leap and Herman’s Head. It wasn’t until she auditioned for a new singles-in-the-city ensemble show — and reportedly insisted on auditioning for the role of Rachel, instead of her roommate Monica — that her career took off. Now that Friends has finished its run, Aniston is pursuing movie work full time, and has started to branch out into producing and directing.
— A. Wu