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Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston (her original last name was Anastassakis, but her family changed it when they moved to the U.S. from Greece) was born on February 11, 1969 in Sherman Oaks, California. 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 (of Kojak fame).

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 as of 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 graduate of New York's High School of Performing Arts (the Fame school) in 1987, Aniston worked in the off-Broadway productions For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker's Grave. But after heading for Hollywood (which dad John wasn't pleased about, as he didn't want Jennifer to pursue acting), she landed her first television role in 1989, as a regular on Molloy. It took a while for Aniston to get more roles, and apparently her agent suggested she lose some weight -- she wasn't fat, but she wasn't "L.A." thin.

Unfortunately, none of the TV 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, as well as appearances on Burke's Law and Quantum Leap 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 biggest credit on her resume, Jennifer had nothing to lose and auditioned for Friends. The producers originally wanted Aniston to audition for the role of neurotic chef Monica Gellar, but Jennifer thought she was more of a "Rachel Green" -- and she was right. The role of Monica went to fellow hottie Courteney Cox.

When Aniston first appeared in the pilot (which was called Friends Like Us) 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 TV" lineup, and the six cast members became TV's hottest stars. Thanks to the "Ross and Rachel" plot and of course, Jennifer's haircut, which became known as "The Rachel," Jennifer Aniston became a household name (and haircut).

Jennifer Aniston websites and shrines cropped up all over the Internet, dedicated to the gorgeous actress. Aniston's other "digital" gigs include an appearance on the Microsoft Windows 95 Video Guide, with co-star Matthew Perry, and a role on an interactive 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 saw her starring 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 (for which she lent her voice) followed in 1999.

Joining the ranks of fellow beauties Tyra Banks and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Aniston and her Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow proved they "Got Milk" by showing off their milk moustaches for the famous milk ad campaign.

In the meantime, Aniston's star rose to the stratosphere when she and Brad Pitt appeared together at awards shows and premieres. Although she had already been romantically 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 that was 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 loyal 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 powerful celebrities, beating out Brad, J.Lo 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 each locked into a contract that garnered them a $1 million-per-episode paycheck. But after a 10-season run on NBC, the cast of Friends finally said goodbye on May 6, 2004. After two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe nod for the role of Rachel, Jennifer finally took home both trophies in 2002 and 2003 (respectively).

Life after Friends will certainly still be busy for Jennifer: not only can she work on Plan B Productions, the production company she and Brad founded, but she can also get started on the family life she is constantly hounded about in the tabloids. In the meantime, look for Aniston to star in a film produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh (to be released in 2005), as well as 2005's Diary and 2006's Gambit.







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