Jennifer Joanna Aniston (born February 11, 1969) is an American actress. She became famous in the 1990s for her role as Rachel Green in the US sitcom Friends, a role for which she won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
She has starred in many Hollywood films. While most of her film roles have been in comedies such as Bruce Almighty, Office Space, Rumor Has It, and the romantic comedies Along Came Polly and The Break-Up, she has also appeared in films from other genres, such as the comedy-horror Leprechaun and the crime thriller Derailed.
Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, and grew up in New York City. She is the daughter of actor John Aniston and actress Nancy Dow. Aniston's father is a Greek American, born Yannis Anastassakis on the island of Crete, Greece, while her mother is of Italian-Scottish descent and was born in New York City. Aniston has two half-brothers, John Melick (older) and Alex Aniston (younger). Aniston's godfather was the actor Telly Savalas†, her father's best friend. She lived in Greece for one year as a child with her family, and they later relocated to New York City. Her father has appeared in the soap operas Days of our Lives, Love of Life and Search for Tomorrow. Aniston attended the New York Rudolf Steiner School and graduated from Manhattan's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. She worked in Off Broadway productions such as For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker's Grave. She supported herself with several part-time jobs, including working as a telemarketer and bike messenger. In 1989, she moved to Los Angeles, California.
Aniston moved to Hollywood and was cast in her first television role in 1990, starring as a regular on the short-lived series Molloy and in the TV movie Camp Cucamonga. She also co-starred in Ferris Bueller, a television adaptation of the 1986 hit movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The series, however, was quickly canceled. Aniston then appeared in two more failed television comedy shows, The Edge and Muddling Through, and guest-starred on Quantum Leap, Herman's Head, and Burke's Law. After the string of canceled shows, along with her appearance in the critically derided 1992 horror film, Leprechaun, Aniston considered giving up acting. Aniston's plans changed, however, after auditioning for Friends, a sitcom that was set to debut on NBC's 1994–1995 fall line-up. The producers of the show originally wanted Aniston to audition for the role of Monica Geller, but Courteney Cox was considered to be better suited to the role. Thus, Aniston was cast as Rachel Green. She played the character of Rachel from 1994 until the show ended in 2004.
The program was successful and Aniston, along with her co-stars, gained wide renown among television viewers. Her hairstyle at the time, which became known as the "Rachel", was widely copied. Aniston received a salary of one million dollars per episode for the last two seasons of Friends, as well as five Emmy nominations (two for Supporting Actress, three for Lead Actress), including a win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. According to the Guinness World Book of Records (2005), Aniston (along with her female costars) became the highest paid TV actress of all time with her $1 million-per-episode paycheck for the tenth season of Friends.
Jennifer Aniston has appeared in various commercials and music videos. In 1996, she was in Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers music video, "Walls." Aniston was in Melissa Etheridge's 2001 music video, "I Want To Be In Love." Jennifer Aniston was cast in a Heineken commercial which was later banned due to branding issues. Aniston has been in commercials for L'Oreal Hair Products. In 1994, Microsoft invited Aniston, along with Friends co-star Matthew Perry, to shoot a 30-minute promotional advertisement for their new operating system, Windows 95. She gained critical acclaim for her performances in The Object of My Affection (1998), a comedy drama about a girl who falls for a gay man, and in the low-budget 2002 film, The Good Girl, directed by Miguel Arteta, playing an unglamorous cashier in a small town. The latter film opened in relatively few theaters—under 700 in total—taking $14M in the U.S. box office. In late 2005, Aniston appeared in two major studio films, Derailed and Rumor Has It.
In addition to her career as a television actress, Aniston has enjoyed a successful film career. Her biggest box office success to date was her appearance in 2003's Bruce Almighty, in which she played the girlfriend of title character Jim Carrey. Aniston then starred in the 2004 film, Along Came Polly opposite Ben Stiller. In 2006, Aniston appeared in the low-budget drama, Friends with Money, which was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival, received a limited release. Aniston's next film, The Break-Up, which was released on June 2, grossed approximately $39.17 million during its opening weekend, despite lukewarm reviews.
In 2007, Aniston guest starred in an episode of Courteney Cox Arquette's series Dirt. Aniston played Arquette's snobby rival Tina Harrod. In addition to acting, Aniston has also directed a hospital emergency room-set short film named Room 10, starring Robin Wright Penn and Kris Kristofferson; Aniston has noted that she was inspired to direct by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who directed a short film in 2006.
Forbes listed Aniston as the 10th richest woman in the entertainment industry for the year 2007. She is behind such powerhouses as Oprah Winfrey, J. K. Rowling, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez and is ahead of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Olsen twins. Aniston's net worth is approximately $110 million. Aniston was also included in the annual Star Salary Top 10 of trade magazine The Hollywood Reporter for 2006. According to Forbes in October 2007, Aniston was the top-selling celebrity face of the entertainment industry. In 2008, Aniston landed the seventeenth spot on Forbes Celebrity 100 list based on "earnings and fame." Forbes listed Aniston's earnings as $27 million.
Aniston appeared in the third episode of Season 3 of NBC's 30 Rock playing Liz Lemon's old college roommate who stalks Jack Donaghy.
Aniston appears nude in a series of photographs that are published on the cover and inside pages of the January 2009 issue of GQ. She tells the magazine that she feels more comfortable today than she did in her twenties or early thirties. "I'm healthier. I'm more at peace in my mind and with my body," Aniston says.
On December 25, 2008, Marley & Me, in which Aniston starred alongside Owen Wilson, was released. It set a record for the largest Christmas Day box office ever with $14.75 million in ticket sales.It earned a total of $51.7 million over the four-day weekend and placed #1 at the box office, a position it maintained for two weeks. As of February 15, 2009 its total worldwide gross was $161,608,269.
Her next film in wide release, He's Just Not That into You, opened in February 2009. The movie made $27.5 million, ranking #1 at the box office in its opening weekend. While the film received mixed reviews, Aniston along with Jennifer Connelly, and Ben Affleck are often praised by critics as being the stand-outs in the film.
As of 2009, Aniston's movies have grossed $900,618,847 in the United States and over $1,508,048,564 worldwide.
On July 16, 2009, Aniston received an Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on 30 Rock.