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You probably know that Jennifer Aniston is an Emmy Award winner, one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, and equally capable of being hilarious in a comedy and compelling in a drama. From Friends to Horrible Bosses to The Morning Show, Aniston is still delivering incredible performances to this day. But she’s so much more than her highly publicized relationships and the characters she plays. Here are some facts about the superstar Jennifer Aniston that might surprise you.
Aniston got her start on stage
While starting out in acting, Aniston’s first big opportunities were off-Broadway shows, including For Dear Life at the Public Theater. She also had an onstage stint participating in the 24 Hour Plays event at the American Airline Theater.
She trains in martial arts
Aniston has some very cool exercise routines under her belt, like the mixed movement practice Budokon, which combines elements from yoga and martial arts for a unique workout.
Telly Savalas was her godfather
It’s fairly common knowledge that Aniston was born into an acting family with Nancy Dow as her mother and legendary soap star John Aniston as her father. Did you know, though, that Telly Savalas, the actor best known as the title character of the ’70s crime series Kojack, was her godfather? He and John Aniston, both Greek-American actors, were good friends.
She starred in a failed Ferris Bueller sitcom
Aniston took on the role of Jeannie Bueller, the antagonistic older sister of the hero first played by Jennifer Grey in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in this NBC adaptation of the hit John Hughes film. Unfortunately, only 13 episodes aired, and the show was swiftly cancelled in 1991 after being panned by critics.
Leprechaun gives her scream queen credentials
Although the star might look back in embarrassment at this 1993 horror-comedy Leprechaun, you have to start somewhere, and Aniston’s feature film debut ended up spawning a franchise that lasted until 2018 with the movie Leprechaun Returns.
She turned down SNL for Friends
Talk about a tough choice! Aniston had to decide whether to join the long running sketch comedy series, or take the chance of joining the cast of the new show Friends. It’s fascinating to think how her career would have turned out if would have gone down the SNLroad, but she has gotten to host the show a couple of times.
...and might have left Friends for Muddling Through
Since Aniston was shooting both young sitcoms for NBC, there’s a chance that Rachel Green could have been written out of Friends entirely. Aniston’s competing commitment was Muddling Through, where she had the supporting role of Madeline Drego Cooper, the daughter of Connie Drego (Stephanie Hodge) who moves back home after a stint in prison.
She was strongly considered during Titanic casting
Both Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were heavily in the running for the leads of Jack and Rose in James Cameron’s epic romantic disaster film Titanic. Obviously, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet made movie history in these roles, but Aniston could have done great as Rose as well.
She has an unexpected Steven Spielberg collaboration
No, Aniston doesn’t have a cameo in any of Spielberg’s movies (that we know of), but she did work with the director in 1997 for the video game Steven Spielberg’s Directors Chair, an educational game which featured the director guiding players through the steps of filmmaking. Players could tinker with pre-shot sequences that featured a bizarre mix of stars including Aniston, Quentin Tarantino, and Penn and Teller.
It was revived online by the independent game designer Mollieindustria, as a standard choose-your-own-adventure using the game’s footage, so you can see Aniston’s character volunteering for a magic show in this bizarre piece of history yourself if you’d like.
You’ll never see her in “The Rachel” again
As influential as her character’s hair and style were on Friends, Aniston despised Rachel’s look. She told Allure that her sitcom hairdo was “the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen,” and it apparently required a ton of maintenance to make presentable.
Aniston has a production company called Echo Films
Aniston and her producing partner Kristin Hahn formed Echo Films in 2008. The company has credits on many of Aniston’s recent projects like The Morning Show, Cake, and Murder Mystery 2.
Previously, she created Plan B entertainment along with Brad Pitt and Brad Grey, but everyone but Pitt withdrew from the company in 2005.
She’s an actor-director-producer extraordinaire
Along with a ton of producing credits and more than enough lead roles to her name, Aniston has directed a few projects including the short film Room 10 and one of the movies in the Lifetime series Five.
Can you guess her favorite role?
In a 2014 Vanity Fair interview, Aniston cited her deranged dentist character Dr. Julia Harris from the dark comedy Horrible Bosses as one of the parts she is most proud of. Aniston has had tons of career highlights since 2014 for sure, but Horrible Bosses is still a solid, if very out-there, comedy.
Aniston’s highest-grossing movie is...
...the fantasy comedy Bruce Almighty. Aniston plays Grace Connelly, the girlfriend of Jim Carrey’s Bruce Nolan, who is suddenly granted the powers of God. The movie had an impressive worldwide box office gross of $484.6 million.
She’s close offscreen buds with Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler and Aniston met in the ’90s before either were the household name they are now. They’ve played love interests on the rom-com Just Go With It and the Murder Mystery movie series from Netflix and are great friends outside of work who seem to support and care for each other to this day.
She’s still defending the rom-com
Obviously, Aniston has a ton of great romantic comedy credits to her name. In a Variety Actors on Actors conversation with Sebastian Stan, Aniston defended the genre. “Why do they have such a bad rap these days? ’Cause wouldn’t it be fun to do one? Do you want to do it?” Aniston said. The two joked about filming a movie in New York City, so you heard it here first if the next greatest rom-com with these two is officially revealed soon.
She launched some gorgeous perfumes
Aniston is a veteran of the fragrance game at this point, launching her first perfume in 2010 and with plenty more to her name now. This Jennifer Aniston fragrance is a nice fruity scent with a nice musk.
Aniston’s favorite movie is a classic
According to Far Out, Aniston professed that the 1983 comedy-drama Terms of Endearment is among her favorite movies of all time. “It’s one of those movies where you can turn it on or catch it at any point, and it just makes me burst into tears. It’s almost Pavlovian for me,” she confessed.
She has an Instagram-related world record
That’s right, Jennifer Aniston set a Guinness World Record when she joined Instagram in 2019. The influx of people going to follow the actor briefly caused the app’s servers to buckle, with her impressive record being fastest time to reach 1 million followers on Instagram.
You can see her in these music videos
Aniston has lent her talents to a few great music videos, including for artists like Melissa Etheridge, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and, of course, she was in the video for the Friends theme song “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts.
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