Jennifer Aniston was almost Jennifer Anastassakis, but her parents, John and Nancy, changed the family's last name soon after their daughter was born on February 11, 1969, in Sherman Oaks, California. Aniston spent a year of her childhood in Greece, but relocated to New York when her father landed a role on the day time drama, "Love of Life." He currently starts on NBC's soap opera, "Days of our Lives." When Aniston was 11, she joined the Rudolf Steiner School's drama club and was fascinated by Steiner, which she described as "a free-spirited school that encouraged creativity and individualism."
She knew that she wanted to pursue acting as a career. The experience also honed Aniston's artistic side, however, and she had a piece displayed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art when she was only 11.
After graduating from New York's High School of the Performing Arts in 1987, Aniston won roles in off-Broadway productions at New York's Public Theater. Her first television gig occurred in 1989 when she became a series regular on the show, "Molly." Other brief forays into television included credits in "Herman's Head," "Ferris Bueller," "Quantam Leap" and "Burke's Law." In 1993, Aniston starred in the somewhat forgettable horror film, "Leprechaun," but caught her world famous break a year later when she auditioned for "Friends." Originally asked to play the part of Monica, Aniston chose to try out for Rachel instead and the rest, as they like to say, is history.
Recently, Aniston has earned praise outside of her sitcom role by nailing a dramatic turn in "The Good Girl." She is a two-time Emmy Award winner for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and is married to actor Brad Pitt. Her godfather was the late Greek-American actor, Telly Savalas.