Kate's Notes

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston (born February 11, 1969) is best known for playing the spunky spoiled rich girl, Rachel Green, who finds her niche in New York with a group of close friends on the long running television sitcom, “Friends.” This Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress, took the 1990s by storm on this beloved program; she also took hairstylists by storm as well, as every woman in America wanted to have her hairdo: “The Rachel.”

Since the show ended in 2004, she has focused heavily on her film career, having starred in several Hollywood films, including Along Came Polly and The Break-Up. However, because of her fairytale romance and marriage to heartthrob actor Brad Pitt, and the marriages eventual demise, her life is under the media spotlight 24 hours a day.

Consequently, every relationship, like her short-lived relationship with Vince Vaughn, is closely watched to see if she will get married again, have a family, and eventually be happy (though the tabloids never seem to take into consideration that she might be happy already).

Early Life

Born in Sherman Oaks, California, Aniston actually grew up in New York City. She is the daughter of the Greek actor John Aniston (originally Ioannis Anastassakis) and actress Nancy Dow. Aniston has two half-brothers, John Melick and Alex Aniston. Aniston's father was born in the island of Crete, while her maternal grandfather, Gordon McLean Dow, was of Scottish and English descent and her maternal grandmother, Louise Grieco, was of Italian ancestry.

Aniston's godfather was the late Greek American actor Telly Savalas, her father's best friend. Aniston spent part of her childhood in Greece, but most of it in New York City, where her father appeared in the soap operas “Love of Life” and “Search for Tomorrow.” In 1985, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Aniston's father starred on the soap opera “Days of our Lives.” Aniston graduated from Manhattan's Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Arts and Performing Arts. She was known as a class clown in high school.

Among her high school friends was future human rights activist Chastity Bono.

Aniston's desire to become an actress grew as she worked in Off-Broadway productions such as For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker's Grave. During this time, she supported herself with several part-time jobs, including working as a telemarketer and bike messenger.


Aniston’s introduction to success was a rocky one. She found herself dredging through many dead-end opportunities and cancelled shows, before she found her goldmine.

Aniston appeared as a "Nutri-System" girl on “The Howard Stern Radio Show” in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She moved to Hollywood and was cast in her first television roles in 1990, starring as a regular on the short-lived series “Molloy” and in the made for television movie Camp Cucamonga. She also co-starred in “Ferris Bueller,” a television adaptation of the 1986 teen movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, starring Matthew Broderick, that same year; however, this series was quickly cancelled. A niston 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 cancelled shows, along with her appearance in the critically derided 1993 horror film, Leprechaun, Aniston seriously considered giving up acting.

Of course, Aniston's plans changed once she met her friends: she auditioned for “Friends,” a sitcom that was set to debut on NBC's 1994 and1995 fall line-up. The producers of the show originally wanted Aniston to audition for the role of Monica Geller, but she persuaded them that she was better suited for the role of Rachel Green. She was cast in the role and played the character from 1994 until the show ended in 2004. She co-starred along side Courtney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc. The program was very successful and Aniston, along with her co-stars, gained wide renown among television watchers. 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, including a win for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series".

Other Film Work

Aniston has starred in several theatrical films, including the cult hit Office Space with Ron Livingston. She gained the most critical acclaim for her role in the low-budget 2002 film, The Good Girl, directed by Miguel Arteta, playing an unglamorous cashier in a small town. The film opened in relatively few theaters - under 700 in total - taking $14M in the U.S. box office.

Aniston’s biggest box office success was her appearance in 2003's Bruce Almighty, in which she played the girlfriend of title character (Jim Carrey); the film grossed $243M at the United States box office and almost twice that worldwide. Aniston's 2004 film, Along Came Polly (opposite Ben Stiller), also did well at the box office after opening at the #1 spot.

In late 2005, Aniston headlined two major studio films, Derailed and Rumor Has It, both of which performed fairly at the box office, grossing over $36 million each. In the same year, she appeared in a European Heineken television commercial frequently aired before UEFA Champions League matches.

In 2006, Aniston appeared in the low-budget drama, Friends with Money, which was first shown at the Cannes Film Festival, received a limited release, and grossed over $13 million. Aniston's next film, The Break-Up, costarring Vince Vaughn was released on June 2, and grossed approximately $39.17 million during its opening weekend, despite lukewarm reviews. It has currently grossed over $118 million at the U.S. box office and over $200 million worldwide.

Aniston is set to co-direct a hospital emergency room-set short film named “Room 10,” starring Robin Wright Penn and Kris Kristofferson; she has noted that she was inspired to direct by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who directed a short film in 2006.

Legal Battles

On January 11, 2002, Aniston and husband Brad Pitt reached a settlement with Damiani International Jewelers. The pair claimed the company agreed to never reproduce their wedding rings, but it manufactured and sold "Brad and Jennifer" rings in 18 karat white or yellow gold for about $1,000 apiece. Under the settlement, Pitt will design jewelry for Damiani that Aniston will model in ads, and Damiani will stop selling the "Brad and Jennifer" copies.

Then on June 24, 2004, U.S. District Judge Ronald Lew ruled Aniston's lawsuit against two magazine publishers for printing topless photos of her will proceed without a jury because her lawyers failed to demand a jury when the lawsuit was filed in 2000 and that he would render a verdict himself. Aniston sued Man's World Publications Inc. and Crescent Publishing Group, claiming that paparazzi scaled an eight-foot wall to photograph her as she sunbathed in the backyard of her home in February of 1999. The pictures appeared later that year in the magazines Celebrity Skin, High Society, Celebrity Sleuth, the Italian magazine Eva Tremila, the English newspaper Daily Sport and the French publication Voici.

Personal Life

Aniston is best friends with her longtime on screen partner, Courtney Cox, who has literally been by her side through all the perils of her highly publicized private life.

Aniston has previously dated musician Adam Duritz and was engaged to actor Tate Donovan. However, it was her high-profile relationship with actor Brad Pitt, whom she met on a blind date, that was obsessed over in the press. Aniston and Pitt were married on July 29, 2000, in a lavish outdoor Malibu wedding. Their relationship was envied by many, as they seemed the pillar of perfect married coupledome. However, the two separated on January 7, 2005, and Aniston officially filed for divorce on March 25, 2005. The divorce was finalized on October 2, 2005.

Media reports have speculated that the split was due to an affair on Pitt's part (with actress Angelina Jolie) or due to Aniston's refusal to have children. Aniston vehemently denied the latter in an August 2005 Vanity Fair interview, stating, "I've never in my life said I didn't want to have children... I've always wanted to have children, and I would never give up that experience for a career. I want to have it all."

She has also stated that the death of her longtime therapist, whose work helped to make the separation from Pitt easier, more than a year ago was "devastating." Summing up her relationship with Pitt, Aniston has said that their relationship, which she does not regret, was "seven very intense years together" and that "it was a beautiful, complicated relationship."

Since the couple's divorce, Aniston has been romantically linked with actor Vince Vaughn. In August of 2006, Aniston denied rumors that the two were engaged or that Vaughn had proposed. In October 2006, gossip magazine Us Weekly quoted sources from Vaughn that the couple had split. "Jen lives in a crazy world with all the press. It's just not his world." In December 2006, reps for both Aniston and Vaughn confirmed that they had indeed split up a few weeks before when Aniston visited Vaughn in London.

In October 2006, during a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Aniston denied rumours that she and Vaughn broke up. In November 2006 it was officially announced that the couple had split but they remain friends.

Said that yoga helped her to recover from her split with Brad Pitt. She was originally slated to play Mariane in A Mighty Heart (2007), however, after her split with Pitt, the role went to Angelina Jolie.

After the birth of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s daughter Shiloh, Us Magazine reported on Aniston’s erratic, and unhealthy reaction to the news: “’she collapses in a heap, clutching her womb like she's been stabbed if she so much as passes a baby stroller on the street,’ and has taken to ‘throwing baby dolls into a bonfire on the beach behind her place in Malibu. It's creepy, but she says it makes her feel better for a few hours.’ The friend, however, offers hope that Jen's heart is on the mend.” However, these rumors are unsubstantiated, and the media seems to have taken a liking to portraying Aniston as a victim.

In early 2007, Aniston guest-starred on her best friend Courtney Cox’s television series, “Dirt” where they share an intimate kiss together.

She has had two septoplastys to thin her "deviated septum": one incorrectly done in 1994 and one in early 2007. This is a simple medical procedure which helps cure the common condition which can lead to breathing difficulty and trouble sleeping, and it has often been misreported in tabloids as a "nose job." There is also speculation regarding whether she had breast augmentation, though she and her rep denies these claims.

Charity Work

Aniston donates much of herself to worthy causes, including Clothes Off Our Back, EB Medical Research Foundation, Friends of El Faro, Lili Claire Foundation, Luke Neuhedel Foundation, Project A.L.S., Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


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