With Jennifer Aniston celebrating her 50th birthday today, it seemed like the perfect time to take an up close and behind the scenes look back at her career so far — and it’s been a pretty impressive one. Obviously, her role of Rachel Green on Friends comes to mind, as do so many of her wonderful romantic comedy films, but in between there has been so much more, whether it’s guest-star appearances on TV shows, voicing animated characters, starring in other TV shows you probably don’t even remember, and tackling more dramatic roles.
Born February 11, 1969, in Sherman Oaks, California, her family moved to New York City when Jen was a child and it was there that she started attending Waldorf school. At the age of 11, she discovered a passion for acting and enrolled in Manhattan’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, joining the school’s drama society. Her first roles took place Off-Broadway in shows like For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker’s Grave. She made her film debut in 1988’s Mac and Me, followed by the TV adaptation of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and things just went on from there to where she is now.
What’s interesting is that the impression is that given her position in Hollywood, Jennifer would have the pick of whatever she would like to do.
“Well, you can and you can’t,” she once told NPR. “The truth is: You can become established in a certain category, and I think you are given offers and opportunities based on how the industry sees you fitting into that job. Sometimes you have to kind of take the reins yourself or take a project on and get it made independently so that you can do that work [that] not necessarily another director or studio would see you, you know, fit for. It is, I’ve said, such a Catch-22. It’s like, ‘I know I can do this, you just have to give me the opportunity’ and then what comes back is, ‘Well, we can’t give you the opportunity, because we’ve never seen you do this.'”
Well, to see exactly what Jennifer has done, just scroll down for our complete guide to her acting career!