Jennifer Aniston: Success with Just a Drop of Scandal

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
April 24th, 2012

Jennifer Aniston: Success with Just a Drop of Scandal

--Jennifer Aniston (Jennifer Joanna Aniston, b. 1969) is one of America's favorite actresses and one of its richest screen stars as well. In 1994, she began to garner popular attention for her role as Rachel Green in the television series "Friends," which became her launch pad for a stellar career as a film actress.
Actually, Aniston had made her first commercially successful film appearance a couple of years before "Friends," in the starring role of "Leprechaun," a horror film that was appreciated far more by moviegoers than by critics. Before her first success, she had been cast in various roles in failed TV sitcoms, and she nearly left the acting world before "Friends" came along.

Acting is in Jennifer Aniston's very blood. Her parents were actors, and her father, a soap opera star who changed the family name from the original Greek Anistasakis, was a close friend of the famous Greek-American actor Telly Savalas. Her mother had a short career as a film actress, and Jennifer herself graduated from the renowned Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City. After graduation, she supported herself with odd jobs and roles in small Off-Broadway theater performances before she moved to Los Angeles to make her way into television and movies.

Originally, Jennifer Aniston was to be considered for the role of Monica Geller in "Friends," which was instead successfully portrayed by her colleague and friend, Courteney Cox (Arquette). The producers realized that she was more suited to play Rachel Green, and the series catapulted both performers to fame as it lasted for ten successful seasons. Aniston was nominated for five Emmy Awards while starring in "Friends," and she won the coveted award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2001.

While Aniston did change the focus of her career from television to movies by playing both supporting and lead roles even during her time in "Friends," she did not forget the small screen that made her famous. She guest starred in a series featuring her colleague Courteney Cox, and she was nominated for yet another Emmy in 2009 for her supporting role in the series "30 Rock." Even though she reached the very pinnacle of television success, including a million dollar payment per episode of "Friends" in its last season, Jennifer Aniston would reach even greater success in movies.

In 2003, while still starring in "Friends," Aniston achieved her strongest success at the box office as the female lead of "Bruce Almighty." "Marley and Me," "The Bounty Hunter," and "Just Go with It" are among other films in which Jennifer Aniston's performances were particularly noteworthy, and her films have grossed more than two and a half billion dollars both in the United States and throughout the world.

Jennifer Aniston's personal life is just exciting enough for her to merit mention in the gossip columns, without it damaging her career or her astounding financial success. Her marriage to Brad Pitt was short-lived, and their divorce was the talk of Tinseltown for quite some time, with blame placed on Pitt for suspected unfaithfulness. She then had a series of short-term relationships, and is now romantically involved with actor and screenwriter Justin Paul Theroux.

Aniston's second brush with the scandal sheets came after her mother wrote an unflattering portrait of her relationship with her famous daughter. This memoir led mother and daughter to become estranged, and their relationship is now cordial at best.

Jennifer Aniston has received mention in the press for both her looks and her financial success. Forbes, the respected financial magazine, has listed her as among the top ten richest Hollywood stars and rated her as Hollywood's most profitable actress, and constantly places her on its list of 100 top-earning celebrities. She was named Woman of the Year by the renowned GQ men's magazine in 2005, the first time that the magazine gave that award. People magazine has listed Aniston among its 50 most beautiful people since 1995, and it placed her on the top of its Best Dressed list in 2006. FHM, a men's magazine, has placed her on its list of 100 sexiest women since 1996, and in 2011, readers of Men's Health magazine ranked her as the "Sexiest Woman of All Time."

Aniston's success, popularity and media fame have instilled her with a sense of responsibility, and she is well-known for her philanthropic efforts and charitable support. Her charities include an orphanage in Mexico, the famed St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and human rights efforts in Burma, along with support for environmental charities and fundraising for the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti.

Jennifer Aniston has used her considerable talent to rise to the very top of the television and screen world. The almost inevitable brushes with scandal that have affected her as they have affected every successful Hollywood actress did not break her or her career, and she is slated to continue to captivate box office audiences as long as she wishes to remain in the industry.