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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
The power of Aniston
Jennifer Aniston
Aniston won an Emmy for her role in Friends
Despite raised eyebrows at being named the "the most powerful celebrity on the planet" in an influential US poll, there is no doubting the popularity of Jennifer Aniston.

BBC News Online takes a look at the career of Aniston, which started out at the New York High School for the Performing Arts - the inspiration for Fame.

Acting was in the blood for Aniston. Her father John is one of US daytime TV's biggest stars as Victor Kiriakis in long-running soap Days of Our Lives, while her godfather was the late Telly Savalas.

But despite her pedigree, Aniston's start in showbiz was much the same as any wannabe actress, beginning in off-Broadway productions.

She landed a part in the TV version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and as regular on the short-lived sitcom Molloy in the 90s.


Work became thin on the ground until the part of Rachel Green in a pilot episode of Friends came along.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston wed in 2000
Aniston was originally approached to play the role of the obsessive Monica but she wanted to audition as Rachel.

In 1994 Friends became an instant hit as fans warmed to the six twenty-somethings who hung out in a coffee shop near New York's Central Park.

And as the popularity of the show rose so did the demands of the actors.

In 1998, the lead actors asked that their salary be doubled to $208,000 (125,000) for season six.

A deal to secure the actors for a 10th and last season saw pay packets rise to $1m (600,000) an episode each.

Aniston's role in the sitcom has won her both an Emmy and Golden Globe award for best comedy actress.

Rave reviews

Although all six of the Friends stars have branched out into movies, it is Aniston that boasts one of the most successful film careers.

Her first crop of films, She's the One, The Object of My Affection and Picture Perfect, were fluffy romantic comedies - with little to differentiate her characters from that of Rachel Green.

The Friends cast now earn a reported $1m per episode
But Aniston's performance in the low-budget flick The Good Girl won her rave reviews as a downtrodden shop girl.

Her next outing in the comedy Bruce Almighty is somewhat overshadowed by the presence of Jim Carrey in the lead role.

Aniston's marriage to Brad Pitt has ensured her place as one of Hollywood's biggest stars, gaining media attention wherever they go.

Their wedding in 2000 was a private affair, with just one snap of the ceremony released.


But the tabloids were just as interested in the rift between Aniston and her mother Nancy, resulting in her being barred from the wedding.

The pair became estranged after Nancy appeared on a TV chat show talking about her daughter. She has since written a book talking about their separation.

Aniston's found her private life invaded after a paparazzi photographer scaled a wall surrounding her home to take topless photos of her.

She sued and the case was eventually settled out of court, although details of the agreement were not released.

But as one half of Hollywood's golden couple, it is likely Aniston will be living life in the spotlight for many years to come.

Aniston settles privacy case
03 Jul 02 |  Showbiz
Aniston gets serious
07 Aug 02 |  Film

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