What Were The F.R.I.E.N.D.S Stars Doing Before They Signed For The Greatest Show Ever?

More than two decades ago, a group of actors were brought together in one set to start a television series that was about to become one of the biggest memories of the 90s. These actors, may have had dreams to make it big in Hollywood some day, but hardly could ever have imagined that they would rule the hearts of people all over the world even a decade after they have shot their final episode of the series.

Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Joey – the sensational six where made into legendary characters by six unique actors who where living their lives, without any idea of each other’s existence, before they were brought together. Let’s find out what they were up to before F.R.I.E.N.D.S happened in their lives.

1. Matt LeBlanc

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Leblanc, born to a French-Canadian father and an Italian mother had been a known face in television commercials and music videos during the early 90s. A pretty and young Italian face, LeBlanc could be seen in Jon Bon Jovi’s “Miracle” music video, Alanis Morissete‘s “Walk Away” as well as Tom Petty‘s “Into The Great Wide Open”.

His 13 episodes with the show TV 101 kick-started his television career with projects like Just The Ten Of Us (1989), Top of The Heap (1991), Married With Children (1991) and Vinnie And Bobby(1992). Although, Matt had already bagged a leading role in Vinnie And Bobby by 1992, his biggest and most celebrated body of work started only a couple of years after.


2. Jennifer Aniston

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Jennifer’s parents were both actors who encouraged her to take up drama while growing up. However, she didn’t have it easy making it big in Hollywood. Before bagging her career defining role of Rachel Green, Jennifer had four failed sitcoms to show for herself – Molloy (1990), Ferris Bueller (1990-1991), The Edge (1992-1993) and Mudding Through (1994).

Jennifer, quite frustrated at the downward curve of career, pulled over at Sunset Boulevard on a 1994 night where she met Warren Littlefield, who was the president of NBC entertainment back then. A distraught Jennifer approached and shot a plaintive question at him, “Is it ever going to happen?”. Later that year, NBC handed her the F.R.I.E.N.D.S script and she didn’t look back from then on.


3. Mathew Perry

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If Mathew Perry is known for anything other than his immortal Chandler Bing act over the ten seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, it is the blockbuster Hollywood rom-com 17-Again along with Zac Effron. It had a fascinating premise where Perry plays Mike, a 37 year old who gets a chance to get back to his younger self of 17, played by Zac Effron to take care of a few things in life.

Quite interestingly, when Perry was just 18, he was a part of a sitcom called Second Chance which had a similar plot line. However, back then, Perry had played the role of a younger version of a man who dies and finds a chance to mentor is younger self. The show was later re-titled as Boys Will Be Boys, and after it ended, Perry bagged several small roles in shows such as Empty Nest, Growing Pains, Call Me Anna until 1994 when he cracked the most epic role ever.


4. Lisa Kudrow

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Kudrow was a smart young woman, dedicated to academics. After graduating in Biology from the Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, she started working with her father to pursue a career in medical research. Now it was comedian Jon Lovitz who persuaded Kudrow to perform which led her to try the waters in the field of acting. Soon, she became a part of The Groundlings, the famous improv comedy troupe of Los Angeles. Lisa auditioned for Saturday Nigt Live in 1990 but failed.

However, a couple of years later, she bagged the role of Usrula in the 1992 sitcom, Mad About You. She was cast for the role of Roz in Frasier but was eventually replaced by Peri Gaplin after shooting the pilot episode. However, that was the last of rejections that Kudrow had to face because the next big that awaited her was actually the biggest thing could ever happen.


5. David Schwimmer

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Schwimmer is perhaps, the most well-trained actor among the six. In 1988, David earned his bachelors degree in theater and speech from Northwestern University in Illinois and went on to form his theater group, the Lookingglass Theater Company. He landed a few small roles in established shows such as The Wonder Years, NYPD Blue. L.A Law as well as a few small movies like Crossing the Bridge (1992), Twenty Bucks (1992), and The Waiter (1993). Amidst all the bit roles in big and small projects, David was offered a role along with Henry Winkler in a sitcom titled Monty. It could have been the much awaited big break for him had the project not been cancelled.

David, after the cancellation had apparently vowed never to sign up for a comedy series ever again. We all know how that vow was kept eventually.


6. Courtney Cox

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Courtney was the only one among the six who already was a star before walking into the sets of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Ten years before the F.R.I.E.N.D.S began, she had already featured in the music video of Dancing In The Dark by the legendary Bruce Springsteen. The next year, she was seen in The Misfits, and then in Family Ties which ran from 1987-1989. Courtney also had some impressive movies in her show-reel that included Masters of Universe (1987), Cocoon: The Return (1988), I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1988), Mr. Destiny (1990).

In 1994, which was a big year for Courtney as she signed with NBS for the epic role Monica Geller, she had already done the Box Office smashing Ace Ventura: Pet Detective with Hollywood comedy shark, Jim Carrey.

Some were already stars, some were still struggling – but all it needed was the six of them to walk into a room to spell the magic that that would never wear off.

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