Jennifer was born on February 11th, 1969 in Sherman Oaks, California. Both parents were actors, and her godfather was Telly Savalas. Of Greek decent (her ancestral last name is Anastassakis, not Anistonapoulos), she spent a year of her childhood living in Greece, and then returned to the US, settling in New York. Jennifer's parents divorced in 1980, and she lived primarily with her mother, Nancy. After her graduation in 1987 from New York's renowned High School of Performing Arts, she appeared in a number of television commercials and off Broadway productions, including 'For Dear Life' at the New York's Public Theater, and 'Dancing on Checker's Grave'. As a struggling actress, Jennifer often supplemented her income by waitressing. In 1990, she moved to Los Angeles, where she was featured in her first television role on the short lived sitcom 'Malloy'. During the early 1990s, Jennifer landed a succession of supporting roles in failed television sitcoms, including 'Ferris Bueller', 'Herman's Head', 'The Edge' and 'Muddling Through'. She also managed to make her feature acting debut in the poorly received horror film 'Leprechaun'. Determined to succeed, Jennifer auditioned for yet another TV pilot originally named 'Friends Like These'. The story line in 'Friends' focused on a group of 20-something New Yorkers. Impressed with her delivery, the producers cast Jennifer in the role of suburban princess turned waitress Rachel Green. The series met with both critical and commercial acclaim when it premiered, making household names of Jennifer and her co-star cast. Her popularity was confirmed when she was listed among People Magazine's 'Most Intriguing People' of 1995 and 1996.
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