On today in 1994, the tv screen sitcom Friends, about six adults surviving in New York City, debuts on NBC. The show, which featured several unknown actors relatively, went on to become huge hit and air for 10 seasons. It also propelled the cast-Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer-to varying levels of stardom and success in Hollywood.
Of the six main Friends cast members, Jennifer Aniston emerged as arguably probably the most famous. Aniston played the fashion-loving Rachel Green, who, once the show began, worked as a waitress at Central Perk, a restaurant that served as a gathering spot for the good friends. The actress’s blonde, layered hairstyle through the first season became referred to as “The Rachel” and was copied by women around the world. Off-screen, Aniston, whose film credits include The Good Girl (2002), Bruce Almighty (2003), Rumor Has It (2005) and The Break-Up (2006), became a tabloid-media fixture on her behalf relationship with the actor Brad Pitt. The couple married in a lavish ceremony in Malibu, California, in 2000 and announced their separation in early 2005 amid soon-to-be-confirmed rumors of Pitt’s involvement with the actress Angelina Jolie.
Courteney Cox, the very best known of the cast members when Friends debuted, played Monica Geller, a neurotic, hyper-organized chef. The actress, who first gained notice when she appeared in the 1984 Bruce Springsteen video “Dancing in the Dark,” acted in the favorite sitcom Family Ties and co-starred opposite Jim Carrey in 1994’s hit comedy Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (1994). She was later featured in the successful Scream movies and it series Dirt. Since 1999, she’s been married to the actor David Arquette and goes on the professional name Courtney Cox Arquette. The third female Friends cast member, Lisa Kudrow, portrayed the wacky masseuse-musician Phoebe Buffay. Kudrow’s film credits include Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (1997), The Opposite of Sex (1998), Analyze This (1999) and its own sequel Analyze That (2002) and P.S. I Love You (2007). In 2005, she headlined the well-reviewed but short-lived HBO comedy series The Comeback.
The male Friends included Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, a handsome but dim-witted struggling actor. From 2004 to 2006, LeBlanc starred in the spin-off TV series Joey.
David Schwimmer played Ross Geller, a sensitive paleontologist and Monica’s older brother. One of the primary storylines on Friends was Ross’s on-again, off-again relationship with Aniston’s Rachel. Schwimmer’s other acting credits are the 2001 TV mini-series Band of Brothers. Rounding out the Friends cast was Matthew Perry, who played the wisecracking businessman Chandler Bing. Perry’s film credits include Fools Rush In (1997), The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and The Whole Ten Yards (2004); recently, he co-starred on the short-lived NBC comedy-drama series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
On May 6, 2004, a lot more than 50 million viewers reportedly tuned into the final bout of Friends, rendering it among the most-watched TV finales ever sold.