Before she became famous for The Rachel and the hairstyle’s namesake character, Jennifer Aniston gained experience with early TV and film roles. She appeared in 1993’s Leprechaun and hit the small screen in episodes of Molloy, Ferris Bueller, The Edge, and Herman’s Head.
Ten years before she was neurotically cleaning and impressively cooking as Monica Geller on Friends, Courteney Cox was cozying up to Bruce Springsteen for his “Dancing in the Dark” music video. The actress appears in the visuals as a fan who joins the musician on his stage during a concert.
Before Friends fans met Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, everybody knew her name as Emily on Cheers. The star appeared on one 1989 episode of the famed sit-com, earning additional pre-Friends credits for Room for Two, Bob, and Coach.
Matt LeBlanc stole viewers’ hearts as Friends‘ Joey Tribbiani, but he made his small-screen debut six years prior. The actor played Chuck Bender on CBS’ short-lived TV 101, also appearing in Just the Ten of Us, Married with Children, and Vinnie & Bobby before becoming the fictional Days of Our Lives star.
Friends found its Chandler Bing in none other than Matthew Perry, then a young actor in the early years of his career. He starred as Chazz Russell on Fox’s Second Chance, also earning credits for episodes of Highway to Heaven, Growing Pains, Sydney, and Home Free ahead of Friends.
Before he found his love for dinosaurs as Friends‘ Ross Geller, David Schwimmer built up his filmography in the early ’90s with small-screen appearances in episodes of The Wonder Years, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, and Blossom.
Maggie Wheeler is famous for playing Janice on Friends but first hit the small screen in the ’80s on The New Show. She earned additional pre-Friends credits for Silverhawks, Doogie Howser, M.D., and Seinfeld.
Elliott Gould joined Friends as Jack Geller, the father to Ross and Monica. He had decades of work to his name when he came into the role, including stage work such as the 1993 West End revival of On the Town and on-screen projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, MASH, The Long Goodbye, and California Split.
Christina Pickles starred opposite Gould as Judy Geller on Friends. Before taking on the role, the actress made her on-screen debut as Linell Conway on Guiding Light in the ’70s, going on to appear in Another World, St. Elsewhere, and The People Next Door.
Paul Rudd joined Friends in 2002 as Mike Hannigan, Phoebe’s eventual husband. Before taking on the part, Rudd earned previous credits for Wild Oats, Clueless, Sisters, Romeo + Juliet, The Object of My Affection, The Cider House Rules, and Wet Hot American Summer.
Jane Sibbett played Carol Willick on Friends, Ross’ ex-wife who comes out as a lesbian. Before signing on for the gig, Sibbet earned credits for Santa Barbara, The Famous Teddy Z, and Herman’s Head in the late ’80s and early ’90s.