How ‘Friends’ Actors Made Their Debuts

Matt LeBlanc

Before the hit sitcom Friends began its 10-year run on NBC in 1994, the cast of six main actors made their televison debuts in the ’80s. Some got their start in advertising, starring in TV commercials for Heinz, 7up, and Tampax. Others started in television with guest roles on sitcoms, dramas, and music videos.

Let’s take a look back at some of their early work before Friends made them international stars.

Matt LeBlanc

Matt LeBlanc made his acting debut in TV commercials which included a ridiculous 1987 Heinz ketchup ad. Another one of his early commercials was for Diet Cherry 7up in 1988 which channels his inner “Joey.” I can definitely picture him saying “how you doin’?” as he approaches the girl behind the counter…

Courtney Cox

Courtney Cox’s early work is probably the most well-known of the group. In 1985, she became the first person to use the word “period” on national TV in a Tampax commercial. Most remember her as the girl who gets pulled up on stage in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” music video from 1984. She was also featured in the short lived TV series Misfits of Science in 1985 and had a recurring role on the sitcom Family Ties from 1987-89. Her early films included Cocoon: The Return and Masters of the Universe

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston’s career began as an off broadway stage actor in the ’80s. Her earliest roles in TV and film were as “Jeannie Bueller” in the 1990 TV adaptation of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  and as Mayim Bialik’s step sister in the short-lived TV series Molloy. IMDB also credits her as an extra in the 1988 film Mac and Me.

Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry’s career began with many guest appearances on TV sitcoms. Shows included a 1985 appearance on Charles in ChargeSilver Spoons in 1986, and as Carol’s boyfriend Sandy on Growing Pains in 1989…

Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow’s TV career began on a 1989 episode of Cheers. Her early film credits include the TV movies Married to the Mob and Just Temporary also in 1989.

David Schwimmer

IMDB lists David Schwimmer’s early roles as uncredited extras on the TV series Police Squad in 1982 and the feature film Biloxi Blues in 1988. In the early ’90s, he would land recurring TV roles on The Wonder Years and as attorney Dana Romney on L.A. Law.

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About Jason Gross 62 Articles
'80s kid and '90s grad. I've been writing and podcasting about 1980s pop culture since 2011 at my Rediscoverthe80s.com website. I collect vinyl, comics, Batman memorabilia, and all things Mobile Armored Strike Kommand.