How 'Friends' Actors Made Their Debuts in the '80s

Before the hit TV sitcom Friends began its 10-year run on NBC in 1994, the six actors in the main cast made their 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 including a ridiculous 1987 Heinz ketchup ad (above.) Another one of his early commercials was in 1988 for Diet Cherry 7up in which he definitely 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 the above 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 in 1990 as "Jeannie Bueller" in the TV adaptation of Ferris Bueller's Day Off (above) and as Mayim Bialik's step sister in the short-lived TV series Molloy (below.) IMDB also credits her as an extra in the 1988 film Mac and Me.




Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry's career began mainly with guest appearances on TV sitcoms. Shows included the above 1985 appearance on Charles in Charge, Silver Spoons in 1986, and as Carol's boyfriend Sandy on Growing Pains in 1989...



Lisa Kudrow
Lisa Kudrow's TV career began on the above 1989 episode of Cheers. Her early film credits include the TV movies Married to the Mob and Just Temporary 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 The Wonder Years (above) and as attorney Dana Romney on L.A. Law.

Remember more early Friends roles? Leave a comment below!