The soap opera veteran and Daytime Emmy nominee came close to portraying newscaster Ted Baxter on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show.’ “You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew,” wrote Jennifer of her dad.
Jennifer Aniston is grieving the death of her father, John Aniston, who died on Nov. 11. He was 89.
The Greek-born, Emmy-nominated actor was a staple on the NBC soap opera for over 30 years, also appearing on daytime serials “Love of Life” and “Search for Tomorrow.”
In a touching tribute posted to Instagram on Monday, the 53-year-old Friends star remembers her dad by sharing photos of the two of them from when she was a baby to more recently.
Sweet papa… John Anthony Aniston,” she began. ” You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew. I am so grateful that you went soaring into the heavens in peace – and without pain. And on 11/11 no less! You always had perfect timing. That number will forever hold an even greater meaning for me now 🕊️”
Jennifer ended her post, writing, “I’ll love you till the end of time💔 Don’t forget to visit 💫🤗❤️.”
In June, Jennifer honored her father in a tribute at the 2022 Daytime Emmys, where he won the Lifetime Achievement Award. John was perhaps best known for his role as Victor Kiriakis on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. During her dad’s Lifetime Achievement Award honor, Jennifer appeared virtually, and praised her dad.
“For over 30 years, his dedication to that show has gained him respect and admiration of his fellow actors, deep friendships and thrilled millions of fans around the world,” she said. “His career is literally the definition of lifetime achievement.”
John couldn’t attend the event so his former co-star, Suzanne Rogers, accepted the award on his behalf.
Born on the island of Crete, Greece, Aniston and his family moved to Pennsylvania when he was a child. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer. Aniston’s first acting role was “Officer #1” in a 1962 episode of “87th Precinct” titled “New Man in the Precinct.” By the 1980s, Aniston had become a soap opera mainstay.
He first appeared on “Days of Our Lives” as Dr. Eric Richards in 1969 but departed the show after one year to work on “Love of Life” and “Search for Tomorrow,” at CBS and NBC. In 1985, Aniston returned to “Days” as the now iconic crime boss Victor Kiriakis.
The dashing Aniston also appeared twice on Kojak — that show’s star, the late Telly Savalas, was Jennifer’s godfather — and also showed up on episodes of Combat!, I Spy, The Virginian, That Girl, Airwolf, Star Trek: Voyager, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, Cold Case and Mad Men.
In the early 1970s, Aniston made it through three auditions to play newscaster Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but the part eventually went to Ted Knight.
“The original script described [the character] as the Marcello Mastroianni of Minneapolis,” he said. He was told he didn’t get hired because producers “didn’t want the possibility of a romance between Baxter and Mary.” When he saw the show, he realized that Knight was perfect for the part.