John Aniston, ‘Days of Our Lives’ actor and Jennifer Aniston’s father, dead at 89



CNN

John Aniston, a veteran actor known for his work on the daytime drama “Days of Our Lives,” has died, his daughter, actress Jennifer Aniston, shared Monday.

It was 89.

“You were one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. I am so grateful that you soared into the heavens in peace – and without pain. And on 11/11 no less! You always had perfect timing,” Jennifer Aniston wrote in a statement shared on Instagram. “That number will forever have an even greater meaning to me now.”

The “Friends” star began her post by writing, “Sweet papa… John Anthony Aniston.”

The actor appeared in several television series and almost three thousand episodes of “Days of Our Lives” during his long career.

“I will love you until the end of time,” Aniston concluded her caption. “Don’t forget to visit.”

Aniston was born John Anastasakis on the Greek island of Crete in 1933. He immigrated to the US when he was 10 years old and his family shortened his last name to Aniston.

Before becoming a soap star, Aniston served in the US Navy and appeared in an off-Broadway musical, reported Soap Opera Digest.

He got his big break when he was cast in the long-running soap ‘Love of Life’ and later in ‘Search for Tomorrow’. But it wasn’t until he entered Days of our Lives in 1985 as “romantic villain” Victor Kyriakis, a criminal with a penchant for charming the women of Salem, Illinois.

Kyrakis, like Aniston, was originally from Greece, but he was much more sinister: he was a mobster who ran a prostitution ring in the city. Over the course of the series, Kyriakis experienced several changes of heart and bounced back and forth between his law-breaking gangster persona and beloved family man hoping to win back his grown children. In total, Aniston appeared on the show for 37 years.

During his tenure on the soaps, Aniston opened a restaurant in New York, divorced his first wife, Nancy Dow, and married actress Sherry Rooney and moved to Los Angeles, according to a 1986 Soap Opera Digest profile of her Aniston.

Aniston was surprised that his daughter planned to follow him into show business. In a 2019 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Aniston said he found out his daughter was calling his agent to ask for an audition while appearing on “Search for Tomorrow.”

“I told her, ‘You don’t want to do show business. Show business stinks,” he said. “I tell everyone who wants to be an actor, don’t be an actor, be something else. Because if telling (them) to stay out of show business is going to keep them out, it shouldn’t be in the first place.”

Of course, Aniston’s daughter didn’t listen and went on to star in one of the most successful sitcoms of all time and become one of the most famous actresses in the world.

In a 1990 interview with E! News with his daughter, Aniston offered fatherly praise and sober guidance: “Jennifer is a natural talent,” he said to his daughter’s bewilderment, but reminded her that talent doesn’t always lead to a long career.

But Aniston’s soap career has spanned more than 50 years, and in June he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy at the Daytime Emmy Awards. He did not attend the ceremony, but his daughter toasted him in a moving speech.

“For more than 30 years, his dedication to (‘Days’) has earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow actors, deep friendships and delighted millions of fans around the world,” he said. “His career is literally the definition of a lifetime achievement.”



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