Days of our Lives star John Aniston sadly passed on November 11, 2022 at the age of 89. Aniston had a long and successful career in Hollywood and was best known for his role as Victor Kiriakis on Days of Our Lives. While many may recognize Aniston from this role, he’s also the father of A-lister Jennifer Aniston who called him “one of the most beautiful humans” she ever knew in a heartfelt tribute. In honor of John’s memory and a life well-lived, follow along for 12 facts you may not know about him:
He Was Born in Greece
While John grew up American, he was actually born on the island of Crete, Greece. His family moved to the United States when he was just two years old. His family settled in Chester, Pennsylvania which is where he grew up. He went on to attend Penn State University and graduated with a degree in Theater Arts.
John Aniston Is Not His Real Name
Many may be surprised to learn that John Aniston is not actually the soap star’s real name. John Aniston was born in Greece as Yiannis Anastassakis, but the family changed his name once they moved to the United States to sound more American.
He Was Part of the United States Navy
After graduating from Penn State, Aniston went on to serve in the United States Navy as an intelligence offer. He was based in Panama on active duty and then went on to later work in the reserve. He eventually achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
He Is Jennifer Aniston’s Father
While many soap opera fans may recognize John Aniston from his iconic role as Victor on Days of our Lives, they may also know him as A-lister actress Jennifer Aniston’s father. Jennifer Aniston has starred in countless movies and rose to fame for her starring role as Rachel Greene on Friends. Jennifer actually attended the 1995 Daytime Emmy Awards with her father before Friends began gaining popularity.
His Estranged Relationship with Jennifer
John and Jennifer Aniston haven’t always had an easy relationship. The two were estranged after John left Jenifer’s mom, Nancy Dow, when Jennifer was just nine years old. Jennifer has talked openly in the past about the difficulty of her father leaving. She told Rolling Stone in 1999 that she was “shocked” by what he did. Jennifer shared that while the situation did weigh on her for many years, the two did eventually reconcile and mend their relationship.
He’s Been Married Twice
John Aniston was married twice in his lifetime. He first married Nancy Dow in 1965, but the couple divorced in 1980. The couple had one child together, Jennifer Aniston. After he parted ways with Nancy, he later went on to marry his Love on Life co-star Sherry Rooney in 1984.
He Has a Son
Aside from Jennifer, John Aniston also has another child that he had with his second wife Sherry. Their son Alexander was born in 1989. It’s unclear whether Alexander and Jennifer have any sort of relationship. While not much is known about Alexander, he reportedly lives a nomadic lifestyle and travelled across the country in a van. He also had two children with his former partner, Adriene Hallek.
Victor Kiriakis Was Not His First Days of Our Lives Role
John Aniston is likely best known for his role as Greek mobster Victor Kiriakis which he played from 1985 until his passing in 2022. While many know Aniston for this role, soap fans may be surprised to learn that he actually played another character on the soap previously. From 1969-1970, Aniston played the role of Eric Richards on Days of our Lives. While the role wasn’t especially memorable, it led him to find work on other soap operas and helped to kickstart his career.
He’s Had Many Small Screen Roles
Aside from his role as Victor on Days of our Lives, Aniston has starred in quite a few television shows. Some of his memorable appearances include those on Gilmore Girls, Mad Men, The West Wing, Airwolf, and Star Trek: Voyager.
He Almost Starred on the Mary Tyler Moore Show
Many fans of John Aniston may be surprised to know that he almost starred on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. He was originally supposed to play the character of Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show until Ted Knight was cast instead.
He’s Won Many Awards
John Aniston has been recognized for his talent many times throughout his long-standing career in Hollywood. He won three Soap Opera Digest awards for his work on Days of our Lives. He was also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the 2017 Daytime Emmy awards. Most recently, he was also given an Emmy lifetime achievement award in 2022.
He Performed in Theatrical Productions
Aside from acting in soap operas and television shows, John Aniston also had a passion for the theatre. He performed in over 40 theatrical productions in his lifetime. His Broadway debut was in the musical Little Miss Sunshine, and his most recent production was in the iconic Arthur Miller play, Death of a Salesman.
Jennifer’s Tribute to Her Father
John Aniston sadly passed at the age of 89 on Friday, November 11th. Jennifer Aniston broke the news on social media on November 14th and shared a heartfelt tribute to her father. “Sweet papa… John Anthony Aniston,” she wrote in the caption. “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. I’ll love you till the end of time. Don’t forget to visit.”