John Aniston, actor of ‘Days of Our Lives’ and father of Jennifer Aniston, dies at the age of 89


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

He was 89 years old.

“You were one of the most beautiful humans I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful you went to heaven peacefully and without pain. And 11/11 no less! You always had a perfect time,” Jennifer Aniston wrote in a statement shared on Instagram. “That number will have even greater meaning to me now.”

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

The actor appeared in numerous television series and nearly three thousand episodes of “Days of Our Lives” throughout his long career.

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

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

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

He got his big break when he was cast in the long-running soap opera “Love of Life” and later in “Search for Tomorrow.” But he didn’t become a household name until he joined “Days of our Lives” in 1985 as “romantic villain” Victor Kiriakis, a criminal with a penchant for charming the women of Salem, Illinois.

Kirakis, like Aniston, was from Greece, but he was much more sinister: he was a mobster who ran a prostitution ring in the city. Throughout the series, Kiriakis experienced several changes of heart and bounced back and forth between his character as a law-breaking gangster and loving family man in hopes of getting his adult children back. In total, Aniston appeared in the series for 37 years.

During her stints on the soaps, Aniston opened a restaurant in New York, divorced her first wife, Nancy Dow, married co-star Sherry Rooney and moved to Los Angeles, according to a Soap profile Aniston’s 1986 Opera Digest.

Aniston was surprised that her daughter planned to follow him into show business. In a 2019 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, Aniston said she found out her daughter had been calling her agent asking for auditions while he was appearing on “Search for Tomorrow.”

“I told him, ‘You don’t want to be in show business. Show business stinks,’” he said. “I tell everybody 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, they shouldn’t be in the first place— there”.

Of course, Aniston’s daughter didn’t listen and starred in one of the most successful sitcoms of all time and became one of the most famous actresses in the world.

In a 1990 interview with E! News by her daughter’s side, Aniston offered both paternal praise and cautionary guidance: “Jennifer is a natural talent,” she said to her daughter’s embarrassment, but reminded her that talent doesn’t always result in a long career .

But Aniston’s own soap opera career spanned more than 50 years, and in June she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Emmy at the Daytime Emmy Awards. He did not attend the ceremony, but his daughter toasted him in an emotional speech.

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

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