You’re probably more likely to recognize Maggie Wheeler by her iconic voice.
The 59-year-old actress was part of the friends-sphere from its very first season to the last, dipping in and out as Chandler Bing’s (Matthew Perry) love interest, Janice Hosenstein.
Turns out his nasal voice (which is fully dubbed) was entirely Wheeler’s idea. What if she hadn’t been fired from her pre-friends Actress gig, which was interesting in the Ellen DeGeneres sitcom, she may never have imagined.
“I had been on the first season of the Ellen DeGeneres show and had a great time working on that show – at first it was called These friends of mine – and I got fired from that show, I was devastated, ”Wheeler told news.com.au as friends streaming on Binge today.
“I was so shaken up by it, it was an unthinkable thing as an actor, (but) I kinda felt liberated to do the job I wanted to do without fear or favor.
“Another day I could have done the (friends) audition differently but it followed and I felt free and decided to do whatever I wanted to do that day and it worked in my favor.
“(friends) wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t had to go through the fire.
Stream all episodes of Friends and the world’s best shows for just $ 10 per month. New to Binge? Get a 14 day free trial. Register at binge.com.au
Wheeler, a proud mum of two daughters, said casting directors were stunned by her audition as a fast-talking New Yorker.
“I distinctly remember I could see them all sitting on the couch, I thought maybe that wasn’t what they were looking for,” she laughs.
“But I was wrong, and I’m glad I was wrong.”
Given his constant involvement throughout the sitcom series, Wheeler said it was fascinating to see how the series exploded in popularity over the seasons and how it impacted the filming experience.
This means that they ended up with much more sophisticated locker rooms.
RELATED: I Watched the Pilot and the Friends Finale and Thought A Lot
“There was a feeling there was a big show in the works, but at that point no one knew what was going to happen,” Wheeler said of the filming’s beginnings.
“I think at the end of the first season I realized it was a rocket on the moon and I was on it.
“At first it was quiet and everyone was hanging out in this dilapidated old room playing poker, and the changing rooms were not too many.
“(But) with each year they just got nicer and nicer. The accessories department came in and decorated the locker rooms.
“In the beginning, too, there was a lot of time to hang out, and as the show and the cast grew in popularity, people rushed to do lunchtime business.”
As to whether she took anything off the shelf, it turns out that Wheeler has a plethora of memories of Janice at home.
“I have a few items from Janice’s wardrobe, a few key items, I have a key chain that the props department made for me (for the episode where Chandler pushes Janice out of bed), that ‘ is a very goofy hideous keychain, and I am the proud owner of the golden pants.
Die-hard fans will remember the gold pants from the episode “The One With The Ross Library Book” where Janice tells Chandler to call her when her marriage to Monica “goes poo.”
RELATED: Aniston ‘struggled to escape’ Rachel from Friends
While some shows of the time were hampered by reports of ego and b ** ching (hello,Sex and the city) Wheeler wants everyone to know friends – and that’s six big stars – were happy families when the cameras stopped rolling.
“I will say there was so much camaraderie, it was a family,” she says.
Friends is now available to stream on Binge
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