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Maggie Wheeler

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Also Known As: Maggie Jakobson Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Thanks to "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004) and the unforgettably, whiny, nasal voice she adopted for the show, Maggie Wheeler earned a place in the American consciousness as a broadside parody of Long Island Jewish America. After 10 years of supporting work as Janice, the character effectively defined Wheeler as an actor, although she had a long list of impressive credits before, during and after "Friends."Maggie Wheeler was born Maggie Jakobson on Aug. 7, 1961 in New York City, NY. Though never a lead actress, Wheeler had little trouble finding work as a voice actor and later as an almost-archetypal New Yorker. Throughout her career, but especially in the "Friends" years, she received many comparisons to the similarly brash (and distinctively harshly-voiced) Fran Drescher. She began her career in the early 1980s, landing work as a voice actress on several cartoon shows over the ensuing years. She then scored roles in two Henry Jaglom films, co-starring in one of them - 1989's "New Year's Day" - alongside actor David Duchovny, whom she would go on to date at one time. A string of single-episode guest appearances on prominent TV shows followed, including "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986-1994), "Seinfeld" (NBC,...

Thanks to "Friends" (NBC, 1994-2004) and the unforgettably, whiny, nasal voice she adopted for the show, Maggie Wheeler earned a place in the American consciousness as a broadside parody of Long Island Jewish America. After 10 years of supporting work as Janice, the character effectively defined Wheeler as an actor, although she had a long list of impressive credits before, during and after "Friends."

Maggie Wheeler was born Maggie Jakobson on Aug. 7, 1961 in New York City, NY. Though never a lead actress, Wheeler had little trouble finding work as a voice actor and later as an almost-archetypal New Yorker. Throughout her career, but especially in the "Friends" years, she received many comparisons to the similarly brash (and distinctively harshly-voiced) Fran Drescher. She began her career in the early 1980s, landing work as a voice actress on several cartoon shows over the ensuing years. She then scored roles in two Henry Jaglom films, co-starring in one of them - 1989's "New Year's Day" - alongside actor David Duchovny, whom she would go on to date at one time. A string of single-episode guest appearances on prominent TV shows followed, including "L.A. Law" (NBC, 1986-1994), "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998) and her former boyfriend Duchovny's cult classic, "The X-Files" (FOX, 1993-2002).

She received what seemed to have been a sizeable break in 1994 when she became a member of the series regular cast on Ellen Degeneres' show "Ellen" (ABC, 1994-98), but disappeared from the show during the first season. Ironically, she earned her fame that same year; but not for another starring role. Rather, it was for a guest appearance - her first of many as Chandler's shrieking ex-girlfriend Janice on "Friends." Though Wheeler had originally auditioned for the role of Monica Gellar, which she lost to Courteney Cox-Arquette, she managed to make her own mark on the series by popping in and out of the lives of the six New York friends - usually to hilarious results.

Janice - she of the braying laugh and constant exhortation of "OH.MY.GAWD!" - served as an almost-nemesis to Chandler, who was unable to resist occasional Janice reunions, in spite of a professed near-hatred for her by him and virtually every other character on the show. In truth, the character was seemingly written to encompass so many stereotypes, that claims of anti-Semitism might have been merited. Nevertheless, the producers and audiences had a soft spot for Janice. With the exception of the cast's six main members, Wheeler was one of only four actors credited with appearances in every season on the show.

Other casting directors loved Wheeler, but rarely for the roles she wanted. She also auditioned for the co-starring spots of Vicki Groener on "Suddenly Susan" (NBC, 1996-2000), and Debra Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2006). Although she actually appeared in the original version of the "Suddenly Susan" pilot, her character was re-cast with Kathy Griffin taking her place in re-shoots. And despite being passed over for Debra - a role which went to Patricia Heaton - not unlike her consolation prize role on "Friends," she landed a recurring role as Linda Gruenfelder on "Raymond."

After her recurring roles on "Friends" and "Raymond" concluded, Wheeler continued to find work primarily on other television series, usually in guest or supporting roles, along with occasional voiceover work.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Dr. Dolittle 3 (2006)
3.
 PARENT TRAP, THE (1998) Marva Kulp Jr
4.
 I Love the '70s (2003) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
David Wheeler. Sculptor.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Juno Wheeler. Born c. 1995.

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