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

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CNN

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, announced Monday.

He was 89.

“You were one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known. I am so thankful that you ascended to heaven in peace – and without pain. And on 11.11. not less! You always had perfect timing,” Jennifer Aniston wrote in a statement, which she shared further Instagram. “That number will mean even more to me now forever.”

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

The actor has starred in numerous TV series and almost three thousand episodes of “Days of Our Lives” throughout his long career.

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

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

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

His big break came when he was cast in the long-running soap opera Love of Life and later 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 was originally from Greece, like Aniston, but was much more sinister: he was a gangster who ran a prostitution ring in the city. Over the course of the series, Kiriakis experienced several changes of heart, vacillating between his law-breaking gangster persona and loving family man in hopes of winning back his grown children. All in all, Aniston appeared on and off on the show for 37 years.

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

Aniston was surprised 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 called his agent to ask about auditions while he was appearing on Search for Tomorrow.

“I told her, ‘You don’t want to be in show business. Show business stinks,'” he said. “I say to anyone who wants to be an actor, don’t be an actor, be something else. Because if my order[them]to stay out of show business is stopping them, they shouldn’t even be in it.”

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

In a 1990 interview with E! News Alongside his daughter, Aniston offered both fatherly praise and sobering advice: “Jennifer is a natural,” he said, to his daughter’s embarrassment, but reminded her that talent doesn’t always translate into a long career.

But Aniston’s own career in soaps spanned more than 50 years, and in June it was him 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 over 30 years, his dedication to (‘Days’) has earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow cast members, deep friendships, and delighted millions of fans around the world,” she said said. “His career is literally the definition of a lifetime achievement.”

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