Friends star Maggie Wheeler, 59, who played Janice resurfaces on TV


American actress Maggie Wheeler portrayed the larger-than-life character Janice on the wildly popular sitcom Friends from 1994 to 2004.

And the New York City native still looks fantastic today, more than 16 years after the iconic series aired its last episode on NBC.

Maggie, 59, spoke warmly of her character – who was known for her screeching catchphrase ‘oh my god!’ – during an interview on The Morning Show on Thursday.

When asked by hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies about her famous catchphrase, Maggie said she was ‘never sick of hearing it’.

Janice’s full name on the series was Janice Litman-Goralnik, and she made her debut in 1994 as the obnoxious girlfriend of Chandler Bing (played by Matthew Perry).  

Maggie explained it was her idea to give Janice a high-pitched, grating voice – which went on to become a running joke for 10 seasons – because she felt her character needed to match Matthew’s comedic energy.

‘I just made the decision when I saw the audition scene,’ she said, referring to a scene in which Janice purchased Bullwinkle socks for her boyfriend. 

‘I created the laugh because Matthew Perry is so funny and I knew he would make me laugh on set,’ she added. 

‘I thought Janice better have a laugh because he will crack me up every time we work together, and so that is how that happened.’  

Despite only being written as a one-off character, Janice featured in all 10 seasons of Friends because the show’s executives loved her so much. 

‘The writers fell in love with Janice and they continued to bring me back and find ways to write her into episodes and seasons,’ she said with pride. 

Outside of Friends, Maggie also appeared in a string of ’90s and early 2000s sitcoms including Seinfeld, Will & Grace and Everybody Loves Raymond. 

She explained that while work has slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has a number of other passion projects on the go.

‘I am a song leader,’ she said. ‘I am holding very large international community singing events while everyone is shut down.’


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