Saturday brought the sad news that beloved longtime Days of our Lives star John Aniston has passed away. The 2022 Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and Jennifer Aniston’s father, was 89 years old at the time of his death and had just been seen as Victor Kiriakis in Friday’s show.
John Aniston — A Daytime Legend
The sad news was shared by Jennifer on her official Instagram on Monday morning. “Sweet papa…John Anthony Aniston,” she wrote. “You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew. I am so grateful that you went soaring into the heavens in peace – and without pain. And on 11/11 no less! You always had perfect timing. That number will forever hold an even greater meaning for me now 🕊️I’ll love you till the end of time💔 Don’t forget to visit 💫🤗❤️”
Aniston was born Yannis Anastassakis on July 24, 1933, on the Greek Island of Crete. His family changed their last name to Aniston upon arriving in the United States when he was just two years old, settling into a new life in Chester, Pennsylvania. Acting was always on his radar, and he graduated from Penn State University with a BA in Theater Arts.
Aniston joined the Navy after graduating, serving as an intelligence officer in Panama and moving up the ranks to the position of Lieutenant Commander. In 1962, He landed his first acting gig after finishing his military service as “Officer #1” in New Man In The Precinct.
Other television roles followed, such as Combat!, I Spy, Accidental Family, The Virginian, Mission: Impossible, and That Girl. In 1969, Aniston landed a part on Days of our Lives as Eric Richards, a role that lasted into 1970. In 1974, the actor starred in two episodes of Kojak and ended up with a life-long friendship with Telly Savalas, even granting him godfather status when Aniston’s daughter Jennifer was born.
Other soap operas would follow, such as Love of Life, Search for Tomorrow, before John Aniston accepted another role on Days of our Lives in 1985…the iconic Victor Kiriakis! Salem would be the actor’s “second” home for more than 36 years.
In later years, the Daytime Emmy nominee would continue his role as Kiriakis and pepper his resume with guest-starring stints on shows such as Air Wolf, Diagnosis Murder, Star Trek: Voyager, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, My Big Fat Greek Life, Cold Case, Mad Men, and more. Overall, Aniston starred in more than 40 theatrical productions, 8 movies, and countless television appearances.
While Aniston made a solid name for himself in the entertainment industry, his daughter Jennifer would grow up to skyrocket to fame after her Emmy Award-winning stint as Rachel on the 90s hit comedy, Friends. Over the years, he tried to protect her from fame. “In show business, you get chewed up and spit out,” He explained. “Why thrust your kid into that? You try to protect them from all of the bad people out there.” But Jennifer proved she could handle it and made a name for herself.
Soap Hub sends its sincere condolences to his wife, Sherry Rooney, and children, Jennifer Aniston (with first wife, Nancy Dow) and Alexander (with Sherry Rooney), his stepson, John T. Melick, grandchildren, Ryat and Kira, as well as all of his fans, friends, and family.