It’s doubtful the “Friends” cast knew how successful the NBC sitcom would be when it began its run in September of 1994. They certainly never expected to be on the type of show that could attract over 50 million viewers in a single episode. (Something most shows can only dream of doing today.) And while some had successful careers before the show began, being part of the “Friends” cast truly made these actors household names.

Jennifer Aniston

Aniston starred as fashionista Rachel Green. Before joining the “Friends” cast, Aniston’s most noteworthy role was probably playing the heroine in “Leprechaun,” a horror movie about…well, an evil leprechaun. Since “Friends,” Aniston has enjoyed a successful movie career, starring in such films as “He’s Just Not Into You,” and the cult hit, “Office Space.”

Courtney Cox

Courtney Cox starred as Monica Geller, Rachel’s best friend and roommate. Cox found stardom in an unusual way; she was the girl Bruce Springsteen pulled up onstage in his “Dancing in the Dark” video. Before “Friends,” she worked steadily on television and in films. She had a recurring role on the sitcom “Family Ties,” and appeared in the movie, “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective.” Cox is well known for her role as ambitious reporter Gale Weathers in the “Scream” movie series, and her ABC sitcom “Cougar Town” began in 2009.

Matthew Perry

Perry played Chandler Bing, who lived across the hall from Rachel and Monica. Perry got his big actin break in 1988 with “A Night In the Life of Jimmy Reardon.” Between that film and becoming a “Friends” cast member, Perry worked steadily in films and on television. In 2009, Perry appeared in the film “17 Again,” playing a character who gets magically transformed into his teenage self, played by Zac Efron.

David Schwimmer

Schwimmer starred as Ross Geller, Monica’s older brother, who had been love with Rachel sinc high school. Schwimmer appeared on many television shows before landing the role on “Friends.” Most notably, he had a recurring role as a lawyer (and vigilante) on “NYPD Blue.” In 2010, Schwimmer directed the film, “Trust.”

Lisa Kudrow

Kudrow joined the “Friends” cast as the sweet and eccentric Phoebe Buffay, a masseuse and musician. (Although many might disagree with the last one.) Kudrow also played Ursala Buffay, Phoebe’s less nice, but equally eccentric, twin sister, on “Mad About You,” another NBC sitcom airing at the same time as “Friends.” In 2009,  Kudrow starred in the film “The Other Woman,” which also stars Natalie Portman

Matt Le Blanc

Le Blanc joined the “Friends” cast as Joey Tribbiani, Chandler’s not-too-bright roommate. Le Blanc got his start doing television commercials. He also appeared in John Bon Jovi’s “Miracle” music video, as well as the music video for Bob Seger’s “Night Moves.” In 2010, Le Blanc received executive producer credit for the film “Jonah Hex.”