Maggie Wheeler is an American actress who is best remember for her role as Janice in the popular sitcom ‘FRIENDS’. Originally slated to appear as a guest star, Janice became a recurring role when her distinct personality made the audience laugh. Maggie began her career in the world of showbiz in the 1980s as a voice actor. She voiced for characters, such as the villainess Melodia in the animated series, ‘SilverHawks’. She also lent her voice for the show, ‘Comic Strip’. Her career graph spiked upwards in the 1990s when she auditioned for the role of Monica Geller on ‘Friends’, which eventually went to Courtney Cox. However, the show runners were impressed with Maggie’s performance and comic sensibility and asked her to play the popular recurring character, Janice, a love interest of Matthew Perry’s character, Chandler Bing. This was followed by a recurring role on the CBS sitcom, ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’. Prior to these, she had secured star billing in the first season of ‘Ellen’. Since then, Maggie has made guest appearances in a slew of popular television shows, including ‘ER’, ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Will and Grace’ among others. She has also appeared in popular films, such as ‘Dr Dolittle III’ and ‘The Parent Trap’.
Maggie Wheeler knew she loved the world of entertainment even as a child and dreamed of becoming an actress. She began her career by appearing on the NBC comedy sketch show titled, ‘The New Show,’ in 1984. She performed various pieces but wasn’t noticed. Her breakthrough came behind the curtains as a voice actor. During the 1980s, Maggie was the voice behind many characters in the series, ‘Sliverhawks’. She voiced for the character of Melodia, the antagonist, as well as Steelhart/Emily Hart, who was the protagonist. Her diverse voice paved the way to more voiceover work, including for series, the ‘Karate Kid’ and ‘The Comic Strip’. While she primarily worked as a voice actor, she was also seen in guest roles in various films, including ‘Soup for One’ (1982), ‘Portfolio’ (1983), ‘Someone to Love’ (1987), ‘Mortal Sins’ (1989) and ‘New Year’s Day’ (1989).
Since 1990, Wheeler focused on television shows as they provided more substantial roles. She was seen in an episode of ‘L.A. Law’ as Paula Lights and later in ‘Dream On’ as Bonnie Decker. Her big break came when she appeared as ‘Cynthia’ in hit series ‘Seinfeld’ in 1992. Other television appearances soon followed, including guest roles in ‘Civil Wars’, ‘Doogie Howser M.D.’, ‘Sexual Healing’, and ‘The X Files’. Maggie’s career took a turn in 1994 when she auditioned for a new series titled, ‘FRIENDS,’ for the lead role of Monica Geller. Despite not landing this role, her impressive audition ensured that she got the recurring guest role of Janice Litman-Goralnik, an on-and-off girlfriend and love interest of Chandler Bing. Her role became a popular laughing sketch and she made an appearance in every season. In the end, she was among the most frequent guest actors in the series and had appeared in 19 episodes. Later in 1994, she landed her first main role as Anita Warrell in the sitcom, ‘Ellen,’ for the first season. She continued to appear in a guest role until the third season.
Maggie’s next big role came in the CBS sitcom, ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’. Though she auditioned for the main role, she was cast as the lead character’s friend, Linda Gruenfelder, who appeared in over 10 episodes from 1996 to 2004. In 1998, she appeared in the hit children’s movie, ‘The Parent Trap,’ as Marva Kulp Jr. Since then, Wheeler has mostly relegated herself to playing recurring and guest characters on television. Her most notable roles include her appearances in series ‘Jack & Jill’, ‘Will & Grace’, ‘ER’, ‘How I Met Your Mother’, ‘Without a Trace’, ‘Shake it Up’, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and ‘Californication’. She was also active with her voice-over work and lent her voice to Antiope in ‘Justice League’ and Trinette Magoon in ‘Archer’. Her latest appearances include her portrayal as a Fortune Teller in ‘I Didn’t Do It’ (2015) and as Steph in ‘Maron’ (2016). In 2018, she was the voice behind Mrs. Yewh and T.P. Mummy in the animated series, ‘The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants’. Despite working mostly as a guest actor and taking over side roles, Wheeler’s impeccable comic timing has left an impression on many.
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Family & Personal Life
Margaret Emily Jakobson was born on August 7, 1961, to Barabara and John Jakobson. While her mother was a writer, her father worked as a trader and stockbroker on Wall Street and left behind a fortune to his daughter. Margaret has been married to Daniel Borden Wheeler since 1990. Daniel is a famous artist, sculptor and photographer from Ohia who made it big in Los Angeles. The pair has been happily married for well over 28 years and continue to remain in love with each other. They have two daughters: Juno Wheeler (born 1994) and Gemma Wheeler (born 1999).