Lisa Kudrow has played many characters over the years, in a wide variety of film and television projects, but to most of her fans, she will forever be best known as Phoebe Buffay from Friends. Kudrow began acting on the show in 1994, when it debuted, quickly rising to fame alongside her castmates. As the quirky, eccentric Phoebe, Kudrow shone — and even after the show ended, millions of viewers kept discovering how brilliantly she portrayed the character. Kudrow doesn’t mind being associated with Phoebe, and in a sneak peek for the upcoming Friends reunion special, the actor opened up about what she thinks Phoebe would be doing these days.
How did Lisa Kudrow get started in acting?
Kudrow was born in California in 1963. She knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a career in acting, and all throughout college, she worked on breaking into the entertainment industry. Her first gig was as a member of the sketch comedy group The Groundlings. Kudrow displayed a strong sense of comedy and even tried out to be a member of the Saturday Night Live cast.
Throughout the late ’80s and into the early ’90s, Kudrow repeatedly auditioned for various television roles. She landed a few small parts in shows like Bob and Close Encounters, but it wasn’t until 1994 that she scored the part that would allow her to make her mark on Hollywood.
Lisa Kudrow played the eccentric Phoebe Buffay in ‘Friends’
In 1994, Kudrow was cast as Phoebe Buffay in Friends, a newly-produced sitcom that co-starred five other leading actors. Kudrow would later recall that she spent her earliest days on set in a haze of excitement and that filming was incredibly fun: “We were like little puppy dogs, just climbing all over each other and playing and playing games. It was fun,” Kudrow admitted.
The character of Phoebe quickly became a fan favorite. Next to the obsessive-compulsive Monica and the occasionally flighty Rachel, Phoebe was artistic and sensitive, known for her offbeat and sometimes ditzy behavior. Phoebe was a musician, a masseuse, and can speak several languages. In spite of the fact that she has no set career path, she is generally a happy person, and always thinking of others.
As the series progressed, viewers watched as Phoebe met and fell in love with Mike Hannigan, played by Paul Rudd. Phoebe and Mike eventually marry, in one of the show’s more memorable unions.
What does Lisa Kudrow think that Phoebe would be doing today?
After Friends ended in 2004, Kudrow went on to act in many other TV shows, often choosing roles that showcased her comic timing and keen sense of character development. Still, Kudrow remains best known for the role of Phoebe — and she has never really left her time as a cast member of Friends behind her.
Viewers were able to enjoy Kudrow’s memories of her time on set, when Friends: The Reunion started streaming on HBO Max. In the special, Kudrow talked about what Phoebe would be doing today. She admitted that she thinks Phoebe is “living in Connecticut with Mike and their kids, and she’s in charge of the arts program for the school…And just … the advocate for her kids because they’re different like she was.”
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