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New NBC Book Reveals Jennifer Aniston's Pre-'Friends' Career Anxieties

Former NBC president Warren Littlefield's new memoir, "Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV," recalls a poignant encounter with the actress at a Sunset Strip gas station.

Jennifer Aniston Walk of Fame - H 2012
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Former NBC president Warren Littlefield's first book, Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV, takes readers behind the scenes of the hit shows he helped develop in the '80s and '90s. Stories told by Littlefield and a huge cast of stars, writers and executives reveal the inner workings of the last golden age of network television.

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Among the many anecdotes in the memoir, which hits shelves on May 1, is a small story about actress Jennifer Aniston. While 10 years on NBC's Friends made her into a star, there was once a time when she doubted she would ever make it in the industry.

One night, before she made Friends, before Brad Pitt and before her hair became a national topic of conversation, Jennifer Aniston ran into Warren Littlefield, then the president of NBC Entertainment, at a gas station on Sunset Boulevard. "Jennifer had been in our weak attempt to do [a show based on] Ferris Bueller," says Littlefield. "We cast her in a few more pilots, but none was very good." As he gassed up his car, Aniston asked, "Will it ever happen for me?" Littlefield remembers thinking, "God, I wanted it to."

At least Aniston and her fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Not long after her encounter with Littlefield, she auditioned for and won the role of Rachel Green on the mega-hit sitcom Friends. While the role was originally offered to Courteney Cox, it was Aniston who succeeded in turning the character and her 'do into the Rachel so many know and have come to love over the show's ten season run.

Read The Hollywood Reporter's complete review of Top of the Rock here.