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Friends star Maggie Wheeler reveals the real reason her character Janice had an iconic voice

Friends star Maggie Wheeler reveals the real reason her character Janice had such an iconic (and annoying) voice on the show

Janice Litman-Goralnik, the character played by Maggie Wheeler on the popular sitcom Friends, has one of the most recognisable voices on TV.

And on Thursday, the 59-year-old actress revealed the surprising reason why she decided to change her voice for the role.

Maggie, who does not speak with the shrieking tone of Janice, told News.com.au on Thursday that she adjusted her pitch during her audition after being fired from her previous role on Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom These Friends of Mine – and the casting directors were impressed.

Iconic: Friends star Maggie Wheeler has revealed the real reason her character Janice had such an iconic (and annoying) voice on the show. Pictured on August 23, 2016 in London

Iconic: Friends star Maggie Wheeler has revealed the real reason her character Janice had such an iconic (and annoying) voice on the show. Pictured on August 23, 2016 in London

‘I had been on the first season of the Ellen DeGeneres show and had a great time but when I was fired from that show, I was devastated,’ she said.

‘I was so shaken by it, it was an unthinkable thing as an actor, but I felt in a way liberated to do the work I wanted to do without fear or favour.’ 

She added: ‘On any other day I might have done the Friends audition differently, but it came hot on the heels off that and I felt free and decided to do what I wanted to do on that day and it worked in my favour.’

Iconic: Maggie revealed she decided to speak differently during her audition and the casting directors were impressed

Iconic: Maggie revealed she decided to speak differently during her audition and the casting directors were impressed

Maggie’s interview comes after she explained her idea to give Janice a grating voice on Channel Seven’s The Morning Show on Thursday.

‘I just made the decision when I saw the audition scene,’ she explained, referring to a scene in which Janice purchased Bullwinkle socks for her boyfriend. 

‘I made the decision about the voice in advance. I created the laugh because Matthew Perry is so funny and I knew he would make me laugh on set,’ she said.

'I just made the decision when I saw the audition scene': Maggie also explained that it was her idea to give Janice a grating voice on Channel Seven's Morning Show on Thursday

‘I just made the decision when I saw the audition scene’: Maggie also explained that it was her idea to give Janice a grating voice on Channel Seven’s Morning Show on Thursday

‘I thought Janice better have a laugh because he will crack me up every time we work together and so, that is how that happened.’ 

Janice’s full name on the series was Janice Litman-Goralnik, and she made her debut in 1994 as the obnoxious girlfriend of Chandler Bing (played by Matthew Perry) and starred on the series until 2004. 

Outside of Friends, Maggie also appeared in a string of ’90s and early 2000s sitcoms including Seinfeld, Will & Grace and Everybody Loves Raymond.

Friends is available to stream on Stan in Australia 

Tv star: Janice made her debut in 1994 as the obnoxious girlfriend of Chandler Bing (played by Matthew Perry) and starred on the series until 2004

Tv star: Janice made her debut in 1994 as the obnoxious girlfriend of Chandler Bing (played by Matthew Perry) and starred on the series until 2004

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