Is Matt LeBlanc Secretly the Most Successful ‘Friends’ Actor?

For 10 hilarious years, Friends entertained television viewers with funny and fascinating storylines about the lives of Manhattan pals Rachel Green, Monica Geller, Phoebe Buffay, Chandler Bing, Joey Tribbiani, and Dr. Ross Geller.

When the uber-popular series came to a close, Jennifer Aniston, who played the part of Rachel, went on to make headlines for a number of reasons. Today, Aniston is the richest of the bunch, but she’s not the only Friends cast member whose career skyrocketed after the show. Is Matt LeBlanc secretly the most successful Friends actor? The answer may surprise you.

You probably knew Matt LeBlanc’s face before you knew his name

Born Matthew Steven LeBlanc in Newton, Massachusetts on July 25, 1967, the Italian-French Canadian actor who found fame on Friends was not exactly an overnight success. After graduating from Newton North High School in 1985, LeBlanc spent a semester studying carpentry at Wentworth Institute of Technology before making his way to New York where his good looks landed him plentiful work in TV commercials pitching products such as Coca Cola, KFC, Levi’s, and Doritos.

The 5’10” actor’s most memorable commercial may be the one in which he lays a bottle of Heinz ketchup on the edge of a skyscraper roof before running to the sidewalk below to catch a dollop of the famous tomato-based condiment on a freshly-purchased hot dog. Not only did the long-running slow ketchup advert put LeBlanc’s oh-so-charming face into the public eye, it also won critical accolades at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.

In the late 1980s, LeBlanc moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at television acting. His first regular part was on a CBS drama called TV 101. The show lasted just one year but paved the way for the sort of sitcoms that have been LeBlanc’s bread and butter ever since.

The 1990s saw the multi-talented actor in a number of music videos, including Alanis Morissette’s Walk Away, Bob Seger’s Night Moves, Miracle with Jon Bon Jovi, and the Tom Petty classic, Into the Great Wide Open.

Friends changed it all for LeBlanc

After a few appearances in less-than-memorable TV shows and movies, including Rebel Highway, Anything to Survive, and Reform School Girl, LeBlanc landed the role that would make him forever famous.

Although the part of Joey Tribbiani on Friends seems tailor-made for LeBlanc, he was not the only actor considered for the role. In fact, actor Vince Vaughn auditioned for the part of the laid-back Tribbiani. As a side note, writer-actor Jon Favreau tried out for the part of Chandler Bing which eventually went to Matthew Perry.

Post-Friends success

Since Friends went off the air, no star of the show has gone on to make more headlines than actress Jennifer Aniston. Whether by setting hairstyle trends or marrying and subsequently divorcing Brad Pitt, Aniston’s face seems to always be in the news. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s the most successful of the Friends cast. LeBlanc’s career has not been as flashy as Jen’s, but it’s certainly been steadier. He’s been on a hit show consistently since 2011.

LeBlanc’s spinoff show, Joey, didn’t fare well, but ever since he’s been in one great thing after another, and it’s not just diehard Friends fans who say so. Showtime’s critically acclaimed Episodes in which LeBlanc played himself endured for five first-class seasons and earned the talented actor a prestigious Golden Globe award. It was also a refreshing take on Hollywood that felt like an inside look at LeBlanc’s post-Friends life.

Currently, LeBlanc can be seen every week on the People’s Choice Award-winning CBS series, Man With a Plan. Now in its third season, the show is on the verge of being renewed as it consistently attracts about 5 million viewers each week. Man With a Plan also airs on Amazon Prime.