John Aniston, a longtime star of the soap opera “Days of Our Lives” and the father of actress Jennifer Aniston, died Friday at age 89, his daughter announced Monday.
The Greek-born actor played Victor Kiriakis on more than 3,000 “Days of Our Lives” episodes spanning more than three decades, earning him a lifetime achievement honor at the Daytime Emmy Awards this year.
A cause of death has not been released.
“You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew,” Jennifer Aniston wrote in an Instagram tribute featuring photos of her with her dad over the years.
The actor’s daughter noted he had died Friday, Veterans Day. John Aniston served in the U.S. Navy.
“Sweet papa… John Anthony Aniston,” she wrote. “You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew. I am so grateful that you went soaring into the heavens in peace — and without pain. And on 11/11 no less! You always had perfect timing. That number will forever hold an even greater meaning for me now.”
John Aniston’s acting credits included “Search for Tomorrow,” “The West Wing” and “Gilmore Girls.” But he was best-known for his long-running role on “Days of Our Lives” as family patriarch Victor Kiriakis, the former drug lord who goes on to found the powerful Titan Industries.
In 2017, his work on “Days of Our Lives” brought him an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in a drama series. Earlier this year, he was presented a lifetime achievement Emmy, with Jennifer Aniston honoring him via video.
“It’s an opportunity to not only pay tribute to a true icon in the daytime television world, but it’s also a chance to recognize the lifelong achievements of a great and well-respected actor, who also happens to be my dad,” Jennifer Aniston said at the time. “John Aniston has been working in television consistently for over half a century.”
John Aniston was born Yannis Anastassakis in Crete, Greece, and emigrated with his family to Pennsylvania when he was a child. A theater major at Pennsylvania State University, he began his professional acting career in the 1960s, with early roles in “Combat!”, “I Spy” and “The Virginian.”
Aniston was married twice, most recently to Sherry Rooney. He had two children, Jennifer and Alexander Aniston, and a stepson, John Melick.
Aniston appeared on dozens of series and films throughout an acting career that began in the early 1960s, including roles on popular shows such as “Mission: Impossible,” “Kojak,” and “Star Trek: Voyager.”
He was best known, however, for his portrayal of the mobster Victor on “Days of Our Lives,” a character he originated in 1985 and continued into this year.
The performance earned Aniston two Soap Opera Digest Awards — for lead actor and outstanding villain — in 1986, and a supporting actor nomination at the Daytime Emmys in 2017. happens to be my dad.”
Born in Crete, Greece, John Aniston grew up in Pennsylvania and studied theater at Pennsylvania State University before joining the U.S. Navy.