Maggie Wheeler

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Maggie Wheeler
Maggie Wheeler 2013.jpg
Wheeler in 2013
Margaret Emily Jakobson

New York City, U.S.
Other namesMaggie Jakobson
Years active1982–present
Daniel Wheeler
(m. 1990)

Margaret Emily Wheeler (née Jakobson) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Janice on the television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), and Anita on Ellen (1994–1996).

Early life[edit]

Wheeler was born Margaret Emily Jakobson in New York City, the daughter of Barbara, a writer, and John Jakobson, who began his career on Wall Street as one of the youngest members of the New York Stock Exchange.[1] She was raised in a secular Jewish household and graduated from The Calhoun School in New York City.[2]


In the 1980s, Wheeler (under her maiden name of Jakobson) briefly dabbled in voice acting on the animated series SilverHawks, where she provided all the female voices, specifically the villainess Melodia and the heroine Steelheart/Emily Hart, and on the Karate Kat and Mini-Monsters segments of The Comic Strip. She also starred in the 1989 film, New Year's Day, alongside David Duchovny.

After she became Maggie Wheeler, there has been a rumor that she auditioned for the role of Monica Geller in the series Friends. However, she denied this in an interview, stating that she only auditioned for the role of Janice Goralnik, which she was invited to play.[3] Janice was a recurring character of the series and particularly known as a frequent love interest of main character Chandler Bing. She appeared at least once in each season; her 19 episodes tie her with Christina Pickles for Friends’ third most frequent guest actor, behind only Elliott Gould's 20 episodes, and James Michael Tyler's 150 episodes.

She also auditioned for the role of Debra Barone, on the American sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Although she was the producers' choice, CBS ended up selecting Patricia Heaton. Instead, Wheeler played the recurring role of Debra's friend, Linda.

According to Kathy Griffin's autobiography, Official Book Club Selection, Wheeler was cast in the role of Vicki for the pilot episode of Suddenly Susan and was later replaced by Griffin.[4]

She had a star billing in the first season of Ellen. She appeared on the hit comedy Seinfeld in the episode "The Fix-Up", as one of Elaine's friends who is set up with George. She has appeared in many other television programs, including Drake & Josh, ER, The X-Files, The War at Home, Will & Grace, Jack and Jill, How I Met Your Mother and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In 1997, Wheeler voiced Harley Quinn's replacement in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Millions".

In 1998, she appeared in the remake of Disney's The Parent Trap, playing the younger of a mother-daughter pair of camp counselors. Wheeler provided the voice of Odile in Barbie of Swan Lake, and Trinette in the animated sitcom Archer.

In 2011, she guest-starred in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up as Dina's mother.

Personal life[edit]

She has been married to sculptor Daniel Borden Wheeler since 1990.[5][6]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
1982 Soup for One Nurse
1983 Portfolio Assistant Choreographer
1987 Someone to Love Attendee
1989 Mortal Sins Marie
New Year's Day Lucy
1993 Sexual Healing Suzanne Short film
1998 The Parent Trap Marva Kulp, Jr
2003 Barbie of Swan Lake Odile Voice role; direct-to-video film
2006 Dr. Dolittle 3 Brown Hen/Fluffy Hen
2007 Waking Dreams Jenny
2015 The 3 Tails: A Mermaid Adventure Maria
2019 The Addams Family Trudy Pickering Voice role
2021 Mark, Mary & Some Other People Lisa
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
1984 The New Show Various 8 episodes
1985 The Paper Chase N/A Episode: "The Day Kingsfield Missed Class"
1986 SilverHawks Melodia/Steelheart Voice role; main role
1990 L.A. Law Paula Lights Episode: "The Good Human Bar"
1991 Dream On Bonnie Decker Episode: "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh"
1992 Seinfeld Cynthia Episode: "The Fix-Up"
Civil Wars Patricia McDermott Episode: "Mob Psychology"
Doogie Howser, M.D. Elena Spencer Episodes: "What You See Ain't Necessarily What You Get", "The Patient in Spite of Himself"
1994 The X-Files Det. Sharon Lazard Episode: "Born Again"
  • 1994–2004
Friends Janice Litman-Goralnik (née Hosenstein) Recurring role, 19 episodes
1994–1996 Ellen Anita Warrell Main role (season 1); guest role (season 3); 7 episodes
1995 Pride & Joy Flight Attendant Episode: "Terror at 30,000 Feet"
1996–2004 Everybody Loves Raymond Linda Gruenfelder Recurring role, 11 episodes
1998 The New Batman Adventures Fake Harley (voice) Episode: "Joker's Millions"
Love Boat: The Next Wave Cindy Episode: "True Course"
1999 Get Real Jennifer Episode: Pilot
2001 Jack & Jill Kristen Moss Episodes: "Crazy Like a Fox, Hungry Like the Wolf", "Bag Full of Love"
It's Like, You Know... Rachel Episode: "Walking Tall"
2002 Will & Grace Polly Episode: "Dyeing Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard"
Justice League Antiope/Perfume Lady/Firefighter/Pilot Voice role; episode: "Fury: Parts 1 & 2"
2003 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Stand-Up Comedian Episode: "Last Laugh"
2004 Kim Possible Dr. Renton Voice role; episode: "Motor Ed"
2005 Paine Management Jeanine Bernsen Television movie
Fat Actress Woman Diapering Baby Episode: "Charlie's Angels or Too Pooped to Pop"
Higglytown Heroes Street Sweeper Hero Voice role; episode: "Higgly Frog Day/Eubie's Ele-Fantastic Adventure"
E-Ring Investigator Episode: "Escape and Evade"
2006 Drake & Josh Denise Episode: "Alien Invasion"
ER Amy Kellerman Episode: "Ames v. Kovac"
Friday Night Lights Teacher Episode: "It's Different for Girls"
2007 The War at Home Mindy Episodes: "It's a Lower-Middle-Upper-Middle Class Problem", "The War of the Golds"
How I Met Your Mother Margaret Episode: "Dowisetrepla"
2009 Without a Trace Gail Menken Episode: "Wanted"
The Breakdown Jennifer Unsold television pilot
2009–2012, 2017 Archer Trinette McGoon Voice role; 11 episodes
2010 Glenn Martin DDS N/A Voice role; episode: "Jackie of All Trades"
2011 Shake It Up Mrs Garcia Episodes: "Twist it Up", "In The Bag it Up"
Curb Your Enthusiasm Ilene Solotaroff Episode: "Palestinian Chicken"
The Closer Gail's friend Episode: "Road Block"
2013 Californication Ophelia Robbins Recurring role, 5 episodes
2014 Hot in Cleveland Rachel (Melanie's Childhood friend) Episode: "Murder House"
2015 I Didn't Do It Fortune Teller Episode: "The Bite Club"
2016 Maron Steph Episode: "Shrink and Kink"
2018 Shameless Fiona's lawyer Episodes: "A Gallagher Pedicure", "Sleepwalking"
The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants Lunch Lady (voice) / Mrs. Yewh (voice) / T.P. Mummy (voice) Episodes: "Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Perilous Misfortune of the T.P. Mummy", "Captain Underpants and the Squishy Predicament of the Stanley Peet's Stinky Pits"
2021 Friends: The Reunion Herself Television special


  1. ^ Birk, Libby. "'Chicago P.D.' Actress Marina Squerciati Claims She's a Secret Daughter of Late Millionaire". Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  2. ^ Gladstone, Douglas. "Oh. My. Gawd. Janice from 'Friends' is a choir director". The Times of Israel. Jerusalem. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  3. ^ Wightman, Catronia (September 15, 2014). "Friends Week: Maggie Wheeler on being Janice". Digital Spy. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  4. ^ Griffin, Kathy (2009). Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin. Ballantine Books. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-345-51851-4. Eventually for the pilot they cast Maggie Wheeler... The show got picked up, but as is often the case, the cast from the pilot changes, and for some reason it didn't work out with Maggie.
  5. ^ "Maggie Jakobson, Actress, Marries". The New York Times. October 21, 1990. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
  6. ^ Desai, Karishma (May 20, 2021). "Who Is Maggie Wheeler's Husband?". The List. Retrieved August 14, 2021.

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