This 'Friends' Guest Star Almost Played Ross Geller

The bombshell comes from a Guardian interview with several former 'Friends' guest stars.

Gesture, Finger, Standing, Arm, Shoulder, T-shirt, Sleeve, Neck, Cool, Outerwear,
(Image credit: NBC)

Consider my mind blown. This week, The Guardian published an inside story with several former Friends actors who had guest roles in the series (think: Aisha Tyler, a.k.a. Ross's ex, and Elliott Gould, a.k.a. Jack Gellar). The interview gave some fun insider insights about the beloved show, but the biggest bombshell came from Mitchell Whitfield, who played Rachel's orthodontist ex Barry Farber. Turns out, Whitfield-slash-Barry almost played Ross instead of David Schwimmer, and just missed out on the part.

Okay, but can you even imagine this? Because I cannot. Like, just imagine this image, but with Barry instead. Would he be able to say "pivot" correctly? What about "We were on a BREAK?"

Social group, Facial expression, People, Event, Youth, Friendship, Family taking photos together, Fun, Smile, Formal wear,

(Image credit: NBC)

Explains Whitfield, "I was brought in to audition for Ross and Chandler. I went back multiple times, and then they realized Ross was the role for me. I got down to the very end, and was testing for the show. At the last minute, they said: 'We’re bringing in one more guy to read.' That guy turned out to be David Schwimmer."

Hair, Hairstyle, Eyebrow, Forehead, Smile, Premiere, White-collar worker, Suit,

(Image credit: Jason Merritt)

Whitfield added, "My wife, she cringes a little bit because if I had ended up getting the part of Ross, I’d have made tens of millions of dollars. But I never think about that."

Whitfield, who has continued to act (he actually did the voice of Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), has done just fine, and his annoying orthodontist became a hilarious part of Friends lore. But still. If you need me, I'll be in a dark corner processing this information all week long.

For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.



Hair, Eyebrow, Hairstyle, Blond, Beauty, Nose, Chin, Lip, Brown hair, Surfer hair,

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight/20th Century Fox)
Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.