Jennifer Aniston Gets Emotional Thinking of Norman

07/12/2011 at 05:00 PM EDT

Jennifer Aniston Gets Emotional Thinking of Norman
Jennifer Aniston and Norman
Stephen Lovekin/Getty; Inset: Humberto Carreno/Startraks
When it came time to prepare for her in the 2008 movie Marley & Me, Jennifer Aniston didn't have have to look farther than her feet, where her beloved dog Norman often slept.

During a taped appearance on Inside the Actors Studio Monday, the actress spoke to host James Lipton about how she only needed to imagine the loss of her faithful friend to prep for the part.

"I have a dog now," Aniston said slowly. "My Norman just passed away about a month ago. And I remember thinking I had never walked through having to lose a pet. So just the idea of it. And Norman was getting up there at the time, so, again, easy access."

For Aniston, the reality of losing Norman, a Welsh corgi-terrier mix, came a few years later. He died in May at 15 years old.

The dog was and still is an important part of Aniston's life. When Lipton asked the actress, who recently tattooed Norman's name on her foot, to name her favorite word, her answer was, "Norman."

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