An Ode to Courteney....
Greetings, I'm Chris Herr (Justice on the Net) and I've been a fan of Courteney Cox Arquette since she was on the show 'Family Ties' and 'Misfits of Science'. I've been backtracking and keeping up with her current work to create the site you see here. If you have other information about Courteney or comments please send me and I'll post it.
A bit of Courteney's History...
A native of Birmingham, AL, Courteney Cox moved to New York City after her graduation from high school and was subsequently signed by the Ford modeling agency. Shortly thereafter, she started working in television commercials for Maybelline, Noxema and the New York Telephone Company, among other sponsors.
In 1984 Cox made her acting debut in the daytime drama "As the World Turns." Later that year she appeared in Bruce Springsteen's music video "Dancing in the Dark." She was cast by director Brian DePalma to portray the young fan Springsteen pulls out of the audience to be his dance partner.
Cox's most memorable television series role of the 80's was her portrayal of Lauren, Alex P. Keaton's (Michael J. Fox) girlfriend on "Family Ties." Her other television credits include regular series roles on "Misfits of Science" and "The Trouble with Larry" as well as guest-starring parts on such hits as "Murder, She Wrote," NBC's "Seinfeld" and the cable series "Dream On." She has starred in several television movies, including "Prize Pulitzer," "Battling for Baby" and "Curiosity Kills," as well as in the mini-series "Till We Meet Again," based on Judith Krantz's best-selling novel.
Of course most people know Courteney as her role of Monica on Friends.
Of her motion picture credits, Cox is best known for her starring role opposite comedian Jim Carrey in the box-office hit "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." She also wowed the audience in the Scream movies. Her other feature films are "Down Twisted," "Masters of the Universe," "Cocoon: The Return," "Shaking the Tree," "Mr. Destiny" and "Blue Desert."
On stage, she starred with Michael Spound in "King of Hearts" at the Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles.
She has also worked as an executive producer of filmography in "The Shrink Is In," in 2000.
When she is not working, she enjoys remodeling and decorating homes. Cox was born on a June 15. She lives in Los Angeles.
Click here to jump ahead to An Interview with Ms. Arquette:
Biographical information for Courteney
Date of Birth (location)
15 June 1964, Birmingham, AL
Height : 5' 5"
Corteney Bass Cox Arquette began her career in entertainment shortly after moving to New York from her native Birmingham, Alabama. A stint as a model with the prestigious Ford Agency led to television commercials. Her video appearance as the young fan in Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" brought her to the attention of television and film producers. She is perhaps best known as Lauren, the girlfriend of Michael J. Fox in the hit TV series "Family Ties".
In 1984, Corteney Cox worked at F.B.I. (Frontier Booking International) a concert booking agency in New York run by Ian Copeland (brother of Stewart of the Police) and a relative of Cox's.
Courteney married David Arquette.
In Bruce Springsteen's video "This Gun for Hire", she dances with him.
Notable Guest Appearances
"Seinfeld" (03/94), as Meryl
Music video for Bruce Springsteen: "Dancing in the Dark" (1984)
- Alien Love Triangle (2002) .... Alice
- Get Well Soon (2001)
- 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) .... Cybil Waingrow
- Friends: The Stuff You've Never Seen (2001) (TV) .... Herself/Monica Geller
- Shrink Is In, The (2000) .... Samantha
- Scream 3 (2000) (as Courteney Cox Arquette) .... Gale Weathers
- 51st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, The (1999) (TV) .... Monica Geller
- Runner, The (1999) .... Karina
- Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler (1999) (TV) .... Herself
- Commandments (1997) .... Rachel Luce
- Scream 2 (1997) .... Gale Weathers
- Scream (1996) .... Gale Weathers
- 1995 MTV Movie Awards (1995) (TV) .... Host
- Commandments (1996) .... Rachel Luce
- Sketch Artist II: Hands that See (1995) (TV) .... Emmy
- "Friends" (1995) TV Series .... Monica Geller
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) .... Melissa Robinson
- "Trouble with Larry, The" (1993) TV Series .... Gabriella Easden
- Battling for Baby (1992) (TV) .... Katherine
- Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, The (1992) .... Carrie Davenport
- Blue Desert (1991) .... Lisa Roberts
- Curiosity Kills (1990) (TV) .... Gwen
- Mr. Destiny (1990) .... Jewel Jagger
- Shaking the Tree (1990) .... Kathleen
- Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer (1989) (TV) .... Jacquie Kimberly
- Till We Meet Again (1989) (TV) .... Freddy
... aka Judith Krantz's 'Till We Meet Again' (1989) (TV)
- Cocoon: The Return (1988) .... Sara
- I'll Be Home for Christmas (1988) (TV)
- Down Twisted (1987) .... Tarah
- If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium (1987) (TV) .... Hana Wyshocki
- Masters of the Universe (1987) .... Julie Winston
- "Misfits of Science" (1985) TV Series .... Gloria Dinallo
- "Family Ties" (1982) TV Series .... Lauren Miller (1987-1989)
- Dream On (1981)
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Created August, 7th 1996
This is a production of Balance Publishing
Babe of the Year
An article originally published in PLAYBOY Magazine December 1995
Written by Michael Angeli
Courteney Cox of "Friends" is TV’s most adorable female star since Mary Tyler Moore
I met Courteney Cox about a year and a half ago, before she charmed her way past Roseanne, Grace, Ellen and Helen to become belle of the sitcom ball on the hit NBC series Friends. She was shooting a film at an abandoned hospital in Los Angeles, and she was the talk of our set,not for her acting ability, charm, beauty or her potential to become the 1995 Babe of the Year, but for the $80,000 silver Porsche Carrera crouched behind her dressing trailer.
- As the writer of the film; a Showtime weeper called Sketch Artist II: Hands That See; I ate lunch with the crew and respectfully averted my eyes when an actor would pass. So I was surprised when Cox took the empty seat next to me. More important, I was thankful: I had had a dark premonition about the spaghetti (which is never easy to eat among strangers) and chosen the fish instead. I noticed her incredible eyes flashing in the direction of my plate. She had the fish too, so I took it as a sign to engage, as Picard would say.
- "How fast have you gone in it?" I said, pointing to the Porsche. Everyone stopped chewing to listen. When she answered "90" the entire table roundly booed her. Playing along, Cox hung her head in shame, the sin of forbearance conflicting with a body, as the saying goes, built for speed. Her disfavor lasted about as long as it takes for Steven Seagal to snap off someone's arm at the elbow. Three people hugged her in quick succession while a fourth gave her a comforting peck on the top of her head. Even back then Cox was playing Monica; vulnerable, open, cuddly and self-conscious. Sure, Monica would never drive a Porsche, especially one the color of Johnny Carson's hair. But like Cox, Monica would certainly have no qualms about eating with the help.
- Eighteen months and 24 Friends episodes later, we meet in a Brentwood deli for break-fast. I am prepared to accept that Courteney Cox and Monica are one and the same, like Clint and Dirty Harry, Melanie Griffith and Minnie Mouse. She may be just a shade over 5' 5", but as she approaches my booth she has the shamble of a tall woman, that clunky blitheness of models who get up late and never stay in one place long. Because most of the action in Friends involves walking into a room full of people and sitting down, she's had plenty of practice. It shows as she slides into the booth with the grace of a trapeze artist. After ordering a breakfast of grand-slam proportions, Courteney plucks my sunglasses from the table and slips them on. One wall of the deli is mirrors (we are in Brentwood, after all), and she checks herself out.
- "Oh, see, these are way too cool for me," she insists, bobbing from side to side to catch her profile.
- "Here," she remarks as she returns the sunglasses. "For my taste, I have to go simple."
- "But you're wearing three earrings in each ear," I point out.
- "Hmmm," she considers, touching her earlobe, "maybe I'm a little hipper than I thought."
- She's certainly hipper than Monica, den mother to an ensemble of young turks engaged in a weekly marathon of crises management. Monica makes the fewest gaffes, rights the most wrongs and serves up more fat pitches (in the form of straight lines) than a batting practice pitcher. But Courteney's dark side is at worst partly cloudy; what you see is what you get: niceness. She sits before me devouring an appetizer of bagel chips and ranch dressing, hair still damp from the shower, peasant shirt so baggy it could conceal a shoplifted rump roast. Is this really Monica I see or, to borrow a phrase from one of Cox' dance partners, just a brilliant disguise?
- "I'm more complex than Monica," she says, "but it would be more interesting for you to come up with the reasons than for me to tell you them."
- As she builds a big, sloppy sandwich out of her bacon, eggs, potatoes and toast, she finds time between bites to talk about growing up in a tony suburb of Birmingham, Alabama.
- Her father owned a construction company, her mother maintained the household and raised four children. Cox' parents divorced when she was ten, and they both remarried partners with children, providing her with nine new siblings. Through the magic of marital mitosis, Cox and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland are cousins. She got her first job when she was 15, as a salesperson in a swimming pool store. When I ask her if there's anybody back in Birmingham she would like to see again, she carefully sets down her jumbo sandwich.
- "If I wanted to see them, I would have," she says, grinning and extracting a poppy seed from between her front teeth with a swipe of her tongue. "I'll say this about Los Angeles: I don't like it that much and I feel a little empty being here. But it's so spread out that, in a way, you can't really become a regular. Not everybody knows you when you walk into a place. Obviously, it's totally different where I'm from. If you walk into a grocery store there, forget it. Everybody knows you, and I can't stand that. 'C.C., I'm so proud of ya,'" she says, laying on a thick Southern accent. "'Why, dawlin, you're no bigger than a minute, but you're so . . . big. Tell us how you doin'. What's goin' on with y'all?"'
- I compliment her on her accent, and 136 she cocks an eyebrow. "I got my poise from cotillions. Acting, now that's another story. In Birmingham acting is not a viable option, believe me."
- Cox started modeling in New York the year after high school, dropping her plans for a career in architecture. Like Fabio, she posed for book covers and illustrations. There were print ads for Noxema and Maybelline that aptly branded her as having "scrubbed good looks." Nynex cast her in one of its commercials; her first television appearance. With the money she earned, she hired a speech coach. Those of us who turn into sweet potato pie when any woman (other than Brett Butler) drawls have Madison Avenue to blame for the absence of Southern accents. Once Cox successfully eliminated her drawl she began to acquire speaking roles.
- "You look really . . . hot," she announces, and I feel my posture (and prospects) radically improving. Then she adds, "That was my first real speaking line, when I was on As the World Turns. I think I was 19. I played a debutante, and I had to say it to this guy. 'You look really . . . sizzling.' That was it. Sizzling. Whatever it was, it was pretty embarrassing."
- If there was a defining moment in the early part of Cox' career, it was when Bruce Springsteen reached out and touched her. Director Brian De Palma picked her to play the adoring fan whom Springsteen beckons on-stage for a little New Jersey two-step in his Dancing in the Dark video. "We did the shoot over two days," says Cox, who describes herself as anything but a dancer. "We did the close-ups the first day, all that stuff with my eyes widening, my speechless look; then we shot it live, in concert. I thought we had it, but Bruce grabbed the microphone and yelled to the audience, 'What do you do if you like something a lot? You do it again!' So we shot it twice. Same song."
- Although she was 20 at the time, Cox looked much younger. "I had that little-boy haircut, and my sleeveless T-shirt helped. I think I got paid less than $500. It was a buyout. That video has been on for more than ten years, and I don't get residuals."
- Nonetheless, the exposure she got for doing an uncredited rump shake with the Boss enabled her to enter the marathon dance contest of sitcoms. Her first effort, NBC's Misfits of Science, got the hook after less than one season. Fortunately, though, the producers of Family Ties liked her enough to cast her as Michael J. Fox' girlfriend for the show's last two seasons. "When I started acting, I didn't know what I was doing," Cox admits. "I studied, but no matter how much you study acting, you still don't know until you do it."
- After Family Ties, Cox took on work with the abandon of a dog-track bettor. Features included Mr. Destiny, Blue Desert, The Opposite Sex, Shaking the Tree and the TV movie It It's Tuesday, This Still Must Be Belgium. That's Cox as a marine biologist in Cocoon: The Return, and that's her playing Roxanne Pulitzer's best friend, Jackie Kimberly, in NBC's Prize Pulitzer. There were spots on Murder She Wrote and Dream On and a TV pilot, Topper, with John Landis.
- "The idea back then was if I was doing it and it was OK, then I was doing the right thing," Cox explains, referring to her prodigious (and sometimes lackluster) output. "You see, it's easy for me to live in denial. I forget my problems. I'm a putterer. I keep busy. I can get the worst news in the world and not even think about it. Maybe it'll all come down on me one day. But I'm good at keeping in motion.
- "Oh my God, you're bored!" she suddenly blurts out. "I saw you look over my shoulder. You're bored." I am instead imagining that somewhere, buzzing across the horizon of her life, a little plane is towing a sign that reads: SEVERE TIRE DAMAGE. DO NOT BACK UP. She accepts my explanation with cordial skepticism and then adds, "I'm very perceptive, and I see a lot. By watching people I learn a lot about them."
- Cox's success playing straight man for the flurry of one-liners on Friends can probably be traced to her part in a film for which Warner Bros. expected modest acceptance at best, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective went on to gross well over $100 million and transformed Jim Carrey into an offshore bank (Carrey was paid $350,000 for Ace Ventura; Columbia will pay him $20 million to star in The Cable Guy). Capitalizing on both the success of Ace Ventura and the likability of Cox' character, CBS promptly offered her a starring role (her first in a sitcom) in The Trouble With Larry, with Bronson Pinchot. Larry's problems never had a chance to be aired, let alone resolved; the network pulled the show after six episodes.
- "The Trouble With Larry was not a success by any means," says Cox, "but I liked the character, and playing that part is what got the producers of Friends interested in me."
- Warner Bros. Television had this sit-com concept about six close friends who gather at a coffeehouse called Central Perk to reveal their insecurities and shepherd one another through the vagaries of life on the cusp of maturity. After signing on in 1994, Cox had some time to kill before shooting started in late July. Brad Krevoy, whose independent company MPCA produced Dumb and Dumber, offered Cox the female lead in the aforementioned Sketch Artist II after watching her come out of the water near his home in Malibu.
- "You have not seen Courteney Cox in the proper light until you’ve seen her walking across the sand in a bikini. She makes Bo Derek look like a five," says Krevoy. "We all knew she could act, and we knew that the camera would lover her, too."
- Cox’ character in Sketch Artist II is raped by a serial killer. She survives the assault and offers to give a description of her attacker to a police artist, despite the fact that she has been blind since the age of ten.
- "I’ve never played a character whose entire life is pretty much a tragedy," says Cox. To prepare for the role, she sought the advice of a sightless person and spent time at the Braille Institute of Los Angeles. "My character is raped, chased, followed. I mean, there were no light moments in the film for her. So I stayed on this moribund level. And I kind of took it home with me, which I don’t usually do."
- She had a different challenge on the set of the low-budget film The Opposite Sex. According to someone who worked on the film, Courteney was easy to work with, except in one way: She couldn’t say the word nipple. "In the script, every other word she had was fuck or shit, but when she had to say nipple, she couldn’t do it. In one scene, Courteney is at the beach with some friends, and one of the guys is sculpting breasts out of sand. When he uses stones or something for the nipples, she’s supposed to say, "Nah, I think you should use Hershey’s Kisses for the nipples.’ She would get to that point and then gesture at the nipple region. This was a movie about sex, and she would not say the word nipple."
- "That’s my hair, isn’t it?" Cox points at her plate and we both see the hair there, like a prop in a Seinfeld episode. "If there’s a hair on my food, I’m one of those people who will eat the food anyway. I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me."
- Success helps one deal with minor annoyances. With the enormous appeal of Friends, Cox wouldn’t be bothered if Burt Reynold’s rug were on her plate. The freshman sitcom spent most of 1995 in the top ten and shot as high as number one. MTV chose Cox to co-host its movie awards with John Lovitz where, incidentally, she proved to be a better drummer (jamming with the house band) than a straight man to Lovitz' comic haughtiness.
- Friends, like Mad About You and Seinfeld, features enough pop philosophizing by the first commercial break to eclipse the oeuvre of Dr. Joyce Brothers. Add the show's ensemble approach, and the result is an Algonquin roundtable of 20-something angst. In real life, you could more easily find Casper than six perfectly coiffed, attractively neurotic, facile white people who happen to be bosom buddies.
- And at the center is Cox's Monica, one part Florence Nightingale, one part Florence Henderson, nursing wounds and planning togetherness events. Monica is earnest, supportive, communal. I am able to witness a glimmer of these qualities in Courteney when our waitress presents her with a petition to save the deli, which had recently lost its lease.
- "I love this place," Courteney tells me as she signs the petition. "There was a big town meeting to discuss the lease Monday night. I was going to go, but a friend flew in from New York."
- Were it not for Cox, the Friends equation might be entirely different. Director Jim Burrows (whose credits include Taxi and Cheers) initially wanted her for the role of Rachel.
- "It's like lightning in a bottle," says Burrows, who directed the pilot and ten of the show's 24 episodes. "You don't know what will work until you try it. When Courteney read for the show I thought she would be great as Rachel. But she wanted to play Monica, and she was right."
- "Obviously, it's nice to be right, but it's more important for me to be understood," Cox maintains. "That's probably the most important thing in my life. And I think I got it from my big family. When you're a kid trying to speak at the dinner table, or trying to get your point across, you're not always heard. I remember pulling each person aside and asking, 'Do you at least understand what I'm trying to say?"'
- To Burrows, it translates into "the ability to be the center of a show. She has an ability, through her eyes, to let an audience into the show. When we read the pilot, it wasn't so much about six people as it was about Monica's children. It's her apartment, it's her brother, and she just welcomes you in. You want to hug her. Or you want her to hug you. That's a rare quality on television."
- "I kind of watch the show and don't notice the mother thing," Cox hedges, finishing the last of her hair McMuffin. She defines her character more by what she isn't: "I'm not the rich girl who is trying to make it. I'm not the vulnerable guy you want to hug. I'm not the one who can only get close to someone by being funny. I'm not the womanizer, and I'm not the ethereal kook."
- "There are many avenues to take with her," says Burrows, "but she does appear clean-cut, which is great. It helps because a lot of the discussions on that show are sexual."
- The ability to project conscientiously objecting sex appeal, to be both the voice of reason and the whisper of temptation, is central to Cox' success.
- "I think I'm a sexual person, especially when I'm in love. Sex is a wonderful part of a relationship. I like to dress up and look as good as I can, but it doesn't really go past that. I don't think about it all the time. I don't think of the opposite sex in purely sexual terms, I guess. I hope that doesn't make me sound like I'm not a sexual human being.
- "There are things that are more important than sex, but I have to be physically attracted to stay in a relationship. There's something very chemical about being with somebody. I believe in fate. Otherwise, why am I attracted to only a certain number of people in my lifetime? There could be a hundred gorgeous men in a room, but I may be chemically attracted to only one of them."
- Over the past five years, that one man occasionally has worn a mask and a cape. While reluctant to discuss her rumored on-again, off-again relationship with Michael Keaton, Cox does surrender this much: "Anything is possible with Michael and me. The thing is, if you talk to the press about your lover or your relationship, it's out there. It's way too much for both parties to live up to."
- As Monica, Cox is once again playing young (she'll be 32 next June), but in this case the Cox mechanism of denial is not a consideration. "In this business, people find out everything about you. There's no point in lying."
- It should surprise no one that Cox' sights are set on feature films. Burrows sees her departure as sad but inevitable. "She has a great face, great eyes, and I'll tell you what; she's funny," he says, assessing Cox' chances as a big-screen leading lady. "It's rare to find good-looking women who are funny. The audience does not expect good-looking people to be funny."
- We are in the parking lot admiring the sexy bulges of the silver Porsche, which is parked haphazardly with the rear wheel sitting on top of the yellow line.
- "So, how fast have you gone in it now?" I ask.
- "Well, the other night I was going over the 405 bypass and I just sort of stepped on it. Then I got distracted by something, and when I looked at the speedometer, I was doing 150."
- Beep, beep. Out of the way, mister: Courteney Cox is coming at you.
Written by Michael Angeli
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