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Courteney Cox

Caroline Greer, Auburn University
Courteney Cox is a television and film actress best known for playing Monica Geller in the television hit-series Friends from 1994 to 2004. The Jefferson County native also had a starring role as Jules Kiki Cobb in Cougar Town from 2009 to 2015 and as Gale Weathers in the Scream movie franchise, in addition to many other televisions and film roles. She has been nominated for numerous awards and has been the recipient of several.
Courteney Bass Cox was born on June 15, 1964, in the Mountain Brook suburb of Birmingham to Richard Lewis Cox, a businessman, and Courteney Copeland; she is named for her mother and is the youngest of four siblings. Her parents divorced in 1974, and her mother later married Hunter Copeland, who is related to music promoter Ian Copeland and Police drummer Stuart Copeland. Cox graduated from Mountain Brook High School and then attended Mountain Vernon College (present-day George Washington University-Mount Vernon Campus) in Washington, D.C. She planned to major in architecture but left after one year to pursue acting and modeling.
Cox was signed to Ford Modeling Agency and appeared on the cover of teen magazines, including Tiger Beat and Little Miss, and also as a cover model on numerous romance novels. She also appeared in commercials for Maybelline, Noxema, the New York Telephony Company, and Tampax. While landing these modeling roles, Cox attended acting classes, as her main goal was to become an actress. She would work at Ian Copeland's concert booking agency Frontier Booking International in New York City in 1984 while starting her acting career. One of her first notable acting jobs was an appearance in musician Bruce Springsteen's music video for his hit song "Dancing in the Dark" in 1984. In it, Cox is pulled on stage by Springsteen to dance with him during his concert at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota. She had also landed a bit part that year in the soap opera As the World Turns, playing a young debutante. Other early television roles include the short-lived Misfits of Science in 1985 as main character Gloria Dinallo, and she had a recurring role on Family Ties between 1987 and 1989 as Lauren Miller, the girlfriend of lead character Alex P. Keaton, played by Michael J. Fox. In 1993, she costarred on the short-lived show The Trouble with Larry and appeared as comedian Jerry Seinfield's girlfriend Meryl in one episode of his hit show Seinfield in 1994. Also appearing in that episode was Edgar Daniel Nixon Jr., the son of the iconic civil rights lawyer E. D. Nixon and who was known on the stage as "Nick LaTour."
On the big screen, Cox's early film work includes Masters of the Universe in 1987, Cocoon: The Return in 1988, and I'll Be Home for Christmas in 1988. She also co-starred in the Jim Belushi film Mr. Destiny (1990) and in the high-grossing comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) alongside Jim Carrey.
In 1994, Cox was cast in her most-recognized role—Monica Geller—in the ensemble situation comedy Friends. Cox actually auditioned for the role of Rachel Greene but preferred playing Monica, a high-strung professional chef. She joined Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Monica's older brother. The prime-time series became immensely popular and lasted for ten seasons, running from 1994 to 2004. It often featured well-known actors such as Elliot Gould as Monica and Ross's father, and Tom Selleck and Bruce Willis as two of Monica and Rachel's boyfriends, respectively, and Marlo Thomas and Morgan Fairchild in key roles, among many others. The popularity of the series helped Cox, Aniston, and Kudrow become the highest-paid television actresses at the time, garnering each $1 million per episode for the last two seasons. The highly lauded and culturally influential show was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards and won the Outstanding Comedy Series award in 2002. The series finale in 2004 was reportedly the fifth most-watched television series finale ever.
During her work on Friends, Cox also embarked on a successful film career, with starring roles as reporter Gale Weathers in Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), and later Scream 4 (2011). While filming the first Scream, Cox and costar David Arquette, who portrayed her on-screen love interest Dwight "Dewey" Riley, became romantically involved and would marry on June 12, 1999. The couple had a daughter named Coco in June 2004; Jennifer Aniston is her godmother. The couple separated in 2010 and divorced in 2012 but maintain a business relationship for their film and television production company, Coquette Productions. Cox also appeared in The Runner in 1999 and 3000 Miles to Graceland in 2001, for which she was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress.
After Friends, producer Mark Cherry offered Cox the role of Susan Meyer on another, though darker, situation comedy, Desperate Housewives. Her pregnancy, however, conflicted with the schedule and the role went to Teri Hatcher. In 2005 she starred in November, an independent film with a limited theatrical release, and in 2006, she was in the poorly received movie Zoom alongside Tim Allen. She had a cameo as Lena in The Longest Yard in 2005, and in 2006 she voiced Daisy in the animated film Barnyard. Cox and Arquette produced the television series Dirt in 2007 in which she stars as Lucy Spiller, a cynical tabloid editor. The series was canceled after its second season, in 2008. She then appeared on the popular television comedy Scrubs for a three-episode arc in 2008.
Cox landed her second major prime-time television role in 2009, starring in the comedy Cougar Town, playing Jules Cobb, a newly divorced mother looking for romance. The series lasted for four seasons, and Cox became executive director and producer for the latter part of the series. She later appeared in Web Therapy, an online series starring Lisa Kudrow, and had a cameo in the Lifetime film Talhotblond in 2012. Cox was featured in the Season 9 premiere of Who Do You Think You Are? episode filmed in Berkeley Caste in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, in 2017. Cox discovered that she is an 18th and 19th generation descent of two people involved in deposing King Edward II in 1327, and that she is a 27th generation descendent of William the Conqueror. In 2018, Cox appeared in the Showtime series Shameless as Jen Wagner.
After years of speculation, Cox and the other five main cast members of Friends revealed they are working on a reunion episode of Friends. Produced by HBO Max, it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. She continues to work on other productions, practices Budokan karate, and plays the piano and the drums.
Published:  May 14, 2020   |   Last updated:  May 14, 2020