Courteney Bass Cox (born June 15, 1964) is an American actress, producer, and director. She gained worldwide recognition for her starring role as Monica Geller on the NBC sitcom Friends (1994–2004) and as Gale Weathers in the horror film series Scream (1996–2021).
Cox in 2009
Courteney Bass Cox
June 15, 1964
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
(m. 1999; div. 2013)
On television, Cox starred as Lauren Miller in the NBC sitcom Family Ties (1987–1989), Lucy Spiller in the FX drama series Dirt (2007–2008), and as Jules Cobb in the ABC/TBS sitcom Cougar Town (2009–2015), the lattermost of which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Her other films include the action fantasy Masters of the Universe (1987), the comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), the animated comedy Barnyard (2006), the fantasy comedy Bedtime Stories (2008), and the independent drama Mothers and Daughters (2016).
She owns the production company Coquette Productions, which was created by Cox and her then-husband David Arquette. She also worked as a director on her sitcom Cougar Town, the television drama film TalhotBlond (2012), and the black comedy drama film Just Before I Go (2014).
Cox was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a daughter of businessman Richard Lewis Cox and Courteney Copeland (née Bass). Cox has two older sisters, Virginia and Dorothy, and an older brother, Richard Jr. Her parents divorced in 1974 and her mother then married businessman Hunter Copeland (uncle to music promoter and business manager Ian Copeland and The Police drummer Stewart Copeland).
After graduating from Mountain Brook High School, Cox left for Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. (now part of George Washington University), but did not complete her architecture course, opting instead to pursue a career in modeling and acting. She has English ancestry.
1984–1993: Beginnings and early roles
Cox appeared in the 1984 music video for Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark", as the young woman pulled onstage at the St. Paul Civic Center to dance with Springsteen. Her early television work includes a starring role as Gloria Dinallo in the short-lived NBC science-fiction fantasy series Misfits of Science (1985), and guest-starring roles in the ABC comedy-drama series The Love Boat (1986) and the CBS crime drama series Murder, She Wrote (1986). She later had a recurring role as Lauren Miller, the girlfriend of Michael J. Fox's character Alex P. Keaton in the NBC comedy series Family Ties (1987–1989).
Cox's early film roles include Masters of the Universe (1987), Cocoon: The Return (1988), and I'll Be Home for Christmas (1988). She also played Jewel Jagger, the tough-as-nails assistant of Larry Burrows (James Belushi), in Mr. Destiny (1990). In 1993, she co-starred in the short-lived CBS sitcom The Trouble with Larry, alongside Bronson Pinchot and Perry King. The following year, shortly before the debut of the sitcom Friends, Cox starred alongside Jim Carrey in the comedy film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and as Jerry Seinfeld's girlfriend, Meryl, in the Seinfeld episode "The Wife". In 1995, she was cast in Toad the Wet Sprocket's music video "Good Intentions". The song was also featured on the Friends soundtrack.
1994–2004: Breakthrough with Friends and Scream
At first the most famous cast member of the new show, Cox joined Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller) for what became her most famous role, lasting for 10 seasons until 2004. The series is commonly referred to as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2005), Cox (along with her female co-stars) became the highest-paid TV actress of all time, with her US$1 million-per-episode fee for the final two seasons of Friends. Syndication of the series earned Cox and her co-stars an estimated $20 million in annual residuals.
Between seasons five and six, she married David Arquette and consequently changed her name to Courteney Cox Arquette. A joke reference to this is made in the opening credits of the episode "The One After Vegas", where the rest of the cast has "Arquette" added to their names. The dedication "For Courteney and David, who did get married" – a reference to Monica and Chandler's decision not to marry in the episode – appears during the fade out to the tag scene.
Cox received further recognition and critical acclaim for her starring role as reporter Gale Weathers in the high-profile slasher horror film Scream (1996), and its sequels Scream 2 (1997) and Scream 3 (2000). The series is one of the highest grossing and critically acclaimed horror franchises of all time. Cox's character was well known for her "snappy remarks and being brilliantly bossy". She met her future husband, David Arquette, who played her on-screen love interest, Dwight "Dewey" Riley, while filming the first Scream film.
Cox also hosted an episode of the variety sketch series Saturday Night Live in July 1995. Her other major films during this period include the crime thriller The Runner (1999), the crime drama 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), and the comedy The Shrink Is In (2001). In late 2003, Cox and Arquette produced one season of the reality television series Mix It Up. The lifestyle series, which aired on the WE cable channel, struggled with low ratings and was not renewed for a second season.
2005–present: Dirt, Cougar Town, and later work
After the conclusion of Friends, Cox was producer Marc Cherry's first choice to be offered a starring role as Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives, but Cox was unavailable due to her pregnancy and the role later went to Teri Hatcher. A few years later, Cox signed a deal with ABC Studios (formerly Touchstone Television) to star in her own series.
She starred in the independent drama film November (2005), which had a limited theatrical release. She had a cameo appearance in the big-budget remake The Longest Yard (2005) as Lena, the girlfriend of Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), and co-starred with Tim Allen in the critically derided Zoom (2006). Cox also voiced the role of Daisy in the animated film Barnyard (2006). A Friends reunion film was rumored to be in production following the success of Sex and the City (2008), but this was later denied by Warner Bros. and others.
Cox starred as Lucy Spiller, a cynical tabloid editor, in the FX television drama series Dirt, which premiered in 2007. Cox and her then-husband David Arquette were the executive producers of the series. The series was eventually canceled after the second season in 2008. In July 2008, Entertainment Weekly announced that Cox had signed on to star in a three-episode arc for the television medical comedy series Scrubs. Also that year, she starred in the fantasy comedy film Bedtime Stories, reuniting with co-star Adam Sandler. She went to executive produce the short drama film The Butler's in Love, directed by David Arquette.
In 2009, she began her role as the star of the single-camera ABC comedy series Cougar Town, playing a newly single 40-year-old mother on the hunt for new experiences. It is notably Cox's most successful work since Friends, earning a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy. The series' third season was set to premiere in November 2011, but moved to February 14, 2012. Cox directed two episodes of the series' fifteen episodes that season. The fourth season premiered on January 8, 2013. The series came to an end on March 31, 2015, after six seasons.
Cox made her directorial debut and had a cameo appearance in a Lifetime television drama film TalhotBlond, which premiered on the network on June 23, 2012. In 2014, Cox directed and produced the black comedy film Just Before I Go, starring Seann William Scott and Elisha Cuthbert. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24, 2014, and it was released in select theaters on April 24, 2015.
From 2014 to 2017, she executive produced the syndicated game show Celebrity Name Game, hosted by Craig Ferguson. It ended after three seasons. The series earned her a nomination for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show.
In 2016, Cox starred in the independent drama film Mothers and Daughters, alongside Susan Sarandon, Mira Sorvino, and Sharon Stone. The film was released to generally negative reviews on May 6, 2016. In 2019, she created and executive produced the Facebook Watch documentary series 9 Months with Courteney Cox, which focuses on "people from across the country of various race, religion, and class as they self-document their 9-month journey of pregnancy". In 2020, she guest starred in the ABC sitcom Modern Family.
Cox is set to executive produce and star as Brittany Wagner in the Spectrum Originals adaptation of the documentary series Last Chance U. She also signed on to star alongside Greg Kinnear in the Starz horror comedy series Shining Vale, from creators Sharon Horgan and Jeff Astrof. Cox stars as Patricia "Pat" Phelps, who moves her family "from the 'crazy' of the city to a large, old house in the suburbs where evil and humor collide."
She will reunite with her Friends co-stars for a reunion special, tentatively titled The One Where They Got Back Together, which will be released on HBO Max. In July 2020, it was confirmed that Cox would be reprising her role as Gale Weathers for the fifth Scream film, which will be directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. The film will be released in 2021.
Cox married actor David Arquette on June 12, 1999, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. The couple had a daughter together named Coco, born in June 2004. Cox revealed that she suffered from postpartum depression six months after the birth of her child. Jennifer Aniston is the godmother. On October 11, 2010, it was announced that Cox and Arquette had separated, although they still maintain a close friendship and ongoing business relationship in Coquette Productions. In June 2012, Arquette filed for divorce after nearly two years of separation from Cox. The divorce became final in May 2013.
Cox began dating Snow Patrol band member Johnny McDaid in late 2013. The couple announced their engagement on Twitter on June 26, 2014. Soon afterward they called off the engagement, but they have remained a couple.
On the season eight premiere episode of the American genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?, whilst visiting Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, UK, it was discovered that Cox is an 18 and 19-generation descendant of two key players involved in the deposing and likely murder of King Edward II of England in 1327, and also a 27-generation descendant of William the Conqueror. Cox is a practitioner of Budokan karate.
|1987||Masters of the Universe||Julie Winston|
|1988||Cocoon: The Return||Sara|
|1990||Shaking the Tree||Kathleen|
|1990||Mr. Destiny||Jewel Jagger|
|1991||Blue Desert||Lisa Roberts|
|1992||The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them||Carrie Davenport|
|1994||Ace Ventura: Pet Detective||Melissa Robinson|
|1997||Scream 2||Gale Weathers|
|2000||Scream 3||Gale Weathers|
|2001||3000 Miles to Graceland||Cybil Waingrow|
|2001||The Shrink Is In||Samantha Crumb||Also executive producer|
|2001||Get Well Soon||Lily Charles|
|2005||The Longest Yard||Lena||Uncredited|
|2006||Barnyard||Daisy the Cow (voice)|
|2006||The Tripper||Dog Lover Hippie||Also executive producer|
|2008||Alien Love Triangle||Alice||Short film|
|2008||The Monday Before Thanksgiving||Cece||Short film; also director and writer|
|2008||The Butler's in Love||None||Short film; executive producer|
|2011||Scream 4||Gale Weathers-Riley|
|2012||Got Rights?||Celebrity||Short film|
|2014||Just Before I Go||None||Director and producer|
|2016||Mothers and Daughters||Beth|
|2020||You Cannot Kill David Arquette||Herself||Documentary|
|2021||Scream 5||Gale Weathers-Riley||Pre-production|
|1984||As the World Turns||Bunny||Episode: "1.5000"|
|1985||Code Name: Foxfire||Flight Attendant / Amy||2 episodes|
|1985–1986||Misfits of Science||Gloria Dinallo||Main role; 16 episodes|
|1986||The Love Boat||Carol||Episode: "Daredevil/Picture Me a Spy/Sleeper"|
|1986||Sylvan in Paradise||Lucy Apple||Television film|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Carol Bannister||2 episodes|
|1987||If It's Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium||Hana Wyskocki||Television film|
|1987||I'll Be Home for Christmas||Nora Bundy||Television film|
|1987–1989||Family Ties||Lauren Miller||Recurring role; 19 episodes|
|1989||Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer||Jacquie Kimberly||Television film|
|1989||Till We Meet Again||Marie-Frederique 'Freddy' de Lancel||2 episodes|
|1990||Curiosity Kills||Gwen||Television film|
|1991||Morton & Hayes||Princess Lucy||Episode: "Oafs Overboard"|
|1992||Battling for Baby||Katherine||Television film|
|1992||Dream On||Alisha||Episode: "Come and Knock on Our Door..."|
|1993||The Trouble with Larry||Gabriella Easden||Recurring role; 7 episodes|
|1994||Seinfeld||Meryl||Episode: "The Wife"|
|1994–2004||Friends||Monica Geller||Main role; 236 episodes|
|1995||Sketch Artist II: Hands That See||Emmy||Television film|
|1995||The Larry Sanders Show||Herself||Episode: "Larry's Big Idea"|
|1995||Saturday Night Live||Herself / Host||Episode: "Courteney Cox/Dave Matthews Band"|
|1999||Happily Every After: Fairy Tales for Every Child||Emerald Salt Port (voice)||Episode: "Three Little Pigs"|
|2000||WCW Monday Nitro||Herself||Episode: "#5.33"|
|2004||Mix It Up||None||4 episodes; executive producer|
|2005||Rehab||Taylor Kennedy||Unsold pilot; also executive producer|
|2005||Dirt Squirrel||None||Television film; executive producer|
|2005||Talk Show Diaries||None||Television film; executive producer|
|2005||The MidNightly News||None||Television film; executive producer|
|2005–2007||Daisy Does America||None||8 episodes; executive producer|
|2007–2008||Dirt||Lucy Spiller||Main role; 20 episodes|
Also executive producer
|2009–2015||Cougar Town||Jules Cobb||Main role; 102 episodes|
Also director and executive producer
|2009||Scrubs||Dr. Maddox||3 episodes|
|2009||Web Therapy||Serena DuVall||Web series; 3 episodes|
|2011||Web Therapy||Serena DuVall||Episode: "Psychic Analysis"|
|2011||Private Practice||Woman||Uncredited; Episode: "Step One"|
|2012||TalhotBlond||Amanda||Television film; also director and producer|
|2013||Go On||Talia||Episode: "Matchup Problems"|
|2013||Tripaholics||None||Television film; executive producer|
|2014–2016||Drunk History||Edith Wilson||2 episodes|
|2014–2017||Celebrity Name Game||Herself||14 episodes; also executive producer|
|2015||Barely Famous||Herself||Episode: "Favorite Socks"|
|2016||Charity Case||Hailey||Unsold pilot; also executive producer|
|2016||Running Wild with Bear Grylls||Herself||Episode: "Courteney Cox"|
|2017||Who Do You Think You Are?||Herself||Episode: "Courteney Cox"|
|2017||Off Camera with Sam Jones||Herself||Episode: "Courteney Cox"|
|2017||The Gong Show||Herself||Episode: "Will Arnett/Courteney Cox/Isla Fisher"|
|2018||Shameless||Jen Wagner||Episode: "Face It, You're Gorgeous"|
|2019–2020||9 Months with Courteney Cox||Herself / Host||20 episodes; also creator and executive producer|
|2020||Modern Family||Herself||Episode: "The Prescott"|
|2020||Celebrity Escape Room||Herself||Red Nose Day special|
|TBA||The One Where They Got Back Together||Herself||Television special; also executive producer|
|TBA||Shining Vale||Patricia "Pat" Phelps||Main role; pilot|
|TBA||Last Chance U||Brittany Wagner||Main role; also executive producer|
|1984||"Dancing in the Dark"||Bruce Springsteen||Young Woman|
|1995||"I'll Be There for You"||The Rembrandts||Monica Geller|
|1995||"Good Intentions"||Toad the Wet Sprocket||Woman|
|1996||"A Long December"||Counting Crows||Woman|
Awards and nominations
- 1995: Honored as the Female Discovery of the Year by the Golden Apple Awards.
- 2010: Honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Women's Image Network.
- 2010: Honored with the Lucy Award by the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards.
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- "Mountain Brook one of 10 of the nation's wealthiest communities". Al.com. December 30, 2008. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
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- TLC (March 8, 2017). "Courteney Cox Discovers Royal Drama In Her Family Tree – Who Do You Think You Are?" – via YouTube.
- "Courteney Cox Learns Her Ancestors Were Kings and Kingslayers".
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- "The 10th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". www.sagawards.org. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
- "Winners & Nominees 2010". www.goldenglobes.com. Retrieved August 13, 2019.