Courteney Bass Cox (born June 15, 1964) is an American actress, producer, and director. She is best known for her roles as Monica Geller on the NBC sitcom Friends, Gale Weathers in the horror series Scream, and as Jules Cobb in the ABC/TBS sitcom Cougar Town, for which she earned her first Golden Globe nomination. Cox also starred in the FX series Dirt. She owns aproduction company, called Coquette Productions, which was created by herself and then-husband David Arquette. Cox has also worked as a director on her sitcom Cougar Town and the television movie Talhotblond.
Courteney Cox was raised in Mountain Brook, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham,the daughter of businessman Richard Lewis Cox (January 28, 1931 – September 3, 2001) and his wife Courteney (née Bass, later Copeland). She has two older sisters, Virginia and Dottie, 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). After graduating from Mountain Brook High School, Cox left for Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C., but did not complete her architecture course, opting instead to pursue a career in modeling and acting.
Cox appeared in the 1984 music video for Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" as a female pulled onstage to dance with Springsteen. Her early television work includes a starring role in the short-lived television series Misfits of Science (1985), and later a recurring role (1987–89) on the TV series Family Ties as Lauren Miller, the girlfriend of Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox). Her early film roles include Masters of the Universe (1987) and Cocoon: The Return (1988). She had a supporting role as Jewel, the hard-as-nails assistant to James Belushi's character, in the 1990 fantasy film Mr. Destiny. In 1994, shortly before the debut of the sitcom, Friends, Cox appeared with Jim Carrey in the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and on Seinfeld in "The Wife" episode as Jerry's girlfriend named Meryl. In 1995, she was cast in Toad the Wet Sprocket's music video "Good Intentions". The song is also on the Friends Soundtrack.
Later in 1994 Cox was asked to audition for the part of Rachel Green on a new sitcom, Friends; she was cast as Monica Geller instead. At first the most famous cast member of the new show, Cox joined fellow castmates Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller) for what would become her most famous role, lasting for 10 seasons until 2004. According to the Guinness Book of World Records (2005), Cox (along with her female costars) became the highest paid TV actress of all time with her $1 million-per-episode paycheck for the final two seasons of Friends.
Between seasons five and six, Cox married David Arquette, and changed her name to Courteney Cox Arquette. An in-joke reference to this is made in the beginning credits of the episode "The One After Vegas", where the rest of the cast and executive producers have "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.
During her time on Friends, Cox appeared in the high-profile Hollywood films Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), and Scream 3 (2000), as reporter Gale Weathers. She met her husband, David Arquette, who played her on-screen love interest Dwight "Dewey" Riley, while filming the first Scream film. Both Cox and Arquette reprised their respective roles from the Scream trilogy in 2011's Scream 4. The movie was released in theaters April 15, 2011.
Her other films include The Runner, 3000 Miles to Graceland and The Shrink Is In. In late 2003, Cox and Arquette produced one season of the reality television series Mix It Up. The lifestyle show, which aired on the We cable channel, struggled with low ratings and was not renewed for a second season.
After her Friends role, Cox was producer Marc Cherry's first choice to be offered a starring role as Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives. However, Cox was unavailable due to her pregnancy and the role went to Teri Hatcher. A couple of years later, Cox signed a deal with ABC Studios (formerly Touchstone Television) to star in her own series. After Friends, Cox starred in the independent filmNovember (2005) which had a limited theatrical release; costarred with Tim Allen in the critically derided Zoom; and cameoed in the big budget remake of The Longest Yard as the girlfriend of Adam Sandler's character. She supplied her voice for the animated film Barnyard. A Friends reunion film was rumored to be in production; following the success of Sex and the City: The Movie, but this has been denied by Warner Bros. and others.
In 2007, Cox starred as Lucy Spiller, a cynical tabloid editor, in Dirt, a television drama for FX. Cox and her husband David Arquette were the executive producers of the series.According to Cox, the series was 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 series Scrubs.
In 2009, Cox began her roles as the star of the single-camera comedy series on ABC called Cougar Town, playing a newly single 40-year-old mother on the hunt for new experiences. The show's third season was to premiere in November 2011 but was moved to February 14, 2012. In the third season, Cox directed two of the show's fifteen episodes of that season. The show's fourth season premiered on January 8, 2013.
In June 2012, Cox directed and made a cameo appearance in a Lifetime television movie called Talhotblond, which premiered on the network on June 23, 2012. The movie depicts a man who begins an online affair and a secret life, while his wife and family remains unaware.