Courteney Cox gets big break by dancing with `The Boss’

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
October 4, 1986

WHITTIER, Calif. — People who recognize Courteney Cox remember her as the girl who danced with Bruce Springsteen in the “Dancing in the Dark” video. Although Cox did little more than look enthused and dance with “The Boss,” her 20 seconds of video exposure opened the door for her in Hollywood.

The 22-year-old actress from Alabama will make her second guest appearance as Angela Lansbury’s niece in the second part of “Murder, She Wrote,” episode, airing at 7 p.m. Sunday on WBBM-Channel 2.

“When I saw the world premiere of the video on MTV (the music-video cable station), I waited and waited for my spots,” Cox said. “I thought maybe they cut my scenes. Then, when I finally appeared, I thought: `That’s it? Oh, well.’ But the response to that was so great. My agent was able to get me to be tested for parts by saying, `Yeah, Courtney Cox – the girl who danced with Bruce – would be perfect for the role.’

Her video exposure led to two appearances on NBC’s “Tonight” show within a span of three months, a guest spot on “The Love Boat” and a co-starring role in last year’s short-lived series “Misfits of Science.” Currently, she’s on location here shooting “Masters of the Universe” with Dolph Lundgren (the Russian boxer in “Rocky IV”) and Frank Langella.

As in previous roles, Cox is cast as an innocent teenager. Sitting in front of a yogurt shop in a blue mini-skirt, denim jacket, white crew socks and tennis shoes, she looked like the all-American teen. The peaches-and-cream complexion that won her a contract with Noxema was tanned and unblemished.

Cox, who has nine brothers and sisters (some are step-siblings), said she knew she wanted to move from the South at a young age. Her divorced parents were supportive of their youngest child’s decision to pursue a career in show business.

“Some people just know what they’re gonna do, and I was one of those people,” Cox said. “I moved to New York by myself when I was 17. I modeled for the Ford Modeling Agency, but I’m not 5-foot-10 so I couldn’t do any of the beautiful print ads or anything. The only things I could really do were the book covers for the teenage romance novels and the cover of Tiger Beat. I knew I wouldn’t go very far as a model, so I studied acting, did some commercials and then got the part in `Dancing in the Dark.’

“After that video, there were tons of offers for me to be in other rock videos, but I didn’t want to do them. I know how easy it is to get pegged into a stereotype, and I want to be very careful with my career. I don’t want to be a has-been by the time I’m 25.”

Gary Goddard, director of “Masters of the Universe,” said Cox has a lot more going for her than talent.  “Courteney is a trooper,” Goddard said. “We’re shooting most of the film at night because the story takes places from dusk to dawn. Obviously, it gets cold and there’s a lot of sitting around and waiting, but she never complains or whines like some other young stars we won’t mention. She’s really very professional, and a much better actress than she gives herself credit for.”

Cox said she considers herself “maybe a 2” as an actress. Her idol, Debra Winger, is a 10, she added.  “I’m sure other actors don’t think I’ve paid my dues,” Cox said. “I was never a struggling waitress. I chose to sell lawn furniture instead. … I’m by no means a seasoned actress.”

Comments (1)

  1. Nabil says:

    I remember an epdoise of Friends where Monica asked Phoebe to cut her hair like Demi Moore’s. Phoebe misunderstands and cuts it like Dudley Moore’s. Well, Monica/Courtney has her Demi Moore hair now. Boring on both of them.

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