Courteney Cox: She’s Flying High in Judith Krantz’s “Til We Meet Again”

[from TV Guide, 11/89]

So far everything fits. This mock Tudor is a proper house for a rising star, and that blue BNW parked in the drivewayis the right car. It's what you'dexpect if you've pigeonholed Courteney Cox as a sweet young thing, a beauty-pageant-pretty young woman from the deep South who got her start as a model and then landed nice-girl roles as Lauren, Alex's college-student girlfriend on Family Ties, and a scientist who turns soft inside in "Cocoon: The Return." But what's that Honda Rebel doing there, parked at an angle under the tree? Is some guy over for a visit? The motorcycle's hers the first sign that Cox is hard to pigeonhole, So are the two big dogs who come bounding out to say hello, ready to paw and lick any intruder to death. A few minutes later, Cox pads down the stairs barefoot, in oversized jeans that look like they might belong to the same boyfriend who ought to own the motorcycle. Her dark hair tumbles to her shoulders, lustrous but lank, untamed by any hairstyling procedures. She wears no makeup-but then again, she has that fine-china skin and eyes so startlingly blue they seem almost synthetic. "Calm down, you guys," she scolds the dogs. The dogs bound off, unsubdued, and Cox takes a deep breath. She has just returned from England, where she weeks filming "Till We Meet Again," the CBS movie based on a Judith Krantz's novel. In this chronicle of three woman caught up in history between 1913 and 1956, she plays Freddy, the flame-haired tomboy daughter who flies planes during wartime. The fiery, independent Freddy is an easy-to-admire heroine. Coster Mia Sara-who become friends whit Cox in the course of filming-saw her buddy as a natural for the role. "She's very adventurous, open independent." But before she began work on this role-before Family Ties had even wrapped- Cox had slipped off to Florida to play the less admirable Jackie Kimberly, Roxanne Pulitzer's amoral best friend in NBC's "Roxanne: The Prize Pulitzer." "I did Jackie because she was completely different from Lauren (on Family Ties). I like change." She means it, If any one word sums up Courteney Cox, it is change. She changes constantly, sometime midthought. For example: chauffeurs a tour of the house, which she decorated herself in cheerful country style. "I bought everything at flea markets," she says, "except for the couch, which somebody gave me. American country is my favorite style," Then she pauses to reflect. "Actually, if I could afford it, I'd buy country French. That's really my favorite. No I think English." She curls up on the hand-me-down couch in a den that looks out over a canyon. "When I saw this house, I called my business manager and told him I had found my dream house," she says. This is her third residence in Los Angeles. her first was an apartment in town. "I bought all new laquered Italian modern furniture. I hated it. I lived there for a year, and when I moved I just left it behind whit the landlord. I moved to a cottage in Sherman Oaks, and thenthis house. I'llprobably sell this one in a few years." But didn't she just sayit was her dream house? "Well, yes," she says, unruffled. "But I'll probably find another dream house." She leans back and fingers her glossy, dark hair, whitch had been red until a few days ago-ruthlesslystripped down twice by powerful bleaches and colored and retouched every two weeks during the three months of filming. "It's nice to have my own hair color back, but actually I started to like myself as a redhead. It made me feel fiery and sort of bad," she muses, playing whit the idea. Her willingness to play whit ideas earned admiration on the set of "Till We Meet Again." Costar Barry Bostwick, who plays her first love (Bruce Boxleitner plays her "true love") had doubts about a scene in which his character-a burned-out stunt pilot who taught Freddy to fly-becomes upset at her daredevil flying. "How violent, how angry would he get?" Bostwick wondered. "What could have been a polite scene heated up in the rehearsal process and ended up whit our having the freedom to go as far as we wanted. The scene could play completely out of control. I literally yank her out of the plane and throw her on ground. It took great trust on Courteney's part. She was open, receptive, willing to experiment to find the right pitch." Her openness to change may have come from growing up whit options. Now 25, she is the youngest of four children in an outwardly conventional Birmingham, Ala, country-club family. But as she explains, "My parents were complete opposites, Mom was a conventional Southern belle-conservative, reserved. She liked security. Dad liked adventure, excitement. "Spend it now" was his philosophy.He could decide to fly us all to Florida for the weekend. He was a contractor, and we were always okay financially, but insecure," When she was 11, her parents divorced, and each has since remarried "to their own types. I'm a mix of both. I look like my mother, but I wish I had her full mouth and lips." In a recent article in Southern Style magazine, a friend of Cox's says "She wasn't the best-looking girl in high school or enything like that," It is hard to imagine a high school in which Courteney Cox isn't even anything like the best-looking girl, but Cox seemsz to understand the remark. "I wasn't the most popular girl, not by a long shot. I wasn't interested in high-school social life." She was out of school every day by noon so that she could get to her 40-hour-a-week job. "I wanted to make money. I wanted a car and clothes. I like things," she says frankly. She spent a year at Mount Vernon College, her mother's school, and then wnet to New York for the summer to earn money as a model. She liked it and decided not to go back to school. The modeling led to commercials, the commercials to acting. "I got really serious about acting. I took coaching at NYU to lose my Southern accent. Now directors keep telling me I have a New York accent." Then she got picked out of the crowd to be the girl Bruce Springsteen dances whit in his "Dancing in the dark" video. A role in the ill-fated series Misfits of Science brought her to L.A. And then she got picked out of another crowd of young actresses for the Family Ties role. "I enjoyed that show. I was worried at first about joining a little group that had been together for five years. I mean, we (semi-regulars) were B-team. But if you made the first move and showed you were willing to fool around, they were glad to have new faces." Now, having crammed two TV-movies plus her appearances on Family Ties into half a year, she explains that she longs to be at home whit her dogs and her flea-marked antiques. "I hate to go uot. When I'm in L.A., that is. On location, I go out every night. "She is a good cook, but her food is Southern and rich, stewed clean-to-regs in bacon fat. "My idea of a diet," she says "is I don't eat dinner for a week." She has no health or beauty regimens. "For exercise, I walk the dogs and go up and down the stairs. I've joined every gym in L.A., and I go for six weeks then forget about it. I hate having people watch me." She used to spend evenings at home whit Paul Brown, a man who works in the fashion industry, but now she is evasive when his name comes up. "I'm not in a relationship right now. He's my special friend, my friend for life. But I was gone for two months, and he's very involved whit his own work, and I'm involved whit mine. I'm not sure you ought to mention him. By the time this comes out. . ." By the time this comes out, she will probably have made a few more changes. She might be playing a nun, or maybe she'll be a redhead again.

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