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Courteney Cox Arquette (born Courteney Bass Cox on June 15, 1964) is an American actress, best known for her role as Monica Geller in the long-running television series Friends.

Cox was born in Birmingham, Alabama to an affluent Southern family; her late father, Richard L. Cox, was a businessman and her mother, also named Courteney, was a housewife. Cox has two older sisters (Dottie Pickett and Virginia Cox), one older brother (Richard, Jr.) and nine half-brothers and half-sisters.

Her parents divorced in 1974, and her father moved to Florida, while Cox grew up with her mother and her stepfather, New York businessman Hunter Copeland.

Cox was raised in an exclusive society town, Mountain Brook, Alabama. She attended Mountain Brook High School, where she was a cheerleader, tennis player and swimmer. Upon graduation, Cox went to study architecture and interior design at Mount Vernon College.

She dropped out after one year to pursue a modeling career, after being signed by the Ford modeling agency in New York City. While modeling, she also took acting classes, and lost her Southern accent.

Cox was the first person to use the word “period” on US television in its physiological sense, in a 1985 advertising campaign for Tampax brand tampons. After coming to prominence in the 1984 music video for Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” (in which she became the pulled-on-stage-girl who danced onstage with Springsteen), she appeared in several theatrical films, including Masters of the Universe (1987) and Cocoon: The Return (1988).

Cox had a starring role in the short-lived television series, Misfits of Science (1985) and later had a recurring role (1987 – 1989) on the television series Family Ties.

Cox is best known for playing Monica Geller on the hit TV series Friends (1994 – 2004). She became the only principal member of the show’s cast not to be nominated for an Emmy Award. After the show became successful, Cox appeared in several high-profile Hollywood films, including Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000) and 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001). Prior to her success with Friends, she also appeared in the unexpectedly popular Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994).

In late 2003, Cox hosted her own television series, entitled Mix It Up. It was taped at her home and focused on dealing with a partner moving in and interior decoration. The show received low ratings and was not renewed for a second season.

In 2005, Cox starred in the independent film November, which had only a limited theatrical release, and appeared in the big budget remake of The Longest Yard, although she was uncredited. She has signed on to star in Dirt, a television drama for the FX Networks, in which she will play Lucy Spiller, a tabloid editor; Cox and her husband, David Arquette, will executive produce the series.

Cox’s significant previous boyfriends include her step-cousin, the rock promoter Ian Copeland and a long-term relationship with actor Michael Keaton from 1989 to 1995. Cox also dated singer Adam Duritz of Counting Crows and appeared in their music video for the song “A Long December” in 1997. (Duritz has also dated Cox’s Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston.)

Cox married David Arquette on June 12, 1999. On June 13, 2004, she gave birth to their first child, daughter Coco Riley Arquette. Jennifer Aniston is the baby’s godmother. Courteney Cox is a brown belt in karate.

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