Courteney Cox Got Her Big Break 10 Years Before Friends Even Started
As we approach the 24th anniversary of Friends’ pilot episode, we’ve been giving a lot of thought to the sitcom’s core six and how their careers have evolved through the decades.
While the Friends leads all rose to super-stardom (nearly overnight) with the show’s 1994 premiere, they all had some smaller claims to fame before it began.
Jennifer Aniston played Jeannie Bueller in the short-lived TV series based on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Ferris Bueller), Lisa Kudrow had several TV movies to her name, Matt LeBlanc starred in a Married with Children spin-off called Vinnie & Bobby, Matthew Perry held leading roles in multiple series (though none made it past their first respective seasons), and David Schwimmer guest-starred in popular series like L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, and The Wonder Years (all while providing legal counsel for O.J. Simpson — just kidding).
Cox, who played NBC’s resident neat freak Monica Geller, was hardly new to Hollywood when she landed the role of a lifetime. An entire decade prior, in 1984, she’d starred (OK, “starred” is a strong word) in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” music video.
The video, set at a Springsteen concert, is basically just Springsteen singing and dancing on stage (not in the dark, though). In the last minute-and-a-half, things pick up when The Boss begins making eye contact with a young pixie cut-clad gal in the front row (Cox). Before long Springsteen invites Courteney to take the stage with him, and as the instrumental interlude begins, they dance (again, all is fully illuminated).
Though many Friends and Springsteen superfans were aware of Cox’s incredibly ‘80s debut, the topic was recently revisited and discovered by a whole new generation when it was discussed in an episode of Orange Is the New Black.
In episode 7 of season 6 (“Changing Winds”), Natalie Figueroa — or "Fig" — tells Caputo that she was at the concert depicted in the video, but Springsteen brought Cox on stage instead of her. She ruminates on the trying moment, and “all that Friends money” that later trailed Cox, implying that the 1984 cameo laid the foundation for the rest of her career.
Oh, and if Bruce Springsteen x Courteney Cox in a muscle tee wasn't #iconic enough for you, listen to this: Court and Bruce's dance is believed to have actually originated a lil' step called The Carlton.
Friends x Bruce Springsteen x The Fresh Prince x OITNB = We have really and truly been saved, our souls laid to rest in pop culture heaven.