Courteney Cox: Fabulous at 50

It is a tricky age for women in the workplace – never mind a celebrity A-Lister

Share

Courteney Cox was 50 on Sunday. Yes, Monica is 50! Our Friends really are getting older – much as we might struggle with the concept. Cox is actually the second of the six Friends to reach the landmark, after Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe).

Cox was already 30 when she auditioned for the role of Rachel, which went to Jennifer Aniston and her hair. Instead she became Monica, the OCD younger sister of David Schwimmer’s Ross, who initially shared her apartment with Phoebe before marrying Ross’s friend Chandler.

So, after a decade of playing a character 10 years younger than herself she was almost 40 when “The Last One”, the final episode of the most popular sitcom ever, aired to 52 million US viewers. It is famously a tricky age for women in the workplace – never mind a celebrity A-Lister.

It’s still harder for someone etched so deeply in our psyches as a particular character of a certain age. As with the surviving Beatles, Pele or Robert De Niro, we find it very difficult to accept our heroes ageing before our eyes because we see ourselves reflected back through their changing physical appearances.

It’s not just wrinkles. Every awful jig, thumbs-up and croaky “Hey Jude” of Sir Paul McCartney’s; every clichéd frown of de Niro’s in a lame comedy; every erectile dysfunction ad or other demeaning commercial endorsement of Pele’s diminishes them before our eyes.

Conversely, we are all familiar with the “live fast, die fast” young rocker, actor or even president: from JFK to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe; through Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin; to Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger and Amy Winehouse. Their images will be embalmed in youth.

Without meaning to be crass, it can be tougher to survive: McCartney or Mick Jagger, Roger Daltrey or Kirk Douglas, and worse still Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, or even Madonna. The subject reared its ugly head at this year’s Oscars when the appearance of one-time screen siren Kim Novak caused a cyber meltdown along “OMG she’s old” lines!

We had not seen much of Novak in decades. However, like McCartney and the other Friends, Cox has had a post-series career. She has succeeded better than Schwimmer, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, and Kudrow. Only Aniston has headlined more movies than Cox’s Scream series (with mixed success), and – love it or loathe it – at least Cougar Town isn’t merely an extended selfie like Le Blanc’s Episodes.

That was, of course, until her high-profile but relentlessly respectable divorce from her ex-husband David Arquette, and her recently becoming one half of a “cougar” couple with the much younger Snow Patrol singer Johnny McDaid. This is “i” not Heat, so I mention it merely as evidence of her further success in handling middle age in the public eye.

She isn’t being crucified for her relationship, nor her looks, not even her career choices. Although Cougar Town, which gave her a host of awards nominations now has an uncertain future, and her first attempt at directing, Just Before I Go has met with mixed reviews, Cox is still out there thriving and achieving.

It is more than can be said of some of her cast mates and nothing less than you would expect of the highly competitive Monica. When the world wants you to remain the twentysomething you actually never were, that’s no mean feat.

Stefano Hatfield is editor-in-chief of High50

Twitter.com: @stefanohat

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Sorrento  

I was about 12 when I began celebrating my birthday by sobbing over sad music

Howard Jacobson
 

Errors and Omissions: In thrall to a word that we don’t quite comprehend

Guy Keleny
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone