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

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin