After Her Attention-Getting Spin with the Boss, Courtney Cox Revs Up a Film Career with the Masters of the Universe

updated 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Courtney Cox insists she's a klutz, but there she was on MTV, sausaged into blue jeans and dancing in the dark with none other than Bruce Springsteen for a full 21 seconds (she counted). "Oh, God, Courtney, what are you doing here?" Cox wondered when she auditioned for the 1984 video with "300 really beautiful girls." She tried the direct approach: "All I've done is two days on As the World Turns, but I guarantee that you can change that," she told director Brian De Palma. Indeed he did. Cox's hoofing on the hit video caught a lot of eyes, and now, after NBC's Misfits of Science and a failed sitcom pilot, she has two new movies: Cannon Films' thriller Down Twisted, which opened recently in California, and Masters of the Universe, a lavish version of the He-Man/She-Ra toys and comics now shooting with Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella. The films have bought Cox a small house in Bel Air but they haven't swollen her ego noticeably. When asked by strangers—as she still is—if she is Springsteen's daughter or girlfriend, Cox, 22, replies, "No, I'm just a regular person."

Cox's featured role as a regular earthling in Masters calls for more screaming than dialogue (that's rationed in sci-fi epics); she claims her best howl came when she was winged by a flying spark. Still, it is a lot better than working, as she did in high school in Birmingham, Ala., at a swimming pool store. The daughter of a housewife and a construction executive, who divorced when she was 10, Cox quit Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. to model. Noxzema commercials helped pay for acting lessons and speech therapy to turn her Alabama 'gits' into 'gets,' but it was the non-speaking video role that led to her movie career. Not a bad return on a 21-second dance with the Boss.

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