The 80s Dude talks with CLAUDIA WELLS, Marty McFly’s girlfriend Jennifer Parker in the BACK TO THE FUTURE as well as one of our special event co-hosts on the 2019 80s Cruise!
The 80s Dude: First question on every 80s cruisers mind is, what was it like starring in one of the biggest movies of the 1980s, “Back to the Future”?
Claudia Wells:I adored being in “Back to the Future” and working with Michael J. Fox. He’s very down to earth and kind and funny and a pure pro to work with. We enjoyed our time together. I also enjoyed Christopher Lloyd and Huey Lewis. Michael was a big fan of Huey’s and brought his album to set the day Huey worked, in order to get it autographed by him.
The 80s Dude:Have you kept in touch with Michael J. Fox or others from “Back to the Future”?
Claudia:I’ve become great, great friends with the cast over the years. We see each other at reunions and conventions all over the world. James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland) and I have a catch-up phone call with each other every few months. I dress Goldie (my nickname for Don Fullilove, Mayor Goldie Wilson) at my men’s high-fashion resale shop, Armani Wells, plus he’s one of my great friends. Lea Thompson (Lorraine) is also a wonderful friend who I highly respect. Chris Lloyd (Doc Brown) and I got the fun of being the only two original cast members to portray our characters in Telltale’s “Back to the Future” video game. I always enjoy our time together just hanging out there and at appearances all over the world that we’ve done, and he has a gorgeous, terrific wife, Lisa. Chris and I solo headlined an appearance together in Tokyo that was an awesome experience, a couple years ago. Anytime I’ve seen Michael (Marty) over the years, it’s as though no time has gone by.
The 80s Dude: Can you tell us how you landed the role of Jennifer Parker?
Claudia: It was actually only one audition. I had a two and a half hour interview with Steven Spielberg (producer), Bob Zemeckis (writer and director) and Bob Gale (producer and writer), as well as all of the other producers and the casting directors, at Amblin, Steven’s production company. It was an amazing and super fun experience. Since I’d screen-tested for the starring roles in the Amblin films “Gremlins,” “Goonies” and “Young Sherlock Holmes,” yet not nabbed those roles, my guess is that everyone was already familiar with my work, because it’s pretty unheard of to only audition once for such an important part. I’m thrilled.
The 80s Dude: What have you heard about The 80s Cruise so far?
Claudia:Well, I googled the ship and it looks absolutely incredible. Pure luxury and lots of patios for a huge portion of the rooms! The other artists booked are some of the best, most important bands of the ’80s, and Alonzo, the comedian, won first place in the first season of “Last Comic Standing.” He’s from my stomping ground in Studio City, so I’ve seen him around for years. Can’t wait to meet Tiffany, who was iconic in my heyday. I’m super impressed with the high-level lineup of guests chosen, and I’m very honored to have been asked to be among them!
The 80s Dude: What are you looking forward to most on The 80s Cruise?
Claudia:I love meeting my fan base, and this will be a casual, fun way of spending time with them and doing all sorts of fun outings and activities together in a relaxed atmosphere for seven whole days. People always tend to get to know each other on a different level when in a relaxed travel experience. I simply adore travel and learning about different places, and “Back to the Future” fans are across the board the greatest people and so loyal. Anything I can do to be supportive of them is my honor to do so. It’s one of the reasons that I choose to travel the world to do appearances where I can be there to meet them and share my life.
The 80s Dude: We felt that you were a natural fit to be part of The 80s Cruise. What made you want to be part of it?
Claudia:I love hosting people. It’s in my DNA. My mom was an amazing hostess — one of her great talents — and she raised my siblings and I to be the same. So to host events and bands performing comes very naturally to me. Even at my store, it’s an environment of me personally hosting my guests who come in. I feel like when people are coming into my store, I treat them as if they’ve entered my home and I cater to them in the way I feel is deserved and warranted. I love the idea of hosting a crowd, and I get great pleasure doing Q&As and answering an audience’s questions. Even with an audience of thousands, it still always feels very personal. Doing personal speaking engagements and appearances is a highlight of my life. I enjoy every aspect of it very much. So to be able to do that, while being at sea and visiting beautiful ports with our guests, sounds simply dreamy. I pick and choose very carefully what opportunities are worth closing my store [for], in order to travel and do, and this was an easy “yes” and “thank you”!
The 80s Dude: What current projects are you working on?
Claudia:I’m working on a biography of my life with an author that is in the last stages of writing. That’s a big one. I’m occasionally working on films. There’s three right now that haven’t come out yet that I’m in. My store, Armani Wells, has been open for [more than 26] years, at the same location in Studio City, and I simply love everything about it. I’m the sole buyer and the sole stylist for my customers. If I’m not there, the store isn’t open. I want to be the one to personally care for my customers. It’s a very family and personal experience, and I enjoy making men gorgeous. It’s only high-end brands of clothes, from casual to formal, at a bare fraction of the retail value and all current style. It’s my baby and I love it every bit as much today as the very first day that I opened. I also travel the world to do fan appearances (in May I’m headlining the StarCon Italy show and an appearance in Mallorca for fans on June 3). I also do keynote speaking for companies. I’m a founding board member for a charity called Kids in the Spotlight. We’re nearly 10 years old and we bring a 10-week course to foster care facilities and underserved youth, teaching them how to act and cast and write their own short films, which we then film, culminating in a once-a-year Oscar-type ceremony where they’re given awards and their films are screened. It’s important for them to know that they’re alive for a purpose, are made for great and worthy things, and have potential for careers. That they know they’re loved and cared for and important, despite the difficult situation that they’re in.
I write poetry and am putting together a book of my poems as well.
I have a full and very blessed life and I’m forever grateful.