Claudia Grace Wells (born July 5, 1966) is an American actress and businesswoman, best known for her role as Jennifer Parker in the film Back to the Future (1985).
Wells was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, grew up in San Francisco and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 14. She later graduated from Beverly Hills High School. She started acting with appearances in TV shows. Wells played Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly’s girlfriend, in the 1985 film Back to the Future. She almost did not end up in the first film of the successful franchise. According to Wells, she had been cast, but a pilot she had done for ABC had been picked up, and she was contractually forced to drop out of Back to the Future. During that time, Eric Stoltz had been shooting for five weeks in the role of Marty McFly. Melora Hardin was slated for the role of Jennifer though she never actually filmed any scenes. The producers halted filming and replaced Stoltz with Michael J. Fox. By then, Wells’s pilot had been finished and she was recast as Jennifer, now shooting alongside Fox, having never filmed a frame with Stoltz. That same year (1985), Wells co-starred in Stop the Madness, an anti-drug music video sponsored by the Reagan administration, featuring several famous musicians, actors and athletes. The following year, she appeared in the TV movie Babies Having Babies, and the short-lived series Fast Times, a TV adaptation of the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Wells played Linda Barrett, portrayed by Phoebe Cates in the film). Following Fast Times, she did not appear again on-screen until the 1996 independent film, Still Waters Burn (released on DVD February 12, 2008).
After her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Wells put her career on hold for family reasons, and told the studio she would be unavailable to reprise her Back to the Future role for the two sequels. Actress Elisabeth Shue replaced her. In the early 1990s, Wells started a clothing store, Armani Wells, which (as of 2018) she still manages.
Return to acting
After a lengthy absence, Wells returned to acting in 2011 with a small role in the independent science-fiction film, Alien Armageddon. The same year, Wells had the opportunity to reprise her role from Back to the Future 26 years after her last appearance in the series. She provided the voice of Jennifer Parker for Back to the Future: The Game. Wells announced that her next project would be a horror film titled Room & Board.
James Stewart Tolkan (born June 20, 1931) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as Mr. Strickland in Back to the Future (1985), Back to the Future Part II (1989), and Back to the Future Part III (1990). Some of his other memorable film roles were in Love and Death (1975), Top Gun (1986), Masters of the Universe (1987) and Dick Tracy (1990).
Tolkan is known for his role in the 1985 film Back to the Future as the strict Hill Valley High School assistant principal, Gerald Strickland; the character refers to Marty McFly, his father, and Biff Tannen derisively as “slackers”. He reprised the role in the 1989 sequel Back to the Future Part II, in which unnamed gang members make a drive-by assault on him in a dystopian 1985; he also refers to these criminals as “slackers” as he shoots back. In 1990, he played the part of Mr. Strickland’s grandfather Chief Marshal James Strickland in Back to the Future Part III. Tolkan would again reprise his role as Strickland in addition to playing his character’s ancestors and descendants in the 1991 animated series spin-off. Other well-known roles include an FBI agent in WarGames and Stinger, the no-nonsense commanding officer of USS Enterprise’s embarked Carrier Air Wing in the 1986 box-office hit Top Gun. He portrayed the role of cold and determined District Attorney Polito in Sidney Lumet’s Prince of the City. He also appeared in the 1987 film Masters of the Universe as Detective Lubic. He had a dual role in the Woody Allen comedy Love and Death, playing both Napoleon and a look-alike. He also appeared as Big Boy Caprice’s accountant “Numbers” in the 1990 Warren Beatty film Dick Tracy. He appeared in Serpico (1973) in a small but notable role as a cop who loudly accuses Officer Serpico of having a gay encounter with another cop in the men’s room. Tolkan has also made guest appearances on many TV shows, including Naked City, Remington Steele, Miami Vice and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A member of the repertory cast of A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2001–02), he played more than a dozen varied roles in the A&E TV series and also directed two episodes (“Die Like a Dog” and “The Next Witness”).