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.