Andrea Joy Cook, popularly known as A.J. Cook is a well-known Canadian actress. She is best known for her role in the CBS police crime drama 'Criminal Minds' where she portrays a Supervisory Special Agent known as Jennifer Jareau. The show has been running from 2005 and as of 2017, it is running in its 13th season. Born in Oshawa, Ontario, in Canada, Cook was inclined towards acting from her early years. She began her acting career with a guest role in the TV series ‘Goosebumps.’ She made her film debut with the 1999 drama film 'The Virgin Suicides'. The film however was not much of a success. The following year she started appearing in the American Canadian drama series 'Higher Ground' where she played one of the lead roles. A few years later, she started appearing in the police crime drama 'Criminal Minds', which earned her much popularity and success. The show can be considered the most important work of her career. Over the years, she has also appeared in several popular films such as 'Least Among Saints' and 'Final Destination 2'. Also known for her gorgeous looks, Cook was ranked at 88th position on the ‘Maxim Hot 100’ 2014 list.
Childhood & Early Life
Andrea Joy Cook was born on 22nd July 1978, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada to parents Michael and Sandra Cook. She has three siblings named Nathan, Paul, and Angela.
She grew up near Whitby, a town in Ontario, where she attended the Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute.
At an early age she was declared legally blind because of severe astigmatism. However, she managed to correct her vision with the help of contacts and thick glasses. Later on, she also had to undergo surgery.
She started dancing when she was a little girl and also took jazz, tap and ballet lessons. She initially planned to open a dance studio before she decided to try her luck in acting.
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A.J. Cook's first acting role was in the TV series 'Goosebumps', which was based on the popular Goosebumps horror story book series by American author RL Stine. Her next appearances were in the TV movies 'His Father's Shoes' and 'Elvis Meets Nixon'.
In 1999, she made her film debut in the drama film 'The Virgin Suicides'. She gained popularity the following year for her appearance in 'Higher Ground' where she was seen in one of the main roles. The show did well and was quite appreciated. However, due to the sale of its broadcast network it had to be cancelled after one season.
In 2001, she played a lead role in the British Canadian horror film 'The Ripper'. Two years later she appeared in a main role in 'Final Destination 2', an American supernatural horror film which turned out to be a commercial success.
She played an important role in the American supernatural drama 'Tru Calling' which started airing from 2003 on Fox network. The show focused on a medical student serving her internship in a morgue. Her life takes a turn when a corpse seems to come to life and ask for help. Despite having an interesting plotline, the show received low ratings in the US.
In 2005, she played a lead role in the horror TV movie 'Bloodsuckers' which was directed by Matthew Hastings. The show received mixed reviews.
The same year she started starring in 'Criminal Minds' which has so far been the most significant work in her career. The show was a huge success and won numerous awards and nominations. It was met with positive reviews.
In 2006, she appeared in the romantic comedy film 'I'm Reed Fish' which was directed by Zackary Adler. The film was met with average reviews.
A.J. Cook then appeared in a main role in the 2007 horror film 'Night Skies'. Directed by Roy Knyrim, the film revolved around a group of friends who are kidnapped by aliens on their way to Las Vegas.
She was also seen in the psychological horror film 'Mother's Day' in a minor role. Her latest appearances were in the films 'Least Among Saints' (2012) where she played a supporting role, and 'Wer' (2013) in which she portrayed a main role.
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‘Tru Calling’, an American supernatural drama series, was one of the early works in Cook’s career. Created by Jon Harmon Feldman, the series had an interesting plotline about a 22-year-old medical student who was serving her internship in a morgue. Her life turns upside down when a corpse awakens and asks for her help.
The show starred A.J. Cook as the best friend of the protagonist. Other actors in the series included Eliza Dushku, Zach Galifianakis, Shawn Reaves, and Matt Bomer.
Her role in ‘Criminal Minds’ an American police procedural crime drama was much appreciated. The show started airing from 2005 and has been running for twelve years now. Created by Jeff Davis, the series follows an FBI team, and focuses on how they manage to catch criminals by analyzing their behavior.
Other actors in the series included Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, Lola Glaudini, Shemar Moore, and Matthew Grey Gubler. The show has won numerous awards such as the Image Award and People’s Choice Award.
Cook played the lead role in the 2014 American horror film ‘Wer’. Directed by William Brent Bell, the film starred her as an attorney who learns that her client is a werewolf. Other actors in the movie were Vik Sahay, Simon Quarterman and Sebastian Roché.
Awards & Achievements
A.J. Cook was nominated for a Prism Award for her performance in the TV movie ‘Bring Ashley Home’.
She was also ranked at 88th position on the Maxim Hot 100 2014 list.
A.J. Cook married her long-time boyfriend Nathan Anderson in 2001. They currently reside in Los Angeles, California, with their two sons, Mekhai, born in 2008, and Phoenix Sky, born in 2015.
Cook, who is a Christian, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Her estimated net worth is $4 million.