Rachael Leigh Cook (born October 4, 1979) is an American actress, model, voice artist, and producer, who is best known for her starring role in films She's All That (1999), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), and the television series Into the West and Perception, as well as being the voice behind various characters in Robot Chicken and Tifa Lockhart in the English version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
Cook was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of JoAnn, a cooking instructor and weaver, and Thomas H. Cook, a social worker and former stand-up comedian. She is of Italian descent. Cook first appeared in a public service announcement for foster care at seven years of age, and began working as a child print model at the age of 10, most notably in nationwide advertisements for Target and appearing on the boxes of Milk-Bone dog biscuits. She attended Clara Barton Open School, Laurel Springs School, and Minneapolis South High School.
Cook began auditioning for acting work at the age of 14. She made her debut as an actress in the 1995 film The Baby-Sitters Club, based on Ann M. Martin's book series of the same name. Her second movie role was in Tom and Huck, in which she portrayed Rebecca "Becky" Thatcher. In 1996, her modeling agency sent her to star in a short film, 26 Summer Street. In 1997, Cook appeared in a leading role in the film Country Justice as a 15-year-old rape victim who is impregnated by her rapist. She gained national attention in 1998, when she was featured in the famous This Is Your Brain on Drugs PSA television advertisement, in which she proceeds to destroy a kitchen with a frying pan as she lists the important things in life that heroin harms.
In 1999, Cook starred her breakout role in the sleeper hit film She's All That, a romantic comedy that adapted George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and so far the most financially successful film in her career. In 2000 she starred opposite Elijah Wood in the well-received The Bumblebee Flies Anyway. She took the lead role in 2001's Josie and the Pussycats, which turned out to be a box office failure. After that Cook mainly focused her work in independent films, resulting in some nicknaming her the next "Indie Queen" after Parker Posey. She also appeared as a main cast member in the 2005 television miniseries Into the West produced by Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks.
In 2000, she was the cover girl for the premiere US issue of FHM, the March/April issue. She also starred in the music video for New Found Glory's 2000 single "Dressed to Kill" and singer Daniel Powter's "Love You Lately". In 2002, she was ranked #26 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World".
Cook provided the voice for Chelsea Cunningham on the Kids' WB animated series Batman Beyond in the episode "Last Resort" and in the animated film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Cook voiced Tifa Lockhart in the video games Kingdom Hearts II, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, as well as the CG movie Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Cook's latest voice-over role is for the video game Yakuza in which she voices the role of Reina.
Cook owns her own production company, Ben's Sister Productions (in reference to her younger brother Ben Cook, an aspiring filmmaker). Cook eventually stepped away from the spotlight to focus on spending time with friends and family. She later returned to mainstream films when she signed on to a new casting agency. In 2007 Cook was in the big screen adaptation of Nancy Drew, played the female lead in the independent sports drama The Final Season, and played a supporting role in Blonde Ambition starring Jessica Simpson and Luke Wilson.
She has appeared in numerous episodes of the Seth Green comedies Titan Maximum and Robot Chicken. On the latter she parodied the "This Is Your Brain on Drugs" role she made famous, by destroying everything she encounters with her frying pan.
In 2008, she guest-starred in an episode of the USA Network series Psych as Abigail Lytar, an old flame of Shawn Spencer. She returned in the season finale in which Abigail and Shawn start dating and appeared in many more episodes the following season.
In February 2010, Cook signed on to play the female lead role in Fox TV's comedy pilot Nirvana. She will star in the Western horror film Vampire, which is the English-language feature debut of Japanese director Iwai Shunji.
In 2011, she voiced the character of Jaesa Willsaam in the MMO game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
In 2012, Cook signed on to play the female lead role in the TNT crime drama series Perception opposite Eric McCormack. She starred in the independent film Broken Kingdom, which was directed by her husband Daniel Gillies and premier on October 2, 2012. She also appeared in a Funny or Die sketch with Chad Michael Murray.
In 2011, she was selected by the Obama administration as a Champion of Change for Arts Education. In June 2012, she began to award a small scholarship to those between ages 14 and 19. The scholarship helps pay for career classes, mentoring programs, and other school fees.
Cook married actor Daniel Gillies in August 2004, after less than a year of dating. They have two children: daughter Charlotte Easton Gillies (born September 2013) and son Theodore Vigo Sullivan Gillies (born April 2015).
Cook is a vegetarian. She lives mostly in Los Angeles, but frequently goes back to visit her family in Minnesota.
Awards and nominations
- Rachael Leigh Cook at the Internet Movie Database
- Rachael Leigh Cook at AllMovie
- Rachael Leigh Cook at the TCM Movie Database
- Rachael Leigh Cook on Twitter