THEN: When we started looking back at “Where in the Horror are they now?” our first entry focused on one of the coolest genre fellas around. You may remember my breakdown of the awesomeness that is Thom Mathews? Well he wasn’t the only thing that made FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: JASON LIVES one of the most entertaining entries in the franchise. How could we forget the adorably cute but still oh-so-sexy Jennifer Cooke who played the female lead, Megan? Well thankfully we didn’t. In this weeks’ column, we take a look back at the surprisingly short career of the actress who warmed our Jason Voorhees loving heart.
It is shocking to me that this beautiful blonde didn’t have a bigger career than what she had, but that’s Hollywood for ya! Aside from a couple of TV movies and an “ABC Afterschool Special,” Ms. Cooke started off her career like many actresses of the day, making a soap opera appearance. In 1982 on “Guiding Light” the New York born beauty was featured on an episode playing the part of “Morgan Richards.” If that means anything to you then congratulations, you are one up on me. Afterwards in 1984 she starred in another TV movie called “Summer.” Thankfully things got better for horror fans as well as horny young men.
Later that same year Jennifer appeared in a genre that was a staple of the 1980’s, a T & A comedy called GIMME AN F. This bare-breasted bonanza of hottie cheerleaders gave many a young man an opportunity to give a little cheer himself. Surprisingly though, one of the most famous scenes features actor Stephen Shellen (with the help of a body double) dancing in the shower while stripping down to his tighty-whiteys. Considering the amount of female flesh in this here sex comedy, it certainly had its fair share of homoerotism thanks to that MAGIC MIKE worthy scene. Lucky for us the movie also featured Jennifer Cooke and she was adorable.
Next up for this gorgeous gal came the cult classic TV show “V” about a race of lizard like aliens called “Visitors” who hassle with the human race. The original series only ran from 1984 to 1985 but it developed a nifty little fan base, so much so that the series got a short-lived update over at ABC (SyFy in the UK) from 2009 to 2011. Cooke appeared in the original series as Elizabeth Maxwell and she starred opposite a couple of very familiar genre names including the badass Michael Ironside as well as Freddy Krueger himself, Mr. Robert Englund in a far different role from his iconic A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET persona. It’s been a very long time since I sat down with this series, but I remember being a young tyke and thinking it was one hell of a great show… and it had the prettiest half human/half visitor you ever done see!
Now let’s get down to business. I absolutely love FRIDAY THE 13th PART VI: JASON LIVES (1986) for a number of reasons. It is arguably one of the most inventive sequels in the franchise with some seriously funny bits and a super pissed off Jason. It also helps that Matthews and Cooke made such a likable leading couple. When Megan meets bad boy Tommy Jarvis, the chemistry sparked and these two had me rooting for their survival. Sure he gets into most of the action, but you can leave it to the marvelous Megan to give the super famous psycho Voorhees a splitting headache with the help of a boat propeller. Sure being the sixth sequel of a slasher franchise wasn’t necessarily a guarantee for stardom, but I thought we’d see a ton more of Jennifer after that. I was mistaken.
What exactly did happen to Jennifer Cooke after F13? Well the actress appeared in an episode of the anthology series “The Hitchhiker” a year before facing Jason. Later on she starred in a mini-series called “A Year in the Life” in 1986 and then called it a day. She seemingly retired from the business and married a gentleman named Mo Siegel, one of the founders of Celestial Seasonings tea . The two are heavily involved in The Urantia Foundation, an establishment based on “The Urantia Book” which “aims to unite religion, science and philosophy.” Personally I know very little about this organization, but if you’d like some insight you can visit the website here .
NOW: Mo and Jennifer are still happily married (I presume) and have five children and currently residing in Boulder, Colorado. Although she is far removed from Hollywood it seems that Jennifer hasn’t forgotten about her F13 past. Thankfully the retired actress is expected to appear in the upcoming – and very extensive looking – THE CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES, a documentary on the making of this mega-horror franchise. Available on August 27 (you can pre-order it here ), this jam-packed look at F13 is inspired by the fantastic book “Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th.” As a massive fan of this series I can’t wait to see all the familiar faces all in one place.
If you were hoping that Jennifer would return to acting after a few decades, you’d better pray for a miracle. Thankfully we will always have “V” and F13 PART 6. Of course if you really need a reminder, just have a cup of Celestial Seasonings tea… I’m about to do that right now! We miss you Jen, but as long as you are happy, well goshdarnit, we are too!