About the Actor: Taraji Penda Henson was born September 11, 1970) is an American actress and singer. She studied acting at Howard University and began her Hollywood career in guest roles on several television shows before making her breakthrough in Baby Boy (2001). In 2005, she starred in Hustle& Flow and played Queenie in David Fincher’s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), for which she received an Academy Award nomination. In 2010, she appeared in the comedy Date Night and co-starred in the remake ofThe Karate Kid. In 2012, Henson was in the large ensemble cast film Think Like A Man and reprised her role in its sequel.
Henson has also had an extensive career in television, having been a regular cast member on series such as The Division, Boston Legal, and Eli Stone. From 2011 to 2013, she co-starred as Detective Jocelyn Carter in the CBS drama Person Of Interest. As of 2015, she stars as Cookie Lyon on the Fox drama series Empire, for which she won a Critics’ Choice Award and a Gloden Globe Award, and nominated for an Emmy Award.
Her character as Cookie Information: Loretha “Cookie” Lyon is a fictional character from the American musical drama Empire on Fox. Portrayed by Taraji P. Henson, Cookie is one of the main characters within the series and the ex-wife of former drug dealer turned hip-hop mogul, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) who gets released from prison and strikes out to lay claim to half of their multimillion-dollar record label, which was initially funded by her drug money.
Loretha Holloway, nicknamed “Cookie”, was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has two sisters, Candace (Vivica A. Fox) and Carol (Tasha Smith). Growing up, Cookie gradually began working in the drug dealing business, which is where she met, and soon married Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard). Cookie and Lucious have three living children and once deceased daughter.: Andre (Trai Byers), Jamal (Jussie Smollett), and Hakeem(Bryshere Y. Gray)(Yazz the Greatest). Cookie strove to ensure that her children would get the best out of everything. In the drug dealing business, Cookie’s life has revolved around music, money, and dodging the law.
One of Cookie’s former accomplices is Frank Gathers (Chris Rock). Cookie, meanwhile, contributed to the beginnings of Empire Entertainment, distributing $400,000 worth of drug money to create the company. Because Cookie has been involved in drug dealing gone bad, forcing her to serve 17 years in prison, preventing her from being in her sons’ lives. After Lucious becomes distant from Cookie while she is incarcerated, the two eventually get a divorce.
Executive producer Lee Daniels revealed that Cookie was loosely based on the women in his life including his sister as well as Joan Collins’ Dynasty character, Alexis Carrington. Cookie will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and she will cause “havoc” along the way. Henson said in an interview with TV Guide that Cookie is the “hood version of Mama Rose from Gypsy.”