American actress Paget Brewster is best known to television viewers for playing Special Agent Emily Prentiss on the CBS series “Criminal Minds,” a role she began in 2006. The Massachusetts native began as a singer for rock bands in New York City and then became a local TV personality in San Francisco before coming to prominence with her recurring role of Kathy on “Friends” (1997-1998). She went on to work in the short lived shows “Love & Money” (1999), “The Trouble With Normal” (2000), “Andy Richter Controls the Universe” (2002-2003) and “Huff” (2004-2006) before landing the noted role of Emily.
Brewster has also acted in many films, including “Let's Talk About Sex” (1998), “Desperate But Not Serious” (1999), “The Specials” (2000), “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” (2000), “Now You Know” (2002), “Man of the House” (2005), “My Big Fat Independent Movie” (2005), “Unaccompanied Minors” (2006) and “The Big Bad Swim” (2006).
Brewster has volunteered with the Young Storytellers Program. She is good friends with actor, screenwriter and film producer Jon Cryer (born on April 16, 1965) and once dated actor and comedian Jay Johnston of HBO's “Mr. Show” fame. She is currently romantically involved with Steve Damstra, a business partner of her “Criminal Minds” costar Matthew Gray Gubler. The couple resides in Los Angeles, California. Brewster mentions “Iron Chef,” “Cops,” “CSI” and “Nip/Tuck” among her favorite TV shows and “This is Spinal Tap,” “Dead Alive,” “LA Confidential,” “Caddyshack,” “Jaws,” “The Matrix” and “The Evil Dead” as her favorite films. Her favorite musicians include Shirley Bassey, Dean Martin, White Zombie, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers.
Parsons School of Design
Childhood and Family:
Paget Brewster was born on March 10, 1969, in Concord, Massachusetts, to Galen and Hathaway Brewster. She attended a New England boarding school in Massachusetts where her parents were teachers. She moved to New York City at age 18 and attended Parsons School of Design. However, she left the school after a year to pursue a career in show business and moved to San Francisco and then Los Angeles. Paget has a younger brother named Ivan Brewster.
While living in New York City, Paget Brewster got her start as a singer for local rock bands Mechanical Bride and Sleeping Pills. With the latter band, she headed to San Francisco, but the band quickly broke up and she decided to turn her attention toward acting. In San Francisco, Brewster worked on the public access television show “Strange America” as a writer and performer. She also hosted her own local late night talk show in San Francisco called “The Paget Show” (1994), which ran for 65 episodes. Not long after, she moved to Los Angeles to try more opportunities.
Brewster's first big break arrived when she landed the recurring role of Kathy, the girlfriend of Joey who falls in love with his roommate Chandler, on the NBC popular sitcom “Friends” (1994-2004). She appeared in six episodes of the series from 1997 to 1998. Brewster then costarred with Troy Beyer and Randi Ingerman in the indie film “Let's Talk About Sex” (1998), which was directed and written by Beyer, was cast in the television film “Max Q” (1998) and took on a recurring voice role in the Fox adaptation of “Godzilla: The Series” (1998).
1999 saw Brewster star as Dr. Jo Hardy, opposite Steven Weber and Matt Mulhern, in a failed pilot for CBS titled “The Expert.” The same year, she also appeared in the Bill Fishman directed film “Desperate But Not Serious” (1999) and costarred as Allison Conklin on the short lived CBS sitcom “Love & Money.”
Entering the new millennium, Brewster starred with Eric Jungmann and Pat Kilbane in an unsold pilot called “Star Patrol” and supported David Hasselhoff and Terry Farrell in the CBS TV film “One True Love” (both 2000) before landing the role of Claire Garletti on the ABC sitcom “The Trouble With Normal” (2000), opposite David Krumholtz, Brad Raider, Jon Cryer and Larry Joe Campbell. A total of 13 episodes of the series were completed, but only five episodes aired before the show was canceled. All 13 episodes were later shown in Australia. 2000 also found the actress teaming up with Thomas Haden Church, Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, Judy Greer and Sean Gunn in “The Specials,” a comedy film about a group of superheroes on their day off. She also played Jenny Spy in the comedy “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” an adaptation of the television cartoon “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” by Jay Ward. Starring Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Piper Perabo, Randy Quaid and Robert De Niro and directed by Des McAnuff, the movie received mixed to negative reviews from critics and was a box office flop.
2001 found Brewster starring in the short film “Agent 15,” playing the supporting role of Phoebe in the comedy film “Hollywood Palms” (starred Patrick Labyorteaux, Matt Winston and Dean Cameron), being featured in the romantic comedy “Skippy” (starred Lisa Denke, Roland Kickinger and William Sadler) and starring with David Keith and Michael Rispoli in the TV film “Last Dance.” She also guest starred in the David Alan Grier short lived sitcom “DAG” (NBC) and another short lived sitcom titled “Raising Dad” (the WB, both 2001).
Brewster returned to series television as a regular when she costarred in the Fox midseason replacement sitcom “Andy Richter Controls the Universe,” starring Andy Richer. The show ran from March 19, 2002, to January 12, 2003, and was canceled because of low ratings. While working on the show, she appeared as Ginger in an episode of “George Lopez” called “The Wedding Dance” and returned to feature films with a supporting role in Jeff Anderson's comedy “Now You Know” (both 2002).
Next up for Brewster, she worked with Greg Germann and Kat Dennings in the TV film “The Snobs” (2003), with Eric Hoffman, Bill Chott and Mike Monterastelli in the video short “Brainwarp” (2003) and Hank Azaria, Zooey Deschanel, Famke Janssen, Kelly Preston, Ray Romano and Debra Winger in Michael Clancy's comedy “Eulogy” (2004). After guest spots in “Time Belt” (2003) and “Rock Me, Baby” (2004), she was cast as Beth in the Showtime original series “Huff,” opposite Hank Azaria. The series ran from November 7, 2004, to June 25, 2006.
Brewster next appeared as Jamie Eckleberry in an episode of “Two and a Half Men” called “A Lung Full of Alan” (2005), provided the voice of Rona Vipra in two episodes of “Duck Dodgers” (2005), and supported Tommy Lee Jones in the film “Man of the House” (2005, directed by Stephen Herek). She then costarred with Pauly Shore, Jason Mewes and Clint Howard in “My Big Fat Independent Movie” (2005) and played Carol Carter in the TV film “Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution” (2005), which starred Janel Maloney. Still in 2005, she began her recurring role of Charlotte in the Fox sitcom “Stacked” (3 episodes, 2005-2006) as well as her first of a series of voiceover work on the animated series “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law” (9 episodes) and “American Dad” (12 episodes).
In 2006, Brewster portrayed Lauren Wilde in the TV film “Lost Behind Bars,” Bethany Feral in the science fiction movie “Cyxork 7” (starred Ray Wise, Sonya Smith and Beata Pozniak), and Amy Pierson in the independent film “The Big Bad Swim” (with Jeff Branson, Jess Weixler, Raviv Ullman and Liza Lapira). She also appeared in Paul Feig's teen comedy “Unaccompanied Minors” (starred Dyllan Christopher, Lewis Black, Wilmer Valderrama, Tyler James Williams, Brett Kelly, Gina Mantegna, and Quinn Shephard), the made for TV film “ A Perfect Day” and as Melinda in the short “Kidney Thieves.” In addition, her voice was heard in the animated television series “Drawn Together.”
However, Brewster did not enjoy her next big break until she joined the cast of the CBS series “Criminal Minds.” She was hired to portray Emily Prentiss in the series after actress Lola Glaudini left the show. On playing Emily on the series, she commented, “They (the producers of 'Criminal Minds') were looking to bring in a female agent who was unknown to the unit. Ed said, 'As writers we've grown complacent about who these people are and we need to shake it up.' It's the nicest way to join a cast because my character is feeling exactly the way I'm feeling, which is, 'Please accept me because I want to be here.' And it's just heaven. I get to dance with Mandy Patinkin in between takes and he sings in my ear.”
In 2007, Brewster made a guest appearance in an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” called “Scheherazade.” The same year, she also appeared in the direct-to-video horror film “Sublime,” which starred Tom Cavanagh and Kathleen York. Two years later, she provided the voice of Myrna in the “King of the Hill” episode titled “Lucky See, Monkey Do” (2009).
Brewster will star with Dave Foley and Curtis Armstrong in the upcoming comedy series “Dan Vs.”