Childhood & Early Life
Emily was born on October 11, 1976, in Los Angeles, California, US, in an upper middle class family to Caleb Deschanel and Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir).
Both her parents are associated with the world of film and television. Her father is a film cinematographer and film and TV director while her mother is an actress who has made her mark in both films and TV.
Her younger sister, Zooey Deschanel, is also a renowned American actress and singer-songwriter.
Deschanel comes from a mixed ancestry of French, Irish, Dutch, Swiss and English descent.
She studied at the independent co-educational university preparatory day school, the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, California, and also at the Crossroads School, a private, K-12 independent, college preparatory school located in Santa Monica, California.
Thereafter, she attended ‘Boston University’ from where she completed the Professional Actors Training Program graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater degree.
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Her debut in feature films happened with the Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda starrer 1994 American romantic comedy-drama film ‘It Could Happen to You’. Deschanel played the role of an animal right activist in the film.
In 2000, she featured as Maggie in the short film titled ‘It's a Shame About Ray’ and the year that followed saw her essaying the role of Maude Allyn in the television movie ‘The Heart Department’.
She then played Pam Asbury, a lecturer and host of Psychic TV in the Stephen King scripted TV miniseries ‘Red Rose’. She appeared in three of its episodes in 2002.
In 2002, she also portrayed as Cassie Germaine in the American police procedural, legal, crime-drama TV series ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ in the seventeenth episode of its third season titled ‘Surveillance’; and as Annie Franks in the drama series ‘Providence’ in two of its episodes titled ‘Cloak & Dagger’ and ‘The Eleventh Hour’
She played Laura Harris in Jane Weinstock’s directorial debut ‘Easy’ in 2003. Side-by-side, she featured as Sam in the TV movie ‘The Dan Show’ that released same year.
One of her notable roles was that of Mrs. Morgan in the 2003 Christmas Day released blockbuster American epic war drama film ‘Cold Mountain’ starring Nicole Kidman and Jude Law among others.
In 2004, she featured as Rosanna Travis in the April 9 released commercially flop American war film, ‘The Alamo’ while she appeared as a receptionist in the June released super hit film ‘Spider-Man 2’ starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. That year she also featured in the short film ‘Old Tricks’ and in the episode ‘All the News Fit to Print’ in the TV series ‘Crossing Jordan’.
Interview magazine named her among the "six actresses to watch" in 2004.
She started 2005 with the starring role of Kate Houghton in the Stephen T. Kay directed New Zealand-American supernatural horror film ‘Boogeyman’. Although the film received negative critical reviews, it became a smashing hit at the box-office. That year she also featured in two short films namely ‘That Night’ and ‘Mute’.
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Deschanel landed up with her real breakthrough with the American crime procedural drama TV series ‘Bones’ that started airing on Fox from September 13, 2005 and ended after completing 12 seasons comprising 246 episodes on March 28, 2017.
‘Bones’ was created by Hart Hanson and was loosely based on the career and novels of American crime writer, academic and forensic anthropologist, Kathy Reichs.
Deschanel played the role of the main protagonist, an intelligent forensic anthropologist and kinesiologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, in ‘Bones’ along with David Boreanaz who played the co-protagonist, FBI agent Seeley Booth.
Her remarkable performance in ‘Bones’ not only earned her much deserved acclaim and popularity but also a number of nominations over the years including the Teen Choice Awards and People's Choice Awards. She also earned a Best Actress – Television Series Drama nomination from Satellite Awards in 2006.
Beginning the third season of ‘Bones’ from September 25, 2007, Deschanel along with Boreanaz became the co-producers of the series and thereafter served as producers of the series from the middle of its fourth season.
Meanwhile in 2006 she essayed the role of Mary Haskins in the Josh Lucas starrer American sports drama film ‘Glory Road’, which became a commercial success. The following year she featured as Maggie in the short film ‘The Diagnosis’.
She played Dr. Farquad in the Cameron Diaz starrer commercial successful American drama film ‘My Sister's Keeper’ that released on June 26, 2009.
The Anne Renton directed 2011 comedy drama film ‘The Perfect Family’ saw her in the starring role of Shannon Cleary.
She was one of the hundred narrators including artists, actors, filmmakers, musicians, entertainers, authors, athletes, businessmen and military personnel in the documentary film ‘Unity’ that delves on transformation of humanity. It saw a worldwide release on August 12, 2015.
While burgeoning with her popularity as Dr. Temperance Brennan in ‘Bones’, Deschanel went on to essay the character in single episodes of other series as well. These include featuring in the episode ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ in ‘Sleepy Hollow’ (2015) and in the episode ‘Love And/Or Marriage’ in ‘BoJack Horseman’ (2016).
Personal Life & Legacy
Emily married American actor, screenwriter and producer, David Hornsby, on September 25, 2010. The couple is blessed with two sons, Henry Lamar Hornsby, born on September 21, 2011, and Calvin, born on June 8, 2015.
She is a vegan and a dedicated advocate of animal rights causes. She has provided narration in the documentary ‘My Child Is a Monkey’ and remained an associate producer of yet another titled ‘How I Became an Elephant’.
In pursuit of promoting regular screening of breast cancer for the charitable program ‘Stand Up 2 Cancer’, she along with Katharine McPhee, Minka Kelly, Jaime King and Alyson Hannigan developed a video slumber party that featured on FunnyorDie.com.