Childhood & Early Life
Zooey Claire Deschanel was born on January 17, 1980, to Caleb Deschanel, a cinematographer and Mary Jo Deschanel, an actress. She also has an elder sister, Emily Deschanel, is also an actress.
She studied at ‘Crossroads’, a school in Santa Monica, California. It was here that she became friends with Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson.
After planning a career in musical theatre, she attended ‘French Woods Festival Of The Performing Arts’ and also studied at Northwestern University for nine months, before she dropped out to pursue acting.
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She landed her first guest role in ‘Veronica’s Closet’, a television show and then made her motion picture debut in ‘Mumford’, in 1999. The same year, she was also cast in the music video of ‘She’s Got Issues’ for ‘The Offspring’.
Her second film was an autobiographical one titled, ‘Almost Famous’ released in 2000. The film was critically acclaimed but did not fare well at the box-office. The same year, she appeared in the music video ‘Idiot Boyfriend’ by Jimmy Fallon.
Over the next two years, she played a wide array of supporting roles in several movies including ‘Manic’, ‘Abandon’ and ‘The Good Girl’. Around the same time, she formed a jazz cabaret act with Samantha Shelton called ‘If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies’.
In 2002, she appeared in an episode of ‘Frasier’ in its 10th Season. The same year, she was seen in ‘The New Guy’ a film on the band, ‘Suburban Funk’.
In 2003, she played the role of the protagonist in ‘All the Real Girls’. She then starred in the box-office hit ‘Elf’, for which she also sang, ‘Baby, It’s Cold outside’.
The next year Deschanel appeared in ‘Eulogy’. She sang for the movie ‘Winter Passing’ where her piano composition ‘Bittersuite’ was used for the soundtrack.
In 2005, she played the role of ‘Trillian’ in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, which is the film adaptation of a science fiction novel.
In 2006, she worked in ‘Failure to Launch’ and did four episodes for the television series ‘Weeds’. The same year, she was chosen to play the role of singer, ‘Janis Joplin’ in her autobiographical film ‘The Gospel According to Janis’. However, the film got scrapped and was never made.
She sang two songs in the album, ‘Nighttiming’, in 2007. Later, the same year, she worked with M. Ward on his debut album recording under the name, ‘She & Him’. Their album titled ‘Volume One’ was released the following year.
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In 2009, she was cast in one of her most successful films yet, ‘(500) Days of Summer’ and contributed yet again, to the soundtrack of the film. She also appeared on-screen for the first time with her sister, for the TV series ‘Bones’.
The next year ‘She & Him’ released their second album, ‘Volume Two’. They also appeared on the album, ‘The Place We Ran From’ by Snow Patrol.
In 2011, Deschanel played ‘Belladona’ in the film ‘Your Highness’. Here she sang ‘The Greatest most Beautiful Love Song in All the Land’ with James Franco. The same year, ‘New Girl’ aired on television, where she essayed the lead character, and also wrote and sang the theme song.
In December, 2011 she recorded a popular version of ‘What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?’’ with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for her ‘Hellogiggles’, YouTube Channel. She also featured on M. Ward’s sixth solo album called ‘A Wasteland Companion’.
In February, 2012 Deschanel hosted an episode on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and planned to produce a comedy, ‘Must be Nice’ along with J.J. Philbin.
In 2009, she was cast as ‘Summer Finn’ for the sleeper hit, ‘(500) Days of Summer’, opposite Joseph Gordon Lewitt. The film went on to collect a whopping $60, 722, 734 at the box office and was also nominated for a series of awards. Critics mentioned the film as one of the best films of the year 2009.
She plays the lead role of Jessica Day or ‘Jess’ in the hit American series, ‘New Girl’, which first aired on television in 2011. It was ranked as one of the ‘most exciting new series’ by the 1st Critics’ Choice Television Awards and the show went on to get nominated for a series of prestigious awards. The pilot episode alone, gathered a total of 10.28 million viewers.