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Zooey Claire Deschanel (born January 17, 1980 in Los Angeles, California) is an American actress and singer.
Zooey Deschanel was born into a family of filmmakers. Her father is Oscar- nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, and her mother is actress Mary Jo Deschanel, née Weir, who appeared in The Patriot (2000) and My Sister's Life (2009), among others. Her older sister Emily is also an actress. Deschanel was named after the male protagonist Zooey Glass from JD Salinger's novel Franny and Zooey from 1961. She attended the Crossroads School of Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica, where she became friends with, among others, Kate Hudson and Jake Gyllenhaal. During the summer vacation, she regularly attended a performing arts camp in Hancock, New York. Before becoming a full-time actress, she studied at Northwestern University for half a year.
Deschanel became engaged to musician Ben Gibbard on December 28, 2008. They were married in September 2009. The two parted at Halloween 2011 by mutual agreement, at the end of the year Deschanel filed for divorce due to "irreconcilable differences". On 12 December 2012, the divorce was finalized by a court in Los Angeles. In mid-January 2015, Deschanel became engaged to her friend, producer Jacob Pechenik and they married in June 2015. They have two children, daughter Elsie Otter and son Charlie Wolf.
Deschanel made her debut on camera in 1998 in an episode of Veronica's Closet In 1999, she had her first movie side role in the comedy Dr. Mumford by Lawrence Kasdan. In the same year she also appeared in the music video She's Got Issues by The Offspring. Her first major role was in the movie Almost Famous (2000) as Anita Miller. In the independent film The Good Girl (2002) with Jennifer Aniston in the lead role, Deschanel played a bored supermarket cashier. At the Mar Del Plata Film Festival she was honored in 2003 as Best Actress in the role of Noel in the drama All the Real Girls (2003). For the same film she was also nominated at the Independent Spirit Awards 2004.
In the fantasy comedy Buddy - The Christmas Elf (2003), she was on the side of Will Ferrell. In 2005, she was seen in the literary adaptation Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as Trillian. In Andrew Dominik's Western Drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) starring Brad Pitt and Mary-Louise Parker, Deschanel played a dancer who embarks on an affair with Robert Ford (Casey Affleck) lets in. In the same year she played a supporting role in the Bridge to Terabithia.
A year later she starred in Jim Carrey's comedy Yes Man. In 2009, she starred alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the female lead in the independent love film (500) Days of Summer. For her portrayal of Summer Finn, a young woman who does not believe in great love or relationships, Deschanel was nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Actress. In the karaoke scene of the film Deschanel sings Sugar Town, originally by Nancy Sinatra. It was not the first time that the actress sang in one of her films; also in Buddy - The Christmas Elf, Once Upon a Mattress and Yes Man, she acted as a singer. Also in 2009 Deschanel was next to her sister Emily in their hit series Bones - The Bone Hunter. There she played the cousin of the main character.
Since 2011 Deschanel plays the title character Jessica "Jess" Day in the Fox - sitcom New Girl, for which she already received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Series Actress - Comedy or Musical. Deschanel wrote and sings the title song Hey Girl of the series.
Together with fellow actress Samantha Shelton, Deschanel forms the cabaret group If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies, which occurs sporadically in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. Deschanel sings among others songs from Buddy - The Christmas Elf .
Together with the musician M. Ward Deschanel forms the indie duo She&Him; she plays ukulele and piano. The debut album was released in March 2008 under the name Volume One. Their second album, Volume Two, was released in March 2010. In October 2011, the Christmas album A Very She&Him Christmas was released. In May 2013, the duo released the album Volume 3. Their album Classics was released on November 23, 2014.
Deschanel runs with producer Sophia Rossi and author Molly McAleer a mainly female audience entertainment website, HelloGiggles.com, to which she also contributes her own songs.
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