Zooey Deschanel life and biography

Zooey Deschanel picture, image, poster

Zooey Deschanel biography

Date of birth : 1980-01-17
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Los Angeles, Unites States
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-07-15
Credited as : Actress, singer-songwriter, Winnie the Pooh

2 votes so far

Zooey Deschanel is an American actress, musician, and singer-songwriter.

Zooey Claire Deschanel was born on Jan. 17, 1980 in Los Angeles, CA. She and her older actress sister, Emily, were raised by their father, Caleb, an Oscar-winning cinematographer and their mother, actress Mary Jo. Deschanel, whose first name was taken from the male Zooey Glass character of J.D. Salinger's story Franny and Zooey, often spent her young years hanging out on film set locations - despite the fact that deep down, Deschanel wished for a typical, sedentary family home life. Despite this fact, by the time she was old enough to know what acting was, she wanted to be an actress, but her parents rejected the idea, telling her she would have to wait until she had a driver's license to get her around town.

Deschanel attended the elite prep school Crossroads in Santa Monica, CA alongside future co-stars Kate Hudson and Jake Gyllenhaal, where she discovered an interest in singing and musical theater; at one point, considering a career in jazz singing on Broadway. At 16, she appeared as Little Red Riding Hood in the North Hollywood-based Interact Theatre Company's production of "Into the Woods." Driver's license firmly in hand, Deschanel started auditioning for onscreen parts, landing on an episode of NBC's "Veronica's Closet" (1997-2000) just days before her 18th birthday.

Frustrated by the industry politics of Hollywood, Deschanel left for Chicago to attend Northwestern University in the fall of 1998, but seven months into her first year, realized she wanted to be auditioning again and headed back to Los Angeles. Her first break came as a self-conscious teen on the psychiatrist's couch of Lawrence Kasdan's low-key comedy "Mumford" (1999). The fall release gave a wide audience a brief introduction to the actress, as did her appearance in the video for "She's Got Issues" - a song from the popular punk quartet, The Offspring. The following year, she offered up a more formal introduction, knocking out audiences as the wise, world-ready flight attendant and older sister of Cameron Crowe's rock and roll epic "Almost Famous" (2000) - a film which also served as classmate Kate Hudson's breakout project.

Following "Almost Famous," Deschanel's options broadened, enabling her to develop what would become an ongoing taste for independent films. Appearing in "Manic" (2001), she played the sullen, troubled resident of a mental institution and a fellow patient's object of affection. She just as easily switched gears to become the tart-mouthed small-town counter girl of a different indie, "The Good Girl" (2002), starring Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal. Turning her attentions to a musical diversion that arose from an introduction at filmmaker Sofia Coppola's 2001 Jazz party, she and actress Samantha Shelton bonded over a common interest in old Jazz standards and decided to put together an act. With period outfits and a small backing band, the actresses would trek across Los Angeles in between acting gigs, performing in clubs under the moniker of If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies. When not onscreen, Deschanel would also spend her off time hanging with an equally-musical boyfriend, Coppola's cousin, actor Jason Schwartzman, whom she dated until 2005.

Returning to bigger projects, Deschanel took on a role as Rene Russo's daughter in the ensemble comedy, "Big Trouble" (2002), as well as had a smaller part as DJ Qualls' bandmate in "The New Guy" (2002) before trying her hand at a thriller with "Abandon" (2002) - in which she played the best friend of a college classmate tormented by her boyfriend's mysterious disappearance. On a roll, the projects kept her working, but Deschanel really got a chance to shine under the promising young director David Gordon Green. With his 2003 effort, "All the Real Girls," she was his embodiment of first love, playing Noel, a small town 18-year-old on the cusp of a sexual awakening in North Carolina. Deschanel and co-star Paul Schneider won positive comments playing out the intimate, young romance between a virgin and the smitten town stud. By the summer, her status as one of Hollywood's freshest faces had been further verified with her role as the good-hearted department store elf, tentatively romancing Will Ferrell's lumbering real elf in "Elf" (2003). Deschanel even got to add her voice to the soundtrack, singing alongside Leon redbone in a rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

By 2004, her lead role in Green's film had netted her an Independent Spirit Award nomination, but with "Elf," Deschanel was now a sought out actress, picked to star in Disney's long-in-development screen adaptation of Douglas Adams' cult classic novel, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." As the alien love interest Trillian, Deschanel had serious fans of the sci-fi satire debating the merits of her casting well before the mid-2004 shoot had even begun. After wrapping production late in the year, she relaxed and watched the release of her indie ensemble comedy "Eulogy" (2004), for which her perplexed, grieving granddaughter provided the memorial.

As "Hitchhiker's Guide" hit theaters in the summer of 2005 to mixed reviews, Deschanel continued to work steadily in different-sized projects. The somewhat delayed release of "Winter Passing" (2005) re-teamed her with Ferrell in a more somber outing of family estrangement, but the actress got to put her singing to serious use on television as Lady Larken of ABC's musical movie, "Once Upon a Mattress" (2005) - a raucous retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea." Deschanel's quirky sensibilities even managed to steal the show from Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey in the by-the-books rom-com, "Failure to Launch" (2006), a high concept comedy which showcased Deschanel's character Kit - an off-kilter, mockingbird-hating roommate.

The quirky actress and singer lends her voice to the animated film "Winnie the Pooh" released on July 15th, 2011.

Taking advantage of an increasing number of diverse onscreen opportunities, Deschanel found another interesting place to go on television. For Showtime's "Weeds" (2005- ), a series about a suburban mother dealing marijuana to make ends meet, Deschanel recurred as the wild girl Kat, coming in and out of her ex-boyfriend's life. By 2007, she had no less than half a dozen projects that stretched into independent and studio territory. Deschanel opted to mix things up as a former famous child actor bonding with a social misfit under their small-town malaise in "The Good Life," as well as the owner of a stolen car connecting with its thief in the small comedy, "The Go-Getter."

Further into 2007, Deschanel shook the dust off the "Hitchhiker's Guide" reception for another go at fantasy filmmaking. To an ever expanding group of converts, her casting as the winsome music teacher and crush of a young farmboy in Disney's adaptation of the children's novel "Bridge to Terabithia" seemed ideal. She also expanded her resume to include voice-over work, taking her distinct voice to the animation production of "Surf's Up." As Lani Aliikai, the sexy, exuberant penguin lifeguard of Pen Gu Island, the film was widely praised for its impressive story and CGI animation. Not wasting a moment's time, Deschanel reconnected with past co-star Paul Schneider as they both went to the gritty old west to help tell the big screen story of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (2007) - a movie starring Brad Pitt.

If any expectations about Deschanel's career remained, they were only of her abilities and the loftier challenges just ahead. On the heels of "Terabithia," Deschanel moved to the Sci-Fi channel, embodying a Dorothy-esque figure named DG in "Tin Man" (2007), a very twisted take on "The Wizard of Oz." Tweaking the beloved Judy Garland model would seem like a cakewalk compared to portraying the life of a real icon, but Deschanel's trademark lower timbre would come in handy as the tragic singer/songwriter Janis Joplin. Cast in the biopic, Deschanel spent many months in vocal training, looking to perfect Joplin's necessary trademark rasp. The subsequent "Gospel According to Janis" (2008) - one of several competing Joplin films - promised to usher the singer-actress into a new level of recognition. Before that project went into production, she starred in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" (2008), a dark apocalyptic thriller about a family that flees a natural disaster threatening humanity's very existence.

Read more

Please read our privacy policy. Page generated in 0.107s