Profile Zooey Claire Deschanel is an American actress, musician, model, and singer-songwriter. In 1999, Deschanel made her film debut in Mumford, followed by her breakout role as young protagonist William Miller's troubled older sister Anita in Cameron Crowe's 2000 semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous. Deschanel soon became known for her deadpan supporting roles in films such as Elf (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) and Failure to Launch (2006). She then began playing lead roles in films, including Yes Man (2008) and (500) Days of Summer (2009)
For a few years starting in 2001, Deschanel performed in the jazz cabaret act If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies with fellow actress Samantha Shelton. Zooey Claire Deschanel plays keyboards, percussion, banjo and ukulele, and has sung in several of her films. Deschanel teamed up with M. Ward to release their debut album Volume One (recorded with M. Ward under the moniker She & Him) which was released on March 18, 2008. The follow-up album Volume Two was released in the U.S. on March 23, 2010. She is married to Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard
Zooey Deschanel, born in Los Angeles, California, is the daughter of cinematographer director Caleb Deschanel and actress Mary Jo Deschanel. She is of French and Irish descent, and is the great granddaughter of Paul Deschanel, the 11th President of France. Zooey Claire Deschanel was named after Zooey Glass, the male protagonist of J. D. Salinger's 1961 novella Franny and Zooey. Her older sister, Emily Deschanel, is also an actress and stars in the TV series Bones.
Deschanel lived in lower Los Angeles, but spent much of her childhood traveling because her father shot films on location; Zooey Claire Deschanel later said that she "hated all the traveling... I'm really happy now that I had the experience, but at the time I was just so miserable to have to leave my friends in Los Angeles and go to places where they didn't have any food I liked or things I was used to." Zooey Claire Deschanel grew up in Canada, Yugoslavia, England and South Africa. She attended Crossroads, a private preparatory school in Santa Monica, California, where she befriended future co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson. Zooey Claire Deschanel sang throughout high school, planning to pursue a career in musical theatre. She attended Northwestern University for seven months before dropping out to work as an actress.
Deschanel appeared in a guest role on the television series Veronica's Closet before making her film debut in Lawrence Kasdan's 1999 comedy Mumford, and later in the year she appeared in the music video for The Offspring's single "She's Got Issues". In her second film, director Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical Almost Famous (2000), Deschanel played Anita Miller, the protagonist's rebellious older sister. The film received critical praise, but was not a box office success. Zooey Deschanel also appeared in Jimmy Fallon's "Idiot Boyfriend" music video as his lead girl.
Deschanel played supporting roles in a series of films that include Manic (2001), with Don Cheadle and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Big Trouble (2002), with Tim Allen and Rene Russo, Abandon (2002) alongside Katie Holmes, Benjamin Bratt and Melanie Lynskey, and The Good Girl (2002) alongside Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhaal. In late 2002, The New York Times reported that Deschanel was "one of Hollywood's most sought-after young stars, and the Los Angeles Times wrote in early 2003 that Deschanel had become a recognizable type, due to "her deadpan, sardonic and scene-stealing performances" as the protagonist's best friend. Deschanel objected to her typecasting, arguing, "A lot of these roles are just a formula idea of somebody's best friend, and it's like, I don't even have that many friends. In high school, I stayed home all the time, so I don't know how I'm everybody's best friend now.
Deschanel appeared in Frasier, starring as Roz's out-of-control cousin, Jen, in the Season 10 episode 'Kissing Cousin' in 2002. That year she also appeared in the film The New Guy as Nora, the guitar player in the lead character's band, Suburban Funk.
After turning down several supporting roles, Deschanel played her first lead role in All the Real Girls (2003). Her performance as Noel, a sexually curious 18-year-old virgin who has a life-changing romance with an aimless 22-year-old, received critical praise, and she received an Independent Spirit nomination for Best Actress. Later in 2003, Deschanel played a deadpan department store worker opposite Will Ferrell in the comedy Elf, which became a box office hit.