17 January 1980, Los Angeles, California, USA
Zooey Claire Deschanel
5' 6" (1.68 m)
Zooey Deschanel was born in 1980 into a showbiz family. Her father, Caleb Deschanel is an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer (perhaps most notably for The Passion of the Christ (2004)) and her mother, Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir) is an actress who starred in "Twin Peaks" (1990). Driven from an early age to become a successful actress, Zooey got her big break aged 17 playing a model in TV sitcom "Veronica's Closet" (1997). She got her first film role the following year in Mumford (1999), which prompted her to quit university to pursue acting full-time. Mostly thanks to a role in Cameron Crowe's popular biopic, Almost Famous (2000), Zooey's rise to fame has been steadily increasing as the 21st century wears on. Her distinctive acting style found her critical acclaim in 2003 when she was voted Best Actress at the Mar Del Plata Film Festival for her role in David Gordon Green's All the Real Girls (2003). She also gained a Best Female Lead nomination (for All the Real Girls (2003)) at the following year's Independent Spirit Awards, but lost out to Charlize Theron.
Zooey is often compared to golden era Hollywood starlets and is also a talented singer. She has said in interviews that she believes her singing ability was pivotal in gaining the role of Jovie in Elf (2003). She also sang (and acted) in the Disney-produced musical, Once Upon a Mattress (2005) (TV).
IMDb Mini Biography By: Spiraling Shape
Benjamin Gibbard (19 September 2009 - present) (separated)
Often plays odd, uncommon girls
Long brown hair with bangs
Named for the male character in J.D. Salinger's "Franny and Zooey".
Daughter of Caleb Deschanel and Mary Jo Deschanel.
Went to high school with her Almost Famous (2000) co-star Kate Hudson.
Younger sister of actress Emily Deschanel.
Graduated from Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica.
She spent several summers at camp upstate New York at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts. She was also featured in the video for The Offspring's song "She's Got Issues" and the accompanying MTV documentary The Offspring Complete Music Video Collection (2005) (V). She also plays ukulele for the band 'If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies'.
Attended Northwestern University for one year, but dropped out.
Wrote a screenplay titled "Circus Girl" with friend Jackson Nash. "Circus Girl" involves a witch, evil flying red balloons and a giant diamond. Zooey plans to star in the film as the nerdy main character.
Is a big fan of actress Parker Posey.
Interests include jazz singing, philosophy, fashion and photography.
Did her own singing in the movie Elf (2003).
Plays the piano and the baritone ukulele.
Has performed with Jackson Nash's comedy group, Manifest Destinyfest.
Turned down a role in Bully (2001) to star in Big Trouble (2002).
Loves Ella Fitzgerald.
Is part of the cabaret group called 'If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies'.
She pronounces her name "ZOH-ee" (not "zoo-ee").
Her last name is pronounced "day-shuh-NELL", with "day" slightly more accented than the middle syllable.
Is part of indie duo called She & Him with M. Ward. Their debut album is called Volume One.
Ranked #95 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 Women of 2008 list.
Engaged to Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (December 2008).
Allergic to gluten, dairy, and eggs.
Was ranked #73 on Maxim magazine Hot 100 Women of 2010 list.
Sister-in-law of David Hornsby.
Ranked #39 in the 2011 FHM Australia list of "100 Sexiest Women in the World".
I love old music, old movies, screwball comedies, vintage clothes and basically I'm an old-fashioned gal.
I don't want to go to another rollercoaster ride of a movie. If I want that, I'll go to Magic Mountain. I'm really interested in the young directors that are doing different things in cinema. I think the movies people will hold onto are the Rushmore (1998)s and the Being John Malkovich (1999)s. Those are the kind of films I want to do; that's what I'm passionate about.
I'm blessed with a lot of energy and stamina. I can't stand sitting still. I went to a spa once with my mom and I was like, "Get me out of here!'"
I don't really like to go out very much. I'm not scandalous. I'm not, like, in this to be famous. I also find it so embarrassing when you read about people and it's like they were so trashed at Skybar and stumbling around. I don't want to be that person. That's just so embarrassing to have that written about you.
I'm the worst at picking what movies are going to do well. I have no idea. I'm really surprised if a movie I like does well.
For a while I was like, "Oh my God, anyone that would release an album as an actor is the biggest fool ever", but I happened to have sung all my life before I was an actor. Why are musicians allowed to become actors? No one ever gives them flack for that.
I can do the Chipmunk voice and impressions of Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds and Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (1965). I could probably do the whole Von Trapp family.
It's an addiction. I love clothes. I like to go down Melrose and look in all the windows and I go to different flea markets. I have lots of costumes. You never know when you're going to have to dress up like a milkmaid from the 1600s.
I was labeled a 'theatre type' in high school, which made it hard to fit in and feel part of things.
People say: "Oh yeah, jobs for the boys". I wish. You've got to fight even harder with a family like mine.
You have to keep reminding yourself it's not about money, because there is a lot of money to be made in this business if you're willing to do whatever. But that's not what I'm thinking about. I continue only to take movies because I love the script and because I really want to do it.
I don't think I'm very much like anyone else, really. I'm sure there are aspects of other actors that I share, but I don't see anybody else and go, "Damn, they stole my thing". I'm me, and I like that there are people who have an appreciation for that.
I don't want to be a babe. I don't want vanity to ever get in the way, because I think to maintain that, you have to be aware of yourself all the time, and that gets in the way of acting. My job's not to be the beautiful person. My job is to be the best actor I can be.
I always choose roles that are, you know, hopefully different from the last role. I don't wanna do the same thing over and over again because that's, well, first of all that's no fun.
It's a lot harder to do an ensemble because your energy is going in so many different places, and you have to cover everybody. You have to sort of split your attention.
[interview in "In Style" magazine, 9/06] The first album I ever got was "Like a Virgin". It was during the Iran Contra conflict-I thought she was saying, "Like a Persian".
Always the aim for me is making people feel like they are not alone. That's just the greatest feeling.
I'm into sincerity in music and sincerity in art. If it doesn't feel true, I don't want to do it. Things that are too dramatic scare me. I think that's why I don't always fit into the world of performing arts.
I'm always trying to do stuff I haven't done before or challenge myself so I'm not resting on my laurels all of the time because if I just found my little niche and never left it, I'd be pretty boring, I think.
I started out doing theater, and I did a lot of school plays, theater summer camp, and all that. And then I did a play with a theater company when I was seventeen, and then I got representation, and then I just started audition for stuff. And then I got some things, and I got more things, and people started giving me jobs, and, you know... it's good.
[on playing the sexually-charged Natalie in 'Our Idiot Brother'] I like characters who are complex, so I follow those roles.I love independent cinema. I feel very close to that world because it's about art. And I say no to a lot of work because it looks boring. I'd rather work really hard on a great movie that few people see than a crap movie everyone sees.
The fact that people are associating being girlie with weakness--that needs to be examined...Are we bitches because we have our own opinions? If that makes me a bitch, or that makes women bitches, then maybe we're all bitches.
Where Are They Now
(November 2009) Filming Your Highness (2011) with James Franco and Natalie Portman.