Zooey Deschanel is a native of Los Angeles and the daughter of Caleb Deschanel, an Academy-nominated cinematographer and director. She is named after the character Zooey Glass, from author J. D. Salinger’s 1961 novella Franny and Zooey. Zooey has one older sister Emily Deschanel, also an actress. Emily Deschanel stars in the TV series Bones.
Though Zooey Deschanel lived in Los Angeles growing up, she spent much of her childhood traveling with her family because her father shot films on location. She attended Crossroads, a private preparatory school, where she was friends with future co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson.
In 1999 Zooey Deschanel made her movie debut in the comedy Mumford; later that same year she also appeared in a music video for the punk-pop band The Offspring. Her second movie was the critically acclaimed Almost Famous. In 2001 Deschanel formed the jazz cabaret If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies with fellow actress Samantha Shelton. The pair performed around Los Angeles.
Throughout 2001 and 2002 Deschanel appeared in numerous supporting roles in a series of movies and The New York Times dubbed her “one of Hollywood’s most sought-after young stars,” but it wasn’t until 2003 that Deschanel landed her first starring role in All the Real Girls. Her performance received critical praise and she was nominated for an Independent Spirit award for Best Actress. It was however, her supporting role as a deadpan department store worker opposite Will Ferrell in the holiday comedy Elf, which became a box office hit that launched Zooey Deschanel into the mainstream.
Notably in Elf, Zooey sang a duet with Will Ferrell on a rendition of the holiday classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” This was the second time Zooey Deschanel sang onscreen. Subsequently, she sang in several short films, TV musicals and the Brad Pitt movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
During 2004-2007 Deschanel starred in various roles in movies and the Showtime television show Weeds. In 2007, Deschanel and singer-songwriter M. Ward, recorded an album under the moniker She & Him, called Volume One that was released in 2008.
In December 2008, Deschanel starred in The Happening and the comedy Yes Man, opposite Jim Carrey. In the movie Zooey Deschanel sings several songs and including alongside San Franciscan all-girl electro soul-punk group Von Iva in a band called Munchausen by Proxy. During this time Zooey appeared on the magazine covers of Nylon magazine and Lucky magazine.
Also in 2008, Zooey Deschanel and her boyfriend singer Ben Gibbard of the band Death Cab for Cutie announced their engagement. Currently, according to the movie website, IMDB, Zooey Deschanel has one movie called “Your Highness” co-starring Natalie Portman and James Franco, in the works.
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