Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel was an American actress and singer who was best known for playing charmingly quirky characters in various films and TV shows, most notably "Elf" (2003), "Yes Man" (2008), "500 Days of Summer" (2009), and "New Girl" (Fox, 2011-18). Deschanel was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up in a show business family. Her father was the esteemed Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, while her mother was an actress who was best known for playing Eileen Hayward on David Lynch's eerie mystery series "Twin Peaks" (ABC/Showtime, 1990-91, 2017). Given her close proximity to the film industry, Deschanel counted the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson, both of whom also had parents in the film industry, as amongst her wide circle of friends growing up. She and her sister Emily, who would later go on to become a well-known actress in her own right, also had to travel a lot growing up, due to the nature of their father's work as a cinematographer, which Zooey found to be difficult. Still, having been immersed in the exciting world of moviemaking since childhood, it was only natural that Deschanel, whose first name was inspired by one of the title characters in J.D. Salinger's novella Franny & Zooey, would want to become an actress. She nabbed her first film role in her late teens in the 1999 Lawrence Kasdan-directed comedy-drama "Mumford" (1999), and from there went on to nab supporting roles in "Almost Famous" (2000), "The Good Girl" (2002), and "The New Guy" (2002). Then in 2003 Deschanel wowed critics with her first leading performance in the David Gordon Green-directed drama "All the Real Girls" (2003). Her role in the independently-produced "All the Real Girls" proved to be a boon to Deschanel's fledgling acting career, with more substantial roles to follow in the years ahead. 2003 was also the year Deschanel starred opposite Will Ferrell in the Christmas comedy "Elf," which was a hit with both audiences and critics. Throughout the remainders of the 2000s, Deschanel continued racking up a number of acclaimed film roles in movies like "The Good Life" (2006), "Yes Man," and "Gigantic" (2008). Then in 2009 she landed her breakout role as the title character and love interest of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character in the romantic comedy-drama "500 Days of Summer." The film received widespread praise from critics, with Deschanel in particular being singled out for her riveting performance as an emotionally distant girlfriend who's cynical about the existence of true love. After the success of "500 Days of Summer," Deschanel gravitated towards network television with a starring role on the sitcom "New Girl." In the show, Deschanel played an offbeat teacher who shares an apartment with three men. The series ran for 146 episodes and 7 seasons on Fox, earning Deschanel a Primetime Emmy nomination and 3 Golden Globe nominations in the process. As the series ended its run, Deschanel co-starred in the animated musical comedy "Trolls" (2017). Throughout her acting career, Deschanel also moonlighted as a singer. She teamed up with the musician M. Ward in 2006 and together they formed the music duo She & Him. She & Him released 6 studio albums, including 2016's Christmas Party. Furthermore, in addition to her acting Deschanel also founded the female-centered lifestyle website HelloGiggles.com in 2011. The website gained a devoted following and in 2015 Deschanel sold the site to the Time, Inc. corporation.