Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and Grammy Award nominee and Critics’ Choice Award winner Zooey Deschanel is an entertainer in every sense of the word, bringing the classical leading lady back to the modern audience with her old-fashioned charm. Lauded as “timeless,” “vintage” and “ethereal,” Deschanel’s starring roles in “(500) Days of Summer,” opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and “Yes Man,” opposite Jim Carrey, cemented her place as a mainstream presence with a handle for nuance.
Movie lovers have long known Deschanel for her breakout performance in Cameron Crowe’s ensemble film, “Almost Famous,” opposite Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and Frances McDormand; and “All the Real Girls,” for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead. Indie film buffs often cite Deschanel’s depth in films such as “The Good Girl,” with Jennifer Aniston, and “Eulogy,” with Debra Winger and Ray Romano. Of course, kids of all ages fell in love with her memorable performance in the instant Christmas classic “Elf,” opposite Will Ferrell. Her side-gig as a musical artist has only added to her reputation. Her most recent album with collaborator M. Ward, “Christmas Party,” was released in 2016.
For her lead role as “Jess” on NEW GIRL, Deschanel was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. In 2012, she won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (tying with Amy Poehler) and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical. Always creatively evolving, Deschanel added “director” to her list of titles, as she made her directorial debut with NEW GIRL’s Season Six premiere episode.
Deschanel made her feature film debut in 1999, in Lawrence Kasdan’s ensemble drama, “Mumford.” In “Failure to Launch,” with Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker, she played the endearing sidekick, “Kit.” She also starred in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” with Sam Rockwell, Mos Def and John Malkovich, and was seen in “Bridge to Terabithia,” based on the Newberry Award-winning children’s novel. She provided the voice of a surfing penguin alongside Shia LaBeouf and Jeff Bridges in the animated hit movie “Surf’s Up,” and starred in the indie ensemble comedy “Our Idiot Brother,” with Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer and Rashida Jones. Deschanel was featured in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” opposite Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck, and “Rock the Kasbah,” alongside Bill Murray and Bruce Willis. In 2016, she co-starred in the blockbuster animated film “Trolls,” in which she voiced a loveable and compassionate “Bergen,” opposite Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick.
Other feature credits include “Live Free or Die,” “Gigantic,” “Flakes,” “The Go-Getter,” “The Good Life,” “Winter Passing,” “The Happening,” “Abandon,” “Big Trouble,” “Your Highness” and “Driftless Area,” as well as the Emmy Award-nominated cable miniseries “Tin Man.”
Deschanel’s work with She & Him has produced six albums: “Volume 1,” “Volume 2,” “A Very She & Him Christmas,” “Volume 3,” “Classics” and “Christmas Party.” The band has sold out tours in the U.S., U.K. and Europe. Additionally, Deschanel earned a Grammy Award nomination for her original song, “So Long,” written for the feature animated film “Winnie the Pooh,” for which she also sang the classic Sherman Brothers theme song. Country music legend Loretta Lynn announced from the stage of Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, during the live music series “Opry Country Classics,” that she has chosen Deschanel to portray her in an upcoming Broadway-bound stage adaptation of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”
Deschanel collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger on a line of dresses, bags and accessories, titled “To Tommy, From Zooey.” The fashion line, sold at Macy’s and Tommy Hilfiger, landed to great success with multiple styles selling out on the first on-sale date. She has been the face of Pantene and Rimmel Cosmetics. She starred in a commercial for iPhone’s Siri application, and she has two campaigns for Cotton to which she also lent original music. Additionally, Deschanel is co-creator and a frequent contributor to the website HelloGiggles.
A Los Angeles native, Deschanel was named for the male character in J. D. Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey.” She spent much of her childhood on-location with her actress mother, Mary Jo, and her father, Caleb, an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer. She credits her father with instilling in her a keen visual sense and great style.