Zooey Deschanel was born on the 17th of January, 1980 in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel and actress Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir). She is of French and Irish descent. She 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; she 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." She attended Crossroads, a private preparatory school in Santa Monica, California, where she befriended future co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Kate Hudson. She 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. Acting 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 (non-singing) 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. Deschanel played supporting roles in a series of films that included 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. Deschanel turned down several supporting roles and played her first lead role in All the Real Girls (2003). Deschanel's 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. In 2004, Deschanel starred in Eulogy, and in 2005 as Trillian in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams' science fiction novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Deschanel then played Sarah Jessica Parker's neurotic roommate in Failure to Launch (2006), and appeared on four episodes of the Showtime television series Weeds from 2006 to 2007, playing Andy Botwin's quirky ex-girlfriend, Kat. In September 2006, Variety announced that Deschanel would play 1960s singer Janis Joplin in the film The Gospel According to Janis, to be co-written and directed by Penelope Spheeris. Deschanel planned to sing all of Joplin's songs, and took four months of singing lessons "to approximate Joplin's gritty vocals." The film, scheduled to begin shooting on November 13, 2006, was postponed indefinitely. In 2007, Deschanel appeared in two children's films, Bridge to Terabithia, in which she played Jesse's quirky music teacher and the animated film Surf's Up, in which she voiced a penguin named Lani Aliikai. She played DG, the lead in the Sci Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man, a re-imagined science fiction version of L. Frank Baum's children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Tin Man aired on Sci Fi in December 2007. Deschanel also narrated the children's book Players in Pigtails. On April 27, 2008, she performed on The Simpsons, playing the role of Mary, Cletus's daughter, and in June that year, she starred opposite Mark Wahlberg in M. Night Shyamalan's poorly received environmental thriller The Happening. In 2008, Deschanel starred in Gigantic, and later that year in the comedy film Yes Man, opposite Jim Carrey. Deschanel was next seen as the title character in the 2009 award winning romantic-drama-comedy (500) Days of Summer, opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt (for a second time after Manic). The film, about the development and demise of a relationship, received widespread praise and was directed by long-time commercial and music video director Marc Webb. The film received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical), but was ultimately defeated by The Hangover. Deschanel guest starred in a Christmas 2009 episode of Bones as Brennan's never-before-seen cousin In the first-ever on-screen pairing of the Deschanel sisters, Zooey portrayed Margaret Whitesell, a distant relative of Emily's Dr. Temperance Brennan. Brennan's father, Max Keenan (guest star Ryan O'Neal), invites Margaret to spend Christmas with him and his daughter. In 2010, Deschanel secured the role of Belladonna in the upcoming fantasy comedy film Your Highness alongside Natalie Portman and James Franco. Deschanel will star in the pilot for the HBO series I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, in which she plays the role of Pamela Des Barres, who wrote a memoir based on her own experience as a former groupie. Deschanel will play Ada Lovelace in the film Enchantress of Numbers directed by Bruce Beresford. Filming will start in Fall 2010.Description above from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.