Hailing from a Hollywood family, the striking Emily Deschanel - along with her younger sister, Zooey - was destined to enter show business. Although she debuted with a bit part in "It Could Happen to You" (1994), Deschanel's first major role came years later as a psychic in Stephen King's "Rose Red" (ABC, 2002). She landed small parts in "Cold Mountain" (2003), "The Alamo" (2004) and "Spider-Man 2" (2004), as well as leading roles in "Boogeyman" (2005) and "Glory Road" (2006), but broke through as the titular star of television's "Bones" (Fox, 2005- ). As a brilliant forensic anthropologist/author who uses logic and science to solve crimes alongside her partner, the emotional action hero Booth (David Boreanaz), Deschanel earned worldwide fame and a loyal fanbase for the megahit show, which successfully mixed mystery and suspense with comedy and romantic tension. With her ample acting talent, quirky beauty and unique screen presence, Emily Deschanel essayed strong, intelligent women in each project she took on.
Born Oct. 11, 1976 in Los Angeles, Emily Erin Deschanel was the daughter of actress Mary Jo Weir and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. She and her younger sister, actress Zooey Deschanel, grew up traveling around the world for their father's film shoots. A vegan since high school, Deschanel debuted as an animal rights activist who flings paint on Rosie Perez's new fur coat in the Nicolas Cage/Bridget Fonda comedy "It Could Happen to You" (1994). The actress later graduated from Boston University with a degree in theatre before breaking into television with a series of appearances in the early 2000s, including a flashy role as a psychic in Stephen King's horror miniseries "Rose Red" (ABC, 2002). Guest appearances on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ) and "Providence" (NBC, 1999-2002) soon followed.
Deschanel returned to the big screen in a tiny but memorable role in the Oscar-winning Civil War drama, "Cold Mountain" (2003) as Mrs. Morgan, a hospital volunteer who cares for wounded soldier W.P. Inman (Jude Law) by reading aloud letters from his love, Ada (Nicole Kidman). The following year, the rising actress reached a new plateau of fame when she was named one of Interview magazine's "Six Actors to Watch" in their annual "Young Hollywood" issue, for small turns in the historical film "The Alamo" (2004) and the worldwide blockbuster "Spider-Man 2" (2004), as well as a guest turn on "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07). She starred alongside Barry Watson in the moderately successful, big screen horror movie, "Boogeyman" (2005), and as the wife of groundbreaking basketball coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) in the racially-charged basketball drama "Glory Road" (2006), but found her star-making role on television.
Recommended by "Glory Road" producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Deschanel successfully auditioned for a new crime series that mixed elements of comedy, mystery, suspense and romance. Based loosely on the life of the real-life Kathy Reichs, the crime drama "Bones" (Fox, 2005- ) cast Deschanel as its titular star, Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, a brilliant forensic anthropologist and best-selling author who helps the FBI solve cases. Socially clueless but intellectually gifted, Brennan's hyper-logical approach to life added a light comic touch to the crime show and played nicely off of her partner, the hot-tempered and unscientific man-of-action, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz). Featuring top-notch production and a likable and talented supporting cast, the enjoyable show became an enormous hit.
The biggest ingredient to its success was the chemistry between Deschanel and Boreanaz, who played two incredibly talented individuals who were not only an enormously winning romantic pair, but a professional one as well. Reminiscent of the best of the Mulder and Scully era from "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002), the Bones-and-Booth pairing provided such appealing sexual tension that fans not only tuned in every week to analyze every interaction between their favorite almost-couple, but also spent considerable time and energy online discussing their affection for the duo and show. "Bones" proved successful at keeping this tension alive, a challenge which stymied many other series over the years, and it settled into a lengthy and profitable run. As the clear-eyed pillar of scientific strength Bones, Deschanel earned nominations for a Satellite and Teen Choice Award as well as an ongoing producer credit for her role in the show's extraordinary success.
On the big screen, the actress appeared as a doctor in the Cameron Diaz/Abigail Breslin cancer drama "My Sister's Keeper" (2009), based on the novel by Jodi Picoult. The film was a true labor of love for Deschanel since her mother also played a small role and her father served as director of photography on it. That same year, sister Zooey guested on "Bones" as Margaret, a Benjamin Franklin-quoting second cousin of Brennan's. The elder Deschanel voiced a fictionalized Julia Roberts on an episode of "The Cleveland Show" (Fox, 2009-13) and on Sept. 25, 2010, married writer-actor David Hornsby.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made her feature film debut as a paint-throwing fur activist in "It Could Happen to You"
Appeared on episodes of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC) and "Providence" (NBC)
Played a psychic in Stephen King's supernatural drama "Rose Red" (ABC)
Appeared as the sister of a neurotic woman in "Easy"
Cast in a minor role in "Cold Mountain"
Co-starred with Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid in "The Alamo"
Landed breakthrough role as forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan on the Fox series "Bones"
Co-starred with Barry Watson in the thriller "Boogeyman"
Played Josh Lucas's wife in the sports drama "Glory Road"
Cast as a doctor in the drama "My Sister's Keeper," directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel by Jodi Picoult
Co-starred with Kathleen Turner and Jason Ritter in dramedy "The Perfect Family"
Voiced the Captain on the English-language dub of animated adventure "Beyond Beyond"
Appeared in a string of one-off TV roles, including "Drunk History" (2014), "Sleepy Hollow" (2015), and "BoJack Horseman" (2016)