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Zooey Deschanel was born on 17th January 1980 in Los Angeles, CA. She and her older actress sister, Emily, were raised by their father, Caleb, an Oscar-winning cinematographer and their mother, actress Mary Jo. Deschanel, whose first name was taken from the male Zooey Glass character of J.D.

Salinger's story Franny and Zooey, often spent her young years hanging out on film set locations - despite the fact that deep down, Deschanel wished for a typical, sedentary family home life. Despite this fact, by the time she was old enough to know what acting was, she wanted to be an actress, but her parents rejected the idea, telling her she would have to wait until she had a driver's license to get her around town.

Deschanel attended the elite prep school Crossroads in Santa Monica, CA alongside future co-stars Kate Hudson and Jake Gyllenhaal, where she discovered an interest in singing and musical theater; at one point, considering a career in jazz singing on Broadway. At 16, she appeared as Little Red Riding Hood in the North Hollywood-based Interact Theatre Company's production of "Into the Woods.

The subsequent "Gospel According to Janis" (2008) - one of several competing Joplin films - promised to usher the singer-actress into a new level of recognition. Before that project went into production, she starred in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" (2008), a dark apocalyptic thriller about a family that flees a natural disaster threatening humanity's very existence.