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Emily Deschanel

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Emily Deschanel
Deschanel at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con
Emily Erin Deschanel

(1976-10-11) October 11, 1976 (age 47)
EducationBoston University (BFA)
Years active1994–present
(m. 2010)
RelativesZooey Deschanel (sister)

Emily Erin Deschanel (/ˌdʃəˈnɛl/; born October 11, 1976)[1] is an American actress. She played Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan in the Fox crime procedural series Bones (2005–2017).

Early life and education[edit]

Deschanel was born in Los Angeles, California,[2] to cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel and actress Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir). Her younger sister is actress and singer-songwriter Zooey Deschanel.[3] Her paternal grandfather was French, from Oullins, Rhône; her roots also include Swiss, Dutch, English, Irish, and other French ancestry.[4][5]

Deschanel attended Harvard-Westlake School and Crossroads School in Los Angeles.[6]


Deschanel at 23rd Genesis Awards, March 2009

In 1994, Deschanel made her feature film debut in the romantic comedy-drama It Could Happen to You, on which her father worked as chief cinematographer. Her next notable role was as Pam Asbury in Stephen King's horror miniseries Rose Red in 2002. Then she appeared in Cold Mountain, The Alamo, and Glory Road and was named one of "six actresses to watch" by Interview Magazine in 2004.

In 2005, Deschanel was cast as Dr. Temperance Brennan on the Fox crime procedural comedy-drama Bones, based on the novels and the career of forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs, created by Hart Hanson. The series ran for 12 seasons from September 13, 2005, to March 28, 2017. For her performance, she received a 2006 Satellite Award nomination and a 2007 Teen Choice Award nomination. Deschanel and co-star David Boreanaz served as co-producers at the start of the show's third season, before becoming producers in the middle of the show's fourth season. While Bones was still in production, Deschanel also played the Brennan character on a 2015 episode of Sleepy Hollow and a 2016 episode of BoJack Horseman.

Deschanel, with Alyson Hannigan, Jaime King, Minka Kelly, and Katharine McPhee made a video slumber party featured on FunnyorDie.com to promote regular breast cancer screenings for the organization Stand Up 2 Cancer.[7] In recent years, her passion for animal welfare has led her to providing the narration for My Child Is a Monkey and serving as an associate producer on the documentary film How I Became an Elephant.[8] Deschanel ranked number 72 in The 2012 Hot 100 on AfterEllen.[9]

Deschanel starred in the 2022 Netflix miniseries Devil in Ohio.[10]


Deschanel is a vegan and a supporter of animal rights causes. She has said she went vegan after watching the film Diet for a New America.[11] She can be seen in an Access Hollywood video at the book launch event of Karen Dawn's Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, discussing how vegetarian and vegan diets help the environment, and a video on the homepage of the book's website talking about the importance of animal rights.[12] She collaborated with PETA on a video encouraging mothers to raise their children as vegans.[13] In September 2014, she joined the board of directors at Farm Sanctuary.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Deschanel was raised Roman Catholic but is no longer practicing and has expressed agnostic views, saying "I am more of a spiritual person, if anything, and I am of the belief that we don't know, and I'm not going to pretend that I do."[16]

On September 25, 2010, Deschanel married It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor and writer David Hornsby in a small private ceremony in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.[17] On September 21, 2011, Deschanel gave birth to their first son.[18][19] On June 8, 2015, she gave birth to their second son.[20][21]

In 2015, Deschanel filed suit against Fox alongside Boreanaz, Reichs and Bones executive producer Barry Josephson, claiming they were cheated out of their share of series profits.[22] In February 2019, an arbitrator awarded them $179 million: $128 million in punitive damages, $32 million in compensatory damages, $10 million in prejudgment interest and more than $9 million in fees and costs. In May 2019, the Los Angeles Superior Court voided the punitive damages, with the plaintiffs' attorneys saying they would appeal.[23] In September 2019, the parties came to an undisclosed settlement.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 It Could Happen to You Animal rights activist
2000 It's a Shame About Ray Maggie Short film
2003 Easy Laura Harris
Cold Mountain Mrs. Morgan
2004 The Alamo Rosanna Travis
Spider-Man 2 Receptionist Cameo
Old Tricks Woman Short film
2005 Boogeyman Kate Houghton
Mute Claire Short film
That Night Annie Short film
2006 Glory Road Mary Haskins
2007 The Diagnosis Maggie Short film
2009 My Sister's Keeper Dr. Farquad
2011 The Perfect Family Shannon Cleary[25]
2015 Unity Narrator Documentary
2023 Big Boys Nicole Feature


Year Title Role Notes
2001 The Heart Department Maude Allyn Television movie
2002 Rose Red Pam Asbury 3 episodes; Miniseries
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Cassie Germaine Episode: "Surveillance"
Providence Annie Franks 2 episodes
2003 The Dan Show Sam Television movie
2004 Crossing Jordan Michelle Episode: "All the News Fit to Print"
2005–2017 Bones Temperance Brennan Main role; also producer
2009 Tit for Tat Emily Episode: "The Booby Scare"
2010–2011 The Cleveland Show Julia Roberts (voice) Episode: "Cleveland Live!"
Herself (voice) Episode: "Hot Cocoa Bang Bang"
2012 American Dad! Temperance Brennan (voice) Episode: "Less Money, Mo' Problems"
2014; 2019 Drunk History Babe Didrikson Zaharias / Marina Raskova 2 episodes
2015 Sleepy Hollow Temperance Brennan Episode: "Dead Men Tell No Tales"
2016 BoJack Horseman Herself (voice) Episode: "Love And/Or Marriage"
2018 The Simpsons Herself (voice) Episode: "Bart's Not Dead"
2019 Animal Kingdom Angela Recurring role (Season 4)[26]
2019 Superstore Herself (voice) Episode: "Employee App"
2021 The Rookie Sarah Nolan Episode: "Brave Heart"
2022 Devil in Ohio Dr. Suzanne Mathis 8 episodes; Miniseries

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2006 Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Bones Nominated
2007 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Drama Nominated
2011 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Crime Fighter Nominated
2012 Favorite TV Drama Actress Nominated
2013 Favorite Dramatic TV Actress Nominated
2015 Favorite TV Duo: David Boreanaz & Emily Deschanel Nominated
Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress Nominated
2016 Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress Nominated


  1. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly. No. 1176/1177. October 14–21, 2011. p. 34.
  2. ^ "Emily Deschanel". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  3. ^ Miller, Sarah (April 2007). "Interview with Emily Deschanel". Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  4. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Interesting Ancestors of Emily & Zooey Deschanel". Genealogy.about.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  5. ^ Olsen, Mark (February 16, 2003). "A scene stealer steps off the sidelines". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  6. ^ "Los Angeles natives". thedailytruffle.com. Archived from the original on May 3, 2019. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  7. ^ Stanhope, Kate (October 1, 2009). "Deschanel, Hannigan and Others Cop a Feel for a Cause". TVGuide.com. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  8. ^ "How I Became an Elephant: Film Crew". Rattle the Cage Productions. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  9. ^ "Emily Deschanel". AfterEllen.com. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012.
  10. ^ White, Peter (September 15, 2021). "Emily Deschanel Leads Cast Of 'Devil In Ohio' Series Adaptation From Daria Polatin At Netflix". Deadline Hollywood.
  11. ^ Miller, Sarah (March 6, 2007). "Interview with Emily Deschanel". Women's Health. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  12. ^ "Interview with Access Hollywood".
  13. ^ "Emily Deschanel promotes vegan diet," Winnipeg Free Press, 9 May 2013.
  14. ^ "In the News". Farm Sanctuary. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  15. ^ MacVean, Mary (September 30, 2014). "L.A.'s Crossroads restaurant hosts Farm Sanctuary event". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  16. ^ DeSalvo, Robert (May 4, 2012). "Q&A: Emily Deschanel on Playing a 'Perfect' Catholic Lesbian". nextmovie.com. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  17. ^ Zuckerman, Suzanne (September 25, 2010). "Actress Emily Deschanel Weds". Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  18. ^ Dyball, Rennie; Raferty, Liz (September 21, 2011). "Emily Deschanel Has a Baby Boy". People. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  19. ^ Paskin, Willa (November 3, 2011). "Bones Creator Hart Hanson on the Show's New Season, Booth and Brennan's Future Make-Outs". nymag. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  20. ^ "Emily Deschanel Gives Birth, Welcomes Second Son With Husband". usmagazine.com. June 8, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  21. ^ "A Heart to Heart with Bones Star Emily Deschanel". Organic Spa Magazine. September 24, 2015. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015.
  22. ^ "Fox "Cheated" 'Bones' Stars Out Of More Than $100M, New Profit-Participation Suit Claims/".
  23. ^ "'Bones': Fox Lawsuit Overturned, Reversing Original $128 Million Decision". TV. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  24. ^ "'Bones' Profit Battle Ends As Fox & Disney Settle With Stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz & EPs". Deadline. September 11, 2019.
  25. ^ "Emily Deschanel to Star in Perfect Family". PasteMagazine.com. May 7, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2019. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  26. ^ Iannucci, Rebecca (February 7, 2019). "Bones' Emily Deschanel Tapped for Major Animal Kingdom Season 4 Arc". TVLine. Archived from the original on February 9, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.

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