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Make No ‘Bones’ About It — Emily Deschanel Is a Shining Star

Do you recognize her famous family?


Before Emily Deschanel hit the big time, she and her younger sister and fellow actress, Zooey, performed plays that they created together for their parents — complete with musical scores, of course.

That being said, it comes as no surprise that Emily went on to bigger acting roles, most notably portraying Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan in the Fox crime procedural series Bones.

MUST-READ: ‘Bones’ Cast Then and Now: See Where The Stars of This Crime Series Are Today

The early life of Emily Deschanel

Emily Deschanel, 2003
Emily Deschanel, 2003Jeff Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

Emily Erin Deschanel was born in Los Angeles to parents already ensconced in show biz – dad was cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel and mom actress Mary Jo Deschanel. Emily grew up in Italy, Canada, France, Yugoslavia, England and South Africa, and her father used to film she and Zooey all the time.

While Zooey proved to be a ham in front of the camera, Emily hated it and had no ambitions of becoming an actor.

Zooey Deschanel, Mary Jo  Deschanel, Caleb Deschanel and Emily  Deschanel, 2005
Zooey Deschanel, Mary Jo Deschanel, Caleb Deschanel and Emily Deschanel, 2005J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

I think Zooey knew she wanted to be an actress from when she was very young. Whereas I didn’t think I wanted to do that,” she said in a 2009 interview with My Take on TV.

She went on to explain her love for architecture and ambitions of becoming an architect, until she started doing plays in high school, which prompted her to consider it as a profession.

Zooey and Emily watched their parents work hard for their successes in the industry, which left a lasting impression on the Deschanel sisters. Luckily for them both, success on the screen came for each sister.

Caleb Deschanel, Emily Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel, 2010
Caleb Deschanel, Emily Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel, 2010Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Life before Bones

Some might say nepotism was at play, but there was definitely a ton of talent present when Emily made her feature film debut in the 1994 rom-com, It Could Happen To You, in which her father worked as cinematographer.

She followed that up with 2000’s It’s a Shame About Ray, and her next notable role was as Pam Asbury in Stephen King’s miniseries Rose Red in 2002. Cold Mountain (2003) was another big one for Emily, followed by The Alamo (2003), which truly put her on the Hollywood map.

After this role, she switched gears, appearing in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 in a cameo and a few other short films until Glory Road (2006), portraying Mary Haskins.

Emily Deschanel, 2004
Emily Deschanel, 2004J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

Then came the pivotal casting of Emily as Dr. Temperance Brennan on Bones in 2005. The crime procedural comedy-drama was based on the novels and the career of forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs.

The series was an immediate hit and ran for 12 seasons until 2017. Beginning in the third season, Deschanel and co-star David Boreanaz served as co-producers before becoming full- fledged producers in the fourth season. The duo have remained friends since Bones went off the air.

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David Boreanaz with his 'Bones' co-star, who plays Temperance Brennan, 2005
Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, 2005Ray Mickshaw/WireImage/Getty Images

Emily also became very close friends with Bones co-star Michaela Conlin, who played Angela Montenegro on the show.

During the run of the series, Emily had her two pregnancies written into the show’s character. Her first son was born in 2011 while she gave birth to her second son in 2015.

Due to the popularity of Brennan’s character, Deschanel played the same role on an episode of Sleepy Hollow and also in 2016 on BoJack Horseman.

MUST-READ: Where to Stream ‘Bones’ and 9 More Quirky Crime Dramas

Michaela Conlin and her 'Bones' co-star, 2010
Michaela Conlin and Emily Deschanel, 2010Kevin Winter/Getty Images

After 12 years on Fox, why did the audience connect so strongly with a series about identifying bones of dead people?

Bones has so much to offer people who are looking for different things,” she said in a 2022 interview with Parade. “It had gross, dead bodies, it solved crimes with science and the good guys usually got the bad buys. People find that satisfying. And I think people love the characters.”

Emily returned to TV as hospital psychiatrist Suzanne Mathis in Netflix’s 2022 eight-episode thriller, Devil In Ohio, based on a true story.

MUST-READ: 13 of the Best Mystery Series on Netflix, Ranked — Perfect For Slashing Stress!

Emily Deschanel, 2014
Emily Deschanel, 2014Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

An actress and activist

Along with fellow actors Alyson Hannigan, Jaime King, Minka Kelly and Katharine McPhee, the group made a video slumber party that was featured on in order to promote regular breast cancer screenings.

She also is passionate about animal welfare, which has led to her narration of My Child Is a Monkey. A long time vegan, she is an avid supporter for animal rights causes. She has publicly discussed and advocated for vegetarianism and vegan eating to help the environment and save animal lives.

The actress who played Temperance Brennan in 'Bones'
Emily Deschanel, 2023Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Whether she’s bringing to life our favorite characters on the small screen or big screen, we can’t wait to see what Emily Deschanel does next.

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