How does Zooey Deschanel explain her name? A big question — one that, up until this week’s Television Critics Associate press tour, was deemed “too big of a question, don’t even go there” by every entertainment journalist in the biz. “Do we even want to know?” we all, journalists and non-journalists alike, wondered together. Like how I imagine an open relationship would be. “DON’T TELL ME! (But tell me?)” Yesterday one brave soul spoke when the rest of us remained silent, putting an end to our questioning, asking the doe-eyed starlette: “Explain your name.” From Entertainment Weekly:

“My name?” the actress replied, confused. “My first name or my last name?”

Critic: “Both.”

“My name on the show?”

The critic explained (… sort of … not really): “Zooey. Zooey Deschanel.”

“I was named after [the J.D. Salinger novel] Franny and Zooey,” she said. “My last name is French.”

And her last name is French.

And her last name is French. An incredible confession from what seems like an incredible edition of the TCA press tour. Unfortunately for now this is all the information we have on how Zooey Deschanel explains her name, but we’ll keep you posted as more details become available. Thank you in advance for your patience.

Comments (17)
  1. I get that its just a thing to spell it with two O’s, but every time I read it a part of me alway hears Zoo – EE, as in having the qualities of a zoo.

    • I always assumed Salinger wanted us too pronounce it Zoo-EE because the character is a boy whose full name is Zachary. So Zooey Deschanel is actually Zachary Deschanel.

      file this under “things that bother me a lot that really shouldn’t bother me a lot”

      • I actually pronounced it “Zoo-ee” just yesterday, as sort of a fun little experiment, and everyone looked at me like I was an idiot. “You mean ZO-EE.”

        And I did mean ‘ZO-EE.’

      • This has always bothered me too! Ever since I had to read Franny and Zooey for a Buddhism class.

  2. Also, I want journalists (using that term loosely) to follow up quotes with “And (repeat the quote)” more often.

    Mark Wahlberg said, “If I was on that plane, it wouldn’t have gone down like it did.” And it wouldn’t have gone down like it did.

    Martin Luther Kind said, “I have a dream” And he did have a dream.

  3. Of all the questions you could ask Zooey Deschanel, that’s what you go with? I mean, what about the rumor that she is queen of the lizard people who is nourished by the tears of her enemies?*

    *I just made this rumor up.**

    **but really, with an image as winsomely quirky and wholesome as hers, she has to be covering a pile of bodies a mile high.***

    ***For the record, Zooey Deschanel, I have no beef with you. Your hair is very pretty. Please don’t feast upon the marrow of my bones.

  4. That’s so TMZ

  5. “Siri, Is that name?”

  6. The fact that Zooey brought up her name on the show makes me thing there’s a REAL good story behind it.

    • I really wanted the answer to be My dad was stoned and wanted to go to the zoo to free the chimps because he felt they were not getting enough potassium because they don’t get enough yellow fruit in their diets (I digress) but he said it wrong because he was as high as a kite so it came out “I want to go to see the chimpanzeebles at the zooee,” and my mom in the next room thought it was whimsical and just perfect for the unborn child within her getting third-hand reefer smoke.

      That’s a cool name story Zooey.

  7. That is literally the first item of trivia on Zooey Deschanel’s IMDB profile. Do your homework journalists!

  8. What about did anyone ask Zooey to explain Emily Deschanel’s name? Is her last name also French? Call that journalism?

  9. I recently had to talk to her dad, Caleb, for my job, but I forgot to ask why he named his daughter Zooey. Sorry everyone. Nice fellow and one of the best cinematographers of all time.

  10. “Explain your name.”

    “Well, my mother and father had sex, 9 months later I was born, then they gave me this name I have! Ha! What a great story. It never gets old!”

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