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Caleb Deschanel

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Years active  1969–present
Name  Caleb Deschanel
Role  Film cinematographer

Caleb Deschanel OscarNominated Cameraman Caleb Deschanel on Raising His
Full Name  Joseph Caleb Deschanel
Born  September 21, 1944 (age 71) (1944-09-21) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater  Severn School Johns Hopkins University USC School of Cinematic Arts AFI Conservatory
Occupation  Cinematographer, director
Spouse  Mary Jo Deschanel (m. 1972)
Children  Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanel
Parents  Anna Ward Deschanel, Paul Jules Deschanel
Education  University of Southern California (1968)
Movies  The Passion of the Christ, The Patriot, The Black Stallion, The Right Stuff, The Natural
Similar People  Mary Jo Deschanel, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanel, Carroll Ballard, David Hornsby

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Joseph Caleb Deschanel, A.S.C., (born September 21, 1944) is an American film cinematographer and film/television director. He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography five times. He is a member of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, representing the American Society of Cinematographers. The actresses Emily and Zooey Deschanel are his daughters by his wife, the former Mary Jo Weir, whom he married in 1972.


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Caleb deschanel accepts afi s 25th franklin j schaffner alumni medal

Early life and professional education

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Deschanel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Ann Ward (née Orr) and Paul Jules Deschanel. His father was French, from Oullins, Rhône, and his mother was a United States citizen. Deschanel was raised in his mother's Quaker religion.

Caleb Deschanel Caleb Deschanel to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from

He enrolled in Severn School for his high school years. He attended Johns Hopkins University from 1962 to 1966, where he met Walter Murch, with whom he staged "happenings," including a memorable one in which Murch simply sat down and ate an apple for an audience. Murch graduated a year ahead of him and encouraged Deschanel to follow him to the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where he graduated in 1968. During this time, Deschanel was a member of a band of film students called "The Dirty Dozen;" this group attracted attention from the Hollywood system. Following his graduation, he attended the American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory and graduated in 1969 as a member of its first class.


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Deschanel joined the American Society of Cinematographers, or A.S.C., in 1969, the year of his graduation from the AFI Conservatory. In 1972, three years later, he married the former Mary Jo Weir. The older of their two daughters, Emily, was born in 1976; their younger daughter, Zooey, was born in 1980.

Deschanel's cinematography credits include: A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes directing), Being There (1979, Hal Ashby directing), The Black Stallion (1979), The Right Stuff (1983), The Natural (1984), Fly Away Home (1996), The Patriot (2000), Timeline (2003), and The Passion of the Christ (2004, Mel Gibson directing).

Like many cinematographers, Deschanel has also directed feature films and television series episodes. He directed his first film, The Escape Artist, in 1982, and a second, Crusoe, in 1989. In 1990, Deschanel directed three episodes of the David Lynch series Twin Peaks. In 2007, he directed an episode of Bones, which starred his daughter Emily as Dr. Temperance Brennan. He was the cinematographer in the 2009 film My Sister's Keeper, and also the cinematographer for the 2011 thriller Dream House.

He was an original member of the American Zoetrope production team, along with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.


Deschanel was awarded the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 by the American Society of Cinematographers.

He has been nominated for five Academy Awards, each time in the field of cinematography. The first nomination came in 1983 for the film The Right Stuff. His second was in 1984 for The Natural. A third came in 1996 for Fly Away Home, then a fourth in 2000 for The Patriot, and finally a fifth for his work in The Passion of the Christ. But he lost to other cinematographers all five times.

Another award Deschanel did win was the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) award, which was for his work in The Patriot.

As director

  • The Escape Artist (1982)
  • Crusoe (1989)
  • As cinematographer

    As of the middle of June 2017, Deschanel was also involved in the then in-production live-action film version of The Lion King, based on the 1994 feature-length animated cartoon, which was slated for release in 2019.


    Caleb Deschanel Wikipedia