Rashida Leah Jones is an American film and television actress, comic book author, screenwriter and occasional singer. She played Louisa Fenn on Boston Public and Karen Filippelli on The Office as well as roles in the films I Love You, Man and The Social Network. Jones currently appears on the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation as Ann Perkins.
Jones was born in Los Angeles, the younger daughter of media mogul and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. She has an older sister, Kidada Jones, and five half-siblings by her father's other relationships. Her father is African-American and her mother is Ashkenazi Jewish, and Jones attended Hebrew school.She was raised in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California.
In his autobiography, Jones's father recalled how he would often find his six-year-old daughter under the covers after bedtime with a flashlight reading five books at a time.Jones also displayed musical ability from a young age and can play classical piano.Her mother told Entertainment Tonight that Jones is "also a fabulous singer and songwriter, so she has inherited it (from Quincy), there's no question about it. Her dad's teaching her how to orchestrate and arrange too."
Jones attended The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California, where she made the National Honor Society and was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" by her classmates.Jones's parents divorced when she was 14 years old; her sister subsequently remained with their father while she moved to Brentwood with their mother.
In 1994, Jones garnered attention with an open letter responding to scathing remarks made by Tupac Shakur about her parents' interracial marriage.She later befriended Shakur, who was engaged to her sister before he was killed.After high school, Jones left California to attend Harvard University.
At Harvard, Jones was a resident of Eliot House and belonged to the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club, Harvard-Radcliffe Opportunes, Black Students Association and the Signet Society.She was initially interested in becoming a lawyer but lost interest after being disillusioned by the O.J. Simpson murder case.Instead, she became involved in the performing arts, and served as musical director for the Opportunes a cappella group, co-composed the score for the 149th annual Hasty Pudding Theatricals performance, and acted in several plays.In her second year at college, she performed in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, which she said was "healing" because she was seen by many blacks as not being "black enough".She studied Religion and Philosophy and graduated in 1997.
Jones made her professional acting debut in The Last Don, a 1997 mini-series based on the novel by Mario Puzo. She then appeared in Myth America, East of A and If These Walls Could Talk 2. In 2000, she guest starred as Karen Scarfolli in an episode of Freaks and Geeks before landing the role of Louisa Fenn on Boston Public. Between 2000 and 2002, she appeared in 26 episodes, earning an NAACP Image Award nomination in her final year. Although she only had a minor supporting role in the series, film opportunities quickly surfaced. She had a small role in Full Frontal, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and starred in Now You Know, written and directed by Kevin Smith regular Jeff Anderson. She also starred in short film Roadside Assistance with Adam Brody.
After Jones left Boston Public, she appeared in Death of a Dynasty, directed by Damon Dash, and two episodes of Chappelle's Show on Comedy Central. In 2004, she was cast in Strip Search, an HBO film directed by Sidney Lumet, but her scenes were cut from the final broadcast version. Later that year, she played Dr. Rachel Keyes in Little Black Book and starred as Edie Miller in British drama series NY-LON. In 2005, Jones played Karen in the Stella pilot on Comedy Central and special government agent Carla Merced in the TNT police drama Wanted.
Jones joined the ensemble cast of The Office in September 2006, playing the role of Karen Filippelli. She appeared regularly during the third season and then returned as a guest star for two episodes in season four and another in season five. Jones had been considering leaving the acting profession and pursuing a graduate degree in public policy before she was offered the part on The Office.Jones also played Karen in the February 2007 Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Rainn Wilson, appearing briefly in the opening monologue's Office parody. Jones filmed cameo roles in The Ten and Role Models, both directed by David Wain, with the latter appearing on the Blu-ray release.She then co-starred in Unhitched, the short-lived 2008 comedy series produced by the Farrelly brothers.
In January 2009, Jones voiced several characters in an episode of the Adult Swim show Robot Chicken.She played Hannah in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, an independent film by John Krasinski that screened during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. She also co-starred as Zooey Rice in I Love You, Man, a Dreamworks comedy with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Jones then accepted a role in Parks and Recreation, a mockumentary-style sitcom in development for NBC. The show was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who she previously worked with on the American version of The Office. She has played nurse Ann Perkins since its primetime debut in April 2009.
Jones had a small role in the Kevin Smith film Cop Out. She appeared in The Social Network, alongside Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, which is set at Harvard, coincidentally the school from which she graduated in 1997. She played Marylin Delpy, a second year legal associate assisting with the defense of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
She has a starring role opposite Chris Messina in Monogamy, a drama directed by Dana Adam Shapiro. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2010 and will be released theatrically in March 2011.
Jones' other 2011 films were Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, The Big Year, with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and JoBeth Williams, The Muppets, with Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper, and Our Idiot Brother, with Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, and Emily Mortimer.In the latter she played a lesbian lawyer named Cindy, the caring, responsible girlfriend of a flaky bisexual played by Zooey Deschanel.Jones also has a cameo in the Beastie Boys' short film Fight For Your Right Revisited, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
As a singer, Jones has provided backing vocals for the band Maroon 5. She appears on the tracks "Tangled", "Secret" and "Not Coming Home" from their debut record, Songs About Jane, and on "Kiwi" from the follow-up album It Won't Be Soon Before Long. Jones was a guest vocalist on the Tupac Shakur tribute album The Rose That Grew from Concrete, released in 2000. The track, "Starry Night", also featured her father's vocals, Mac Mall's rapping, and her half-brother QD3's production. Jones contributed vocals to songs on The Baxter, The Ten and Reno 911!: Miami soundtracks. She also sang in some episodes of Boston Public and for charitable events such as the What A Pair Benefit to raise money for breast cancer research.
Jones in March 2009
Jones has appeared in music videos for Aaliyah, The Boy Least Likely To song "Be Gentle With Me" and the Foo Fighters' single "Long Road to Ruin". In the latter she was credited as Racinda Jules and played the role of Susan Belfontaine.
Jones has appeared in several online comedy series projects. She starred in Funny or Die's "Speak Out" series with Natalie Portman and guest starred in two episodes of Web Therapy with Lisa Kudrow.She also played David Wain in disguise for an episode of My Damn Channel's Wainy Days. In 2008, Jones appeared with several other celebrities in Prop 8 – The Musical, an all-star video satirising California's anti-gay marriage initiative, written by Marc Shaiman.
In 2011, Dove selected Jones as its spokeswoman for its Dove Nourishing Oil Care Collection.
Jones has worked to promote Peace First, a nonprofit that teaches children to resolve conflict without violence. She has been a board member since 2004 and holds several annual benefits to raise money for the organization.Jones has participated in Stand Up to Cancer events, EDUN and ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History and The Art of Elysium's volunteer program, which runs artistic workshops for hospitalized children.
In 2007, she was honorary chair of the annual Housing Works benefit, which fights AIDS and homelessness in New York City.She has also been involved in fundraising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the EB Medical Research Foundation and New York's Lower Eastside Girls Club.
Jones campaigned for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election. Along with Kristen Bell, she visited college campuses in Missouri to discuss the candidates and to encourage voter registration for the Democratic Party.She previously campaigned for Democratic candidate John Kerry during the 2004 election, speaking at student rallies and a public gallery in Ohio.
Jones had a 3½ year relationship with actor Tobey Maguire, ending in 2000. Jones became engaged to the Grammy Award-winning music producer Mark Ronson in February 2003. He proposed on her 27th birthday, using a custom-made crossword puzzle spelling out "Will you marry me?" Their relationship ended approximately one year later.Jones then dated actor John Krasinski, her co-star on The Office(their characters were also dating on the show). She dated Jon Favreau, the Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama.
Though raised Jewish, Jones, like her mother, began practicing Hinduism in her early teens after the two visited an Ashram in India.Today, however, she practices Judaism and told a reporter, "In this day and age, you can choose how you practice and what is your relationship with God. I feel pretty strongly about my connection, definitely through the Jewish traditions and the things that I learned dating the guy that I dated. My boyfriends tend to be Jewish and also be practicing ... I don’t see it as a necessity, but there’s something about it that I connect with for whatever reason."
Jones was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and was recognized as a 2011 Influential Multiracial Public Figure runner-up.She also contributed to the Grammy Award-winning audio version of Q: The Autobiography Of Quincy Jones.