Rashida Jones Biography
Rashida Leah Jones is an American actress, model, and musician, best-known for her portrayal of Louisa Fenn on Boston Public, Karen Filippelli on The Office and Kate Frankola on Unhitched.
Jones was born in Los Angeles, California the youngest daughter of media mogul Quincy Jones and his former wife, actress Peggy Lipton. Her father is an African-American and her mother is Jewish, descended from immigrants from Ireland and Russia. 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. She also attended Hebrew school.
In his autobiography, Jones' father recalled how he would often find his five-year-old daughter under the covers after bedtime with a flashlight reading five books at a time. Around the same age, Jones was already playing classical concerts and winning awards. 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."
When Jones was 14 years old, her parents divorced, and she subsequently lived with her mother before beginning college at Harvard University. She garnered attention with an open letter in response to scathing remarks made by Tupac Shakur about her parents' interracial marriage. She later befriended Shakur, who was engaged to her sister Kidada Jones before he was killed. While attending Harvard, Jones initially was interested in becoming a lawyer, but lost interest as a result of the O.J. Simpson murder case. Instead, she became involved in theater, composing the music for the 149th annual performance of the famed Hasty Pudding Theatricals. She studied religion and philosophy at Harvard and graduated in 1997.
Though raised Jewish, Jones began practicing Hinduism in her early teens after her mother took her to 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."
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. Though 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. She 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 co-starred in Unhitched, the short-lived 2008 comedy series produced by the Farrelly brothers. She played Hannah in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a 2009 film written and directed by John Krasinski. She will next appear in Dreamworks comedy I Love You, Man and NBC series Parks & Recreation.
As a singer, Jones was a member and music director for Harvard's oldest co-ed a cappella group, The Harvard Opportunes. They performed an arrangement composed by Quincy Jones himself on the 1997 CD, Candy For The Children. She sang backup on the tracks "Tangled" "Secret" and "Not Coming Home" from Maroon 5's hit record, Songs About Jane. She also sang on the track "Kiwi" on their album It Won't Be Soon Before Long. She can be heard singing Madonna's "Dress You Up" in the Gap commercial "Everybody in Vests" directed by Pedro Romhanyi, as well as The O'Jays' "Love Train" in Peter Lindbergh's "Give Stripes" and "Crazy Stripes" commercials again for Gap. Also as a singer, Jones appeared as guest on Tupac Shakur's tribute album The Rose That Grew From Concrete, on the track "Starry Night," which is accompanied by her father' vocals, Mac Mall's rapping, and her half-brother QD3's production. 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' written work has appeared in Teen Vogue.She also wrote chapter 36 of her father's biography Q: The Autobiography Of Quincy Jones. She has also co-composed the score for Hasty Pudding Theatricals while at Harvard in 1997.
Jones has modeled for major clothing labels including Triple 5 Soul and The Gap. She has also appeared in editorials for magazines such as In Style and O Magazine. In 2002, Jones was chosen as one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People," which she also received in 2007, as well as one of Harper's Bazaar's "Best Dressed Women In America."
Jones has appeared in music videos for 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 protest video written by Marc Shaiman.
Jones' cameo in 2008 comedy film Role Models was cut from the theatrical version. It appears on the Blu-Ray's deleted scenes.
Jones has worked to promote International Peace Games, which 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 dated actors Tobey Maguire, Seth Meyers and John Krasinski. She became engaged to DJ/music producer Mark Ronson in February 2003 after he proposed to her in a custom-made crossword puzzle spelling out "Will you marry me?". Their relationship ended approximately one year later.
Jones is friends with actresses Jessica Alba, Claire Danes and Natalie Portman (with whom she stars in a series of Funny or Die comedy sketches) and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. She is also a longtime family friend of Nicole Richie and British fashion designer Stella McCartney.