Rashida Jones is an American actress, director, writer, and producer.
Jones appeared as Louisa Fenn on the Fox drama series Boston Public (2000–2002), as Karen Filippelli on the NBC comedy series The Office (2005–2013), and as Ann Perkins on the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation (2009–2015). From 2016 to 2019, Jones starred as the lead eponymous role in the TBS comedy series Angie Tribeca, and in 2020, Jones starred as Joya Barris in the Netflix series BlackAF.
Jones also appeared in the films I Love You, Man (2009), The Social Network (2010), Our Idiot Brother (2011), The Muppets (2011), Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012), which she co-wrote, and Tag (2018). Jones also co-wrote the story of Toy Story 4 (2019).
As a filmmaker, she directed the first episode of Hot Girls Wanted, a series that focused on the sex industry. She was also an executive producer of the series. In 2018, her documentary Quincy, about her father, Quincy Jones, debuted on Netflix; it won the Grammy Award for Best Music Film in 2019.
Jones was born in Los Angeles, California, to actress Peggy Lipton and musician/record producer Quincy Jones. She is the younger sister of actress and model Kidada Jones, and half-sister to five siblings from their father’s other relationships, including Kenya Jones and Quincy Jones III. Jones’s father is African American with Tikar roots from Cameroon, and a paternal Welsh grandfather. Her mother was Ashkenazi Jewish (a descendant of Jewish emigrants from Russia and Latvia). Jones and her sister were raised in Reform Judaism by their mother; Jones attended Hebrew school, though she left at the age of ten and did not have a Bat Mitzvah.
Jones grew up in Los Angeles’ Bel Air neighborhood. She has said of her parents’ mixed-race marriage: “it was the 1970s and still not that acceptable for them to be together”. In his autobiography, her father recalled how he would often find the six-year-old Jones under the covers after bedtime, reading five books at a time with a flashlight. She has said that she grew up a “straight-up nerd” and “had a computer with floppy disks and a dial-up modem before it was cool”.
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 was involved with theater at Buckley, with tutelage from acting teacher Tim Hillman. Jones’s parents divorced when she was 14 years old; her sister subsequently remained with their father, while Rashida moved with their mother to Brentwood.
In 1994, Jones garnered attention with an open letter responding to scathing remarks made by rapper Tupac Shakur about her parents’ interracial marriage. They managed to patch up their differences and Shakur eventually went on to be friends with Rashida and her family. Rashida’s sister, Kidada Jones, was dating Tupac at the time of his death.
Rashida Jones attended Harvard University, where she lived in Currier House and Eliot House. She 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 changed her mind after becoming disillusioned by the O. J. Simpson murder trial. She became involved in the performing arts and served as musical director for the Opportunes, an 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, Jones performed in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, which she said was “healing” because she had been seen by many black students as not being “black enough”. She studied religion and philosophy and graduated in 1997.
Main article: Rashida Jones filmography
Jones made her professional acting debut in The Last Don, 1997 miniseries based on the novel by Mario Puzo. She next appeared in Myth America, East of A and If These Walls Could Talk 2. In 2000, she guest-starred as Karen Scarfolli on 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 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 the 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 was considering leaving the acting profession and pursuing a graduate degree in public policy before she was offered the part on The Office. She joined the ensemble cast in September 2006, playing the role of Karen Filippelli. She appeared regularly during the third season, returning as a guest star for three episodes in seasons four, five, and seven.
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 co-starred in Unhitched, the short-lived 2008 comedy series produced by the Farrelly brothers. She also appeared as the love interest in the Foo Fighters‘ music video “Long Road to Ruin”.Jason Segel, Jones, and Paul Rudd at the Austin, Texas premiere of I Love You, Man
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 co-starred as Zooey Rice in I Love You, Man, a DreamWorks comedy with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel.
Jones accepted a role in Parks and Recreation, a mockumentary-style sitcom on NBC. The show was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, with whom she previously worked on The Office. She played nurse Ann Perkins from the show’s debut until midway through the sixth season, and reprised the role for the final episode of the series.
Jones had a small role in the 2010 Kevin Smith film Cop Out. She appeared in The Social Network (2010), alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, which is set at Harvard. She played Marylin Delpy, a second-year legal associate assisting with the defense of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Jones starred opposite Chris Messina in Monogamy (2010), a drama directed by Dana Adam Shapiro. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2010 and was released theatrically in March 2011.
Jones’s other 2011 films were Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis; The Big Year, with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black; 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 girlfriend of a bisexual character 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. Additionally, Jones appeared on an episode of Wilfred as Lisa, a hospice volunteer. The episode aired on July 21, 2011 on FX.
In 2014, Jones was cast in the lead role of Angie Tribeca on the TBS comedy series Angie Tribeca, which premiered in 2016. The show was created by Steve and Nancy Carrell and was cancelled in 2019.
In 2015, Jones produced the documentary film Hot Girls Wanted, which examines the role of teenage girls in pornographic films. Netflix acquired the film after the film’s premiere at Sundance Film Festival; it premiered on May 29, 2015.
In 2020, Jones began starring and serving as an executive producer on the Netflix sitcom BlackAF opposite Kenya Barris, who created the series. Jones also voices recurring role of Mia on Fox’s Duncanville. She stars in the 2020 comedy-drama On the Rocks opposite Bill Murray directed by Sofia Coppola.
Jones created Frenemy of the State, a comic book series about a socialite who is recruited by the CIA. The comics are published by Oni Press and co-written with husband-and-wife writing team Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir. In October 2009, before the first issue had been released, Jones sold the screen rights to Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Brian Grazer and Eric Gitter produced the film, and Jones co-wrote the screenplay with writing partner Will McCormack.
Jones sold her first screenplay, a comedy titled Celeste and Jesse Forever, in March 2009. She co-wrote the script with McCormack and was attached to star in the film. It was released in 2012.
Jones and McCormack worked on the script of Toy Story 4 for Pixar Animation Studios. Jones left the writing assignment early due to feeling that Pixar is “a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice.” The film was released in June 2019, with the pair being among those receiving a “story by” credit.