Actress and singer Emmanuelle Grey Rossum was born September 12th, 1986, in New York City to a single mother who worked as a corporate photographer. She was named with the feminine spelling of her great-grandfather, Emanue, and was later nicknamed Emmy, which eventually became her stage name.
Emmy began her professional career at the age of seven as a singer, performing in the Metropolitan Opera’s Children Chorus. During her five-year stint with the chorus, Emmy had the opportunity to sing operas in multiple languages and even perform with famous opera singers, such as Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, and directors like Franco Zeffirelli. By age twelve, Rossum became interested in acting and started studying with a coach and also taking lessons at an acting institute in New York.
At fifteen, Emmy decided to drop out of her private school to take on more career opportunities. She graduated early through an online-extension course for gifted children given by the University of Stanford and later attended Columbia University, where she studied art history, French and philosophy.
Emmy Rossum’s first television appearance was in 1997, in the CBS soap opera As the World Turns. In 1999, Emmy acted in the TV movie Genius, for which she received a Young Artist Award nomination. She also starred as Audrey Hepburn in the ABC television film The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000), playing the iconic actress’ younger version. Emmy’s big screen debut was in 2000’s Songcatcher, for which she was nominated for several accolades and received overall positive feedback for her performance. She even got the chance to sing with Dolly Parton on the movie’s soundtrack.
After supporting roles in Nola (2003) and Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River (2003), Emmy landed the role that brought her international fame with the sci-fi disaster film The Day After Tomorrow (2004). In 2004, she successfully auditioned for the lead female role in the film adaptation of the world renowned musical The Phantom of the Opera. Showcasing her singing skills, Emmy’s performance earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination, and won her a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Young Actress and Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor. In 2007, she also released her first musical album, Inside Out, with a sort of pop style that distanced itself from her usual classical songs.
Emmy’s following acting credits were the movies Poseidon (a 2006 remake of 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure), Dragon Ball Evolution (2009) and Dare (2009) before she got her most notable role to date. She was cast in Shameless, a remake of the British TV series of the same name, that combines both comedy and drama. Her performance in the show has been unanimously well received by critics, and Emmy stayed on the show for nine seasons (the show concluded after a ten-year run with eleven seasons.) During her time on the show, Emmy also participated in several films, most notably Beautiful Creatures (2013), You’re Not You as Bec (2014), and Before I Disappear (2014).
Emmy’s first big role after leaving Shameless was as the lead character in drama series Angelyne, in 2022, produced by her husband, Sam Esmail. She had previously appeared in an uncredited cameo on her husband’s show, Mr. Robot, in 2019.