Born Emmanuelle Grey Rossum on September 12, 1986 in New York City, New York, Emmy Rossum is a an actress and singer-songwriter who is perhaps best known for her leading roles in The Day After Tomorrow, Poseidon, and The Phantom of the Opera. The daughter of a photographer and a banker, she was raised Jewish. Her parents divorced while her mother was pregnant hence she only got to see her father twice. It is said that a song from her album “Inside” called “Anymore” is based on this experience. She received her high school diploma when she was 15 via online extension courses offered by Stanford University.
Rossum started her singing career via an audition where she sang Happy Birthday in 12 different keys. This got her accepted as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus. She sang onstage over the five years, with the likes of Placido Domingo and the late Luciano Pavarotti. She sang in five different languages and in 20 different operas, such as La Boheme, The Damnation of Faust, a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Turandot. When she turned 12, she got an agent and subsequently landed auditions for acting roles.
Rossum’s television debut was in a 1997 episode of Law and Order. She was also cast as a recurring character in the long-running soap As the World Turns. Her other screen credits at this point include small minor roles in movies and mini-series, such as in Snoops, Genius, and The Audrey Hepburn Story. Her movie debut was in 2000, with Songcatcher, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Sepcial Jury Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. On the movie’s soundtrack, she was able to sing a duet with country singer Dolly Parton.
Rossum’s first major studio film was the critically acclaimed 2003 Clint Eastwood crime drama Mystic River. This was followed by The Day After Tomorrow, The Phantom of the Opera, and Poseidon. She was offered several record deals to do classical albums but she refused, saying she want to do more contemporary, mainstream music.