Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982) is an American actress,
best known for her role as Mary Camden on the drama series 7th Heaven
and her roles in feature films, such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Biel was born in Ely, Minnesota to Jonathan Edward Biel and Kimberly
Conroe; the family is of Slovak, descent. Biel, who has a younger
brother, Justin, grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where her family
had moved when she was very young. She initially trained to become
a vocalist with the hope of performing in musical theater and appeared
in several musicals at an early age including The Sound of Music,
Annie, Beauty and the Beast, and Anything Goes.
It wasn't until she attended the International Modeling & Talent
Association Convention in Los Angeles in 1994 when her career started
to take off as a teen print model. However, her big break came when
at 14 years old when she landed the role of Mary Camden on the WB
TV Series 7th Heaven. The family drama from Aaron Spelling and Brenda
Hampton became the most popular (and remains the longest running)
series on the fledgling network. Jessica's film career also began
at age 15 when she played alongside Peter Fonda in his Golden Globe
winning performance in Ulee's Gold (1997). Aside from acting, Jessica
became a spokesmodel for L'Oreal cosmetics in 2002.
In 2000, Biel posed topless in a layout of Gear magazine. It was
controversial because she was only 17 at the time of the shoot.
Her frustration and fear about being typecast was one of the reasons
that led to her decision. She blamed her saintly image on 7th Heaven
for limiting her film career, including losing a lead role in American
Beauty which eventually went to Thora Birch. Jessica also hoped
that by posing she would get out of her 7th Heaven contract, which
she accomplished. She later said she regretted posing for the magazine
and regards it as a learning experience. Jessica returned to 7th
Heaven full time for the 2001-2002 season and then focused the attention
on her movie career and has made minimal TV appearances since then.
After her departure from 7th Heaven she accepted projects mainly
geared to teens and young adults including Summer Catch (2001),
The Rules of Attraction (2002) and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003).
The movies were met with mild reaction from the box office and panned
by many critics. It was believed that Jessica's career may have
suffered damage from mistakes in her youth including posing topless
for Gear magazine and her ranting against 7th Heaven creator Brenda
Hampton. Nevertheless, she is currently a sought-after young Hollywood
actress which is apparent by her roles in Blade: Trinity (2004)
and Stealth (2005). Producer Joel Silver has commented that Biel
was his first choice to play the title role in writer-director Joss
Whedon's Wonder Woman. After a nearly three year absence, Jessica
surprised her fans by making one final appearance in the series
finale of 7th Heaven in May 2006. On May 12, in a surprising twist,
the CW network (formely known as UPN & WB) chose to renew the
contract of 7th heaven for an 11th season. It is unknown if Biel
will return as Camden or if she will continue to have a script outside
of the screen.
Jessica attended the exclusive private school le lycée français
de Los Angeles for high school. In 2000, Jessica enrolled in undergraduate
study at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She left before
completing a degree program in order to concentrate her acting career.
Biel's hobbies include ballet, soccer, running, yoga and hiking.
She has a dog named East. She recently bought a house close to her
parents in Colorado. Biel, who is a vegan, is the co-founder of
MTDN (Make the Difference Network) and she supports several non-profit
groups, including PETA and the home rehabilitation organization
Biel currently resides in Los Angeles. She has dated actor Chris
Evans since 2002. Together, they starred in the films London
2006 The Illusionist
2004 Blade: Trinity
2004 It's a Digital World
2003 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
2002 The Rules of Attraction
2001 Summer Catch
1998 I'll Be Home for Christmas
1997 Ulee's Gold
1996 7th Heaven
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