Jessica Biel

Also Credited As:

Jessica Claire Biel
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Biography

One of the few "WB" teen alums to successfully make the leap to a long-lasting film career, Jessica Biel aimed big and achieved it with a down-to-earth, hardworking approach. Rising to fame as the rebellious Mary Camden, eldest daughter on the long-running "7th Heaven" (The WB, 1996-2006; The CW, 2006-07), Biel's efforts to leave the saccharine show for more adult film roles - including a sexy magazine photo shoot - earned her notoriety, but …
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Job Title

Actor, Producer, Music

Born

Jessica Claire Biel on March 3, 1982 in Ely, Minnesota, USA

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About

One of the few "WB" teen alums to successfully make the leap to a long-lasting film career, Jessica Biel aimed big and achieved it with a down-to-earth, hardworking approach. Rising to fame as the rebellious Mary Camden, eldest daughter on the long-running "7th Heaven" (The WB, 1996-2006; The CW, 2006-07), Biel's efforts to leave the saccharine show for more adult film roles - including a sexy magazine photo shoot - earned her notoriety, but also her escape. Although romantic baseball comedy "Summer Catch" (2001) bunted at the box office, Biel shook it off to quietly notch strong performances in dark fare like the "The Rules of Attraction" (2002), "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake (2003) and "Blade: Trinity" (2004), surprising critics with a career-best performance as an Eastern European countess in love with "The Illusionist" (2006). Positive attention from men's magazines and her well-publicized relationship with likable megastar Justin Timberlake helped position Biel as the strong, smart girl next door. Balancing her beauty with physical strength as well as a willingness to work hard and earn her acting stripes, Biel continued to outlast many of her flashier contemporaries.

Born March 3, 1982 in Ely, MN to Jon and Kim Biel, her family moved around during her childhood, living in six different states. Spending most of her formative years in Boulder, CO, Biel would later call the Rocky Mountain town home. An active and adventurous child, Biel began taking dance and voice lessons as a young girl. Obsessed with the musical "Annie," Biel landed a gig as an understudy for the role in a Connecticut production of the play at the age of eight. Signing with a Denver talent agency at the age of 11, Biel started modeling and attended an International Modeling & Talent Association convention in 1994, where she won an acting scholarship to attend the Young Actor's Space in Los Angeles. Biel spent the next three years commuting between LA and Colorado, balancing acting classes and auditions with schoolwork. Her hard work on her craft eventually paid off; in the same week, Biel landed the part of Mary Camden on the WB series "7th Heaven" (1996-2007), as well as a role in the feature film, "Ulee's Gold" (1997) opposite Peter Fonda, in which she played his troubled granddaughter Casey - the polar opposite of Mary Camden. During her high school years being tutored on the set of "Heaven," Biel bonded with co-star Beverley Mitchell in between scenes.

Raising eyebrows in 2000, Biel posed semi-nude for a cover and photo layout in Gear magazine in an attempt to shed her wholesome image and, reportedly, be released from her "Heaven" contract. Because the show was religious in nature and a big hit w/ conservative viewers, her Gear portfolio enraged some, but her alleged ploy worked. She ultimately negotiated a reduced, recurring role on the series, allowing her to attend college and focus on feature films instead. Biel enrolled at Massachusetts' Tufts University in 2000, returning to LA at the end of her freshman year to finish out the show's sixth season. Leaving school to focus on her acting career, Biel went on to find work in a number of feature films. Adding a bit of sexy zest, she portrayed Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s fantasy girl in the otherwise dreary baseball comedy, "Summer Catch" (2001) and took on her edgiest project then to date, appearing as promiscuous college student Lara Halleran in writer-director Roger Avary's blunt, sex-soaked adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' "The Rules of Attraction" (2002).

Finding more mainstream box office success, Biel starred as Erin, the central scream queen, in the hit remake of the 1974 cult horror film, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003), followed by her appearance in the supposed thriller, "Cellular" (2004). Biel played the spurned romantic interest of a man (Chris Evans) who gets thrown into a high-stakes chase after receiving a random call on his cell phone. Thankfully, her small part in this forgettable actioner went virtually unnoticed, with no harm done to her career. In "Blade: Trinity" (2004), the third installment in the popular B-movie franchise, her role of Abigail Whistler, leader of a group of human vampire hunters who team up with Blade (Wesley Snipes) to do battle with undead thugs, proved to be Biel's most physical role to date. Not surprisingly, the athletic beauty was more than up for the challenge of months of pre-production training. Next, Biel starred opposite Jamie Foxx and Josh Lucas as a fighter pilot in the less-than-memorable CG action flick "Stealth" (2005), a lowbrow cross between "Top Gun" (1986) and "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), followed by a part opposite her "Cellular" co-star and rumored boyfriend Evans in the critically-panned "London" (2005).

Faring better with her next film, Biel took on a supporting role in Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown" (2005). Though the film itself was savaged by critics and did not make the usual Crowe bank that Hollywood had come to expect from the director, Biel was singled out for her performance as the young office worker whose ardor cools when her boyfriend (Orlando Bloom) experiences a colossal professional failure. Taking on her first serious period role, Biel landed the role of Eastern European noblewoman Sophie in "The Illusionist" (2006), starring opposite respected actor Edward Norton and once again impressed critics with her abilities as a serious actress. A serious turn in the Iraq war veteran drama "Home of the Brave" (2006) followed, with Biel tackling the difficult role of a discharged soldier dealing with the loss of her hand in combat as well as the stress of being a single mother. After essaying a thankless role in the flashy action trash "Next" (2007) with a clairvoyant Nicolas Cage, Biel enjoyed box office success as the beautiful and brilliant lawyer who fights for Kevin James and Adam Sandler's rights in the gay marriage comedy, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" (2007).

Biel's fame profile rose several notches when it was revealed that she and superstar Justin Timberlake were dating in the wake from his breakup with longtime girlfriend Cameron Diaz. While many of her projects had been under-the-radar successes, her name started popping up in gossip columns and blogs and the mainstream entertainment media began to cover her more thoroughly - due in large part to the Timberlake relationship. Biel even made a good-natured cameo on an episode of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) hosted by her famous boyfriend, portraying the cartoon sex bomb Jessica Rabbit. Showing off her more sultry side seemed to become a priority for the actress. Usually cast in roles playing to her physical strength and prowess, Biel played against type as the seductive, ultra-feminine lead in "Easy Virtue" (2008), a jazz-scored version of the Noël Coward play that resonated well with critics despite its limited box office. Continuing down the artistic path, Biel made the strange prestige indie "Powder Blue" (2009). Boasting a talented cast, including Forest Whitaker, Lisa Kudrow and Patrick Swayze, the intriguing premise involved intertwining, lonely lives in Los Angeles (and, inexplicably, blue snow) but the film's execution and reception were disappointing. In fact, the bulk of the film's impact centered on pre-release fanboy excitement over Biel's appearance as a stripper.

Despite the salacious stripper role, the actress delivered a strong, fearless performance, graduating to a plum role in the mega-ensemble hit "Valentine's Day" (2010). In an all-star cast that included Julia Roberts, Shirley MacClaine and Anne Hathaway, Biel played an overworked, love-starved publicist whose holiday ends on an unexpected note - a new romance with a reporter (Jamie Foxx). The athletic Biel made headlines when she and a group of celebrities climbed Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of the six-day "Summit on the Summit" campaign to bring attention to the Children's Safe Drinking Water Program and Water for People's Play Pumps Technology as well as the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). She scaled box office heights as well, with the huge studio action/adventure re-imagining of the 1980s TV hit, "The A-Team" (2010) starring alongside Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson. As the film's female lead, Biel played a high-ranking military woman determined to enforce justice on the renegade vigilantes, but finds herself coming around to their point of view. After joining the large ensemble cast of Garry Marshall's romantic comedy, "New Year's Eve" (2011), where she played a young woman giving birth opposite Seth Meyers, she assumed the role of resistance leader, Melina, in the remake of "Total Recall" (2012), starring Colin Farrell.