Kate's Notes

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jessica Biel

Jessica Biel

Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982) came to America’s attention for her role as Mary Camden in the long-running Christain based family-drama series “7th Heaven”; however, she caught the media’s eye when she posed for Gear magazine in a racy spread at the tender age of 17; the pictures were meant break her out of her family oriented persona, and make a name for herself as an actress with sex appeal, and not just the girl next door. This political move worked: after her provocative photo-shoot, this former fashion model went onto star in such films as the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and more notably, opposite Edward Norton in the critically accliamed, The Illusionist in 2006.

Early life

Born in Ely, Minnesota to Jonathan Edward Biel and Kimberly Conroe, Biel, has a younger brother, Justin, and an older brother, Robert. She is of German, French, English and Native American (Choctaw) heritage. Biel grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and was initially trained to become a vocalist with the hope of performing in musical theater. Beginning at age nine, she starred in such productions as Annie, The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast. A natural beauty, Jessica soon turned to modeling and commercial work by competing in The International Modeling and Talent Association's Annual Conference in 1994.


It wasn't until Biel attended the International Modeling & Talent Association Convention in Los Angeles in 1994 that her career started to take off as a fashion model. However, her big break came when at 14 years old she landed the role of Mary Camden on the WB television 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).

Voted one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1999, Biel posed semi-topless (no nipple was actually seen in the photos) in 2000 for a layout of Gear magazine. This move was extremely controversial due to that fact that she was only 17 at the time of the shoot. She sited her frustration and fear about being typecast as the wholesome girl next door, as one of the reasons that led to her decision to pose in such a provocative photo shoot. She blamed her angelic image on “7th Heaven” for limiting her film career, including losing a lead role in American Beauty, which eventually went to Mena Suvari. Jessica also hoped that by posing she would get out of her “7th Heaven” contract, which it eventually did. Spelling and the rest of “7th Heaven's” production team were unhappy with her choice to pose for the magazine and filed a lawsuit against Gear.

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 through 2002 season and then focused her attention on her movie career and has made minimal television appearances since then.

She was named #30 in FHM's Sexiest Girls of 2002 poll, American edition, up from #82 the previous year, and ranked #99 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women In The World" in 2002.

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 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). The movies were met with mild reaction from the box office and received mixed reviews. She has also had starring roles in Blade: Trinity (2004) and Stealth (2005), the latter of which was a box-office flop. A noticeable result of the extensive weight training and strict diet Jessica went through in order to play Abigail Whistler in the Blade: Trinity, you can see Jessica's character in her next movie, Stealth, very muscular, particularly in the scene where she wears a bikini.

She was voted Esquire's "sexiest woman alive" in 2005, and was named #18 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2005 list.

Biel was also rumored to be up for the part of Elizabeth in The Fog (a part originated by scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis). Later reports stated Biel did not want to do any more horror films. The part eventually went to Maggie Grace of “Lost” fame. Turning down the role proved to be a wise move: the remake was a box office flop, which had been predicted by various critics, as the film was not screened for the press prior to its release. 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. The series was later renewed, at last minute, for an 11th season. Biel has not made any future appearances as of early 2007.

After several indifferent feature films, her film career finally blossomed when she played a turn-of-the-century duchess in The Illusionist (2006), costarring Edward Norton, which received good reviews and generated a profit at the box office. Variety wrote that "Biel is entirely stunning enough to fight to the death over," while "handily employing a refined English accent."

Her latest film, Home of the Brave (2006), costarring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and 50 Cent, about soldiers returning from Iraq, premiered in Los Angeles on December 5, 2006.

She'll next star opposite Nicolas Cage and Julianne Moore in Next (2007), a science fiction action film based on "The Golden Man," a short story by noted author Philip K. Dick. She will also star opposite Adam Sandler in the comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and in A Women Of No Importance, taking over Lindsey Lohan's part (who dropped out of the project), costarring Sean Bean, and Annette Bening.

Personal Life

Jessica attended the exclusive private Lycée Français de Los Angeles for high school. In fall 2000, she enrolled in undergraduate study at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Having attended her fall 2000, spring 2001 and fall 2002 semesters, she left before completing a degree program to concentrate on her acting career.

Biel's hobbies include ballet, soccer, running, yoga and hiking. She has a dog named East. Biel also recently bought a house close to her parents in Colorado and is reportedly a vegan.

Biel currently resides in Los Angeles. She dated fellow actor Chris Evans from 2001 to 2006, with at least one time "off" during that period. Together, they appeared in the films London and Cellular with Kim Basinger. She also dated another fellow actor, Adam LaVorgna, who portrayed the character of Robbie in “7th Heaven,” for about two years.

She was good friends and gym buddies with Kate Beckinsale; several pictures were taken in early 2006 of them exercising in Los Angeles together. One picture of the two of them kissing made quite a stir; however, it seems as though they were simply kissing hello or good bye.

According to Page Six, Jessica Biel was dating New York Yankee baseball player, Derek Jeter in late 2006. The Yankee shortstop went out in L.A. with Biel. According to their spy, the couple was huddled in a corner of hot club Hyde, "laughing and giggling together."

Biel was rumored to have caught the eye of another media darling, Justin Timberlake. Page Six reported that Cameron Diaz went ballistic at a Golden Globes after party when she saw ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake flirting with Biel. Things got heated when she saw her Timberlake chatting up Biel in Los Angeles after the Golden Globes. Sources say the temperamental star "blew up" at Biel after she saw Timberlake flirting with her. Diaz apparently followed Timberlake to the In Style party at the Hilton Oasis, where "they had an awkward conversation." Then Diaz trailed Timberlake to the Beverly Hilton rooftop for the Universal party, where she found him talking to Biel, and then screamed at the "Illusionist" star.

Charity Work

Biel is the co-founder of MTDN (Make the Difference Network) and she supports several non-profit groups, including PETA and the home rehabilitation organization Rebuilding Together, as well as GLAAD. In her spare time she is involved with charities such as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and PETA.

On July 18, 2006, Biel auctioned herself for a charity event to help raise money for medical expenses for Colorado teen Molly Bloom, who lost her leg and part of her pelvis in an auto accident. The winning bid for the lunch date with Biel was $30,000 paid by 28-year-old John Schiffner. Biel quipped, "I promise, I'm a cheap date." The charity event raised $38,000 total. The lunch date was set for August 18, 2006. Biel also donated money to the daughter of actor Rey-Phillip Santos for her appendix operation.


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