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Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982) is an American actress and former fashion model, perhaps best known for appearing in the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Blade: Trinity, as well as for her television role as Mary Camden in the long-running family-drama series 7th Heaven. Biel was born in Ely, Minnesota, the daughter of Kimberly Conroe and Jonathan Edward Biel, an entrepreneur. Biel, who has a younger brother, Justin, grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where her family had moved when she was very young. She is of Choctaw, German, French, and English descent. Biel 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 was not until Biel attended the International Modeling and Talent Association Convention in Los Angeles in 1994 when her career started to take off as a fashion model. Biel's first big break came when at 14 years old 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 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'Oréal cosmetics in 2002. In 2000, Biel posed topless in a layout of Gear magazine, although she did not actually appear frontally nude. It was nonetheless 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 her attention on her movie career and has made minimal TV appearances since then. After her departure from 7th Heaven, she accepted the role of Erin Hardesty in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). The movie was met with moderate critical attention, but was successful commercially making over 80 million dollars stateside with its 9 million dollar budget. She has also had starring roles in Blade: Trinity (2004) and Stealth (2005), the latter of which was a box-office flop, losing $99 million USD. In March 2005, casting for Revolution Studios's big-budget remake of John Carpenter's The Fog was underway. Biel was rumored to be up for the part of Elizabeth Solley (a part originated by scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis). Later reports stated Biel did not want to do any more horror films. The role eventually went to Maggie Grace of Lost. Turning down the role proved to be a wise move: the remake was a box office flop as the film was nearly universally panned for its shallow plot and poor acting. 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 and, as it turned out, final season. Biel did not make any future appearances in the show. After several indifferent feature films, her film career finally blossomed when she played a turn-of-the-century duchess in The Illusionist (2006), which received good reviews and generated a profit at the box office. In 2006, she also starred Home of the Brave, about soldiers returning from Iraq, premiered in Los Angeles on December 5, 2006. She next co-starred opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James in the comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which went to number one at the box office, making 34 million dollars in its opening weekend, followed by Next, which also starred Nicholas Cage and Julianne Moore. She is slated to appear in at least two more films in 2008: A Woman of No Importance, based on the play by Oscar Wilde about a woman's past which comes back to haunt her when the man who left her with a child becomes the potential employer of their illegitimate son. Taking over Lindsay Lohan's part, it is set to begin filming in the fall of 2007. She'll also appear in Powder Blue, opposite Forest Whitaker, about four desperate individuals who intersect in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve. She was supposedly offered the role of Wonder Woman in the upcoming Justice League film, but she turned the role down. Biel attended the exclusive private Lycée Français de Los Angeles high school. In fall 2000, she enrolled in an undergraduate study at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Having attended there during 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 and yoga. Biel currently resides in Los Angeles.
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