Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982 in Ely, Minnesota), is an American actress, best known as Mary Camden on the television drama 7th Heaven from 1996 to 2002.
Jessica was born in Minnesota to Jonathon Edward Biel and Kimberly Conroe; the family is of German, French, English and Choctaw Native American descent. Biel was raised in Boulder, Colorado, where her family had moved to 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 14 when she played alongside Peter Fonda in his Golden Globe winning performance in Ulee’s Gold (1997).
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 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.
Aside from acting, Jessica became a spokesmodel for L’Oreal cosmetics in 2002.
In 2000, Jessica enrolled in undergraduate study at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She left before completing a degree program in order to pursue her acting career. 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.
Her hobbies include ballet, soccer, running, yoga and hiking. Jessica currently resides in Los Angeles.
In 2000, Jessica 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.
Has one younger brother, Justin.
Is a vegan and active in PETA.
1998: Young Artist Award - Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress in Ulee’’s Gold
Esquire magazine named her the “Sexiest Woman Alive” in a six-part series with each month, revealing a different body part and clue of the woman. The clue most obvious to her identification is that her last name rhymes with what sigillographers are interested in (document seals).
Ranked #98 on VH1′’s 100 Hottest Hotties
Ranked #99 in Stuff magazine’’s “102 Sexiest Women In The World” (2002).
2006 The Illusionist Princess Sophie Post-production
2005 London London Post-production
2005 Elizabethtown Ellen Kishmore
2005 Stealth Kara Wade
2004 Blade: Trinity Abigail Whistler
2004 Cellular Frankie Vitello
2004 It’’s a Digital World voice
2003 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003 film) Erin
2002 The Rules of Attraction Lara Holleran
2001 Summer Catch Tenley Parrish
1998 I”ll Be Home for Christmas Allie
1997 Ulee’’s Gold Casey Jackson
1996 7th Heaven Mary Camden Television series