Published on January 19, 2011 by Christian
Jessica Claire Biel (born March 3, 1982) is an American actress, model, and occasional singer. Biel is known for her television role as Mary Camden in the long-running family-drama series 7th Heaven. She has also appeared in several Hollywood films, including Summer Catch, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and The A-Team.
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Jessica Claire Biel was born in Ely, Minnesota. Her mother, Kimberly (née Conroe), is a homemaker and spiritual healer. Her father, Jonathan Biel, worked for GE as well as being an entrepreneur and business consultant. She has a younger brother, Justin, born in 1985, and is of German, French, English, and Choctaw ancestry. Biel’s family moved frequently during her childhood, living in Texas, Connecticut, and Woodstock, Illinois, before finally settling in Boulder, Colorado. While growing up, Biel played soccer and also trained as a gymnast. She is also an avid snowboarder. From 2000 to 2002, she attended Tufts University in Medford, MA.
Biel initially trained to be a vocalist, and from age nine appeared in several musical productions in her hometown, playing lead roles in productions such as Annie, The Sound of Music, and Beauty and the Beast.
At twelve, Biel attended The International Modeling and Talent Association conference in Los Angeles where she was discovered and signed by a talent agency. She began modeling for print advertisements, and appeared in commercials for products such as Dulux Paint and Pringles.
Biel also played the character Regrettal, a lead role in a low-budget musical short titled It’s a Digital World, but the film was never released. At fourteen, after auditioning for several television pilots, Biel was cast as Mary Camden, the oldest daughter in the family drama 7th Heaven. The show ran 11 seasons, making it the longest-running family drama in U.S. television history.