Jessica Claire Timberlake (née Biel) was born March 3, 1982 and is an American actress and model. Biel began her career as a vocalist appearing in musical productions until she was cast as Mary Camden in the family drama series 7th Heaven (1996–2006), for which she achieved recognition. The series is the longest-running series that aired on The WB channel and the longest-running family drama in television history.
She received further recognition for her lead role as Erin Hardesty in the horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). Biel has since starred in such films as The Rules of Attraction (2002), Blade: Trinity (2004), Stealth (2005), The Illusionist (2006), Valentine’s Day (2010), The A-Team (2010), New Year’s Eve (2011), Total Recall (2012), and Hitchcock (2012).
In 2017, she was the executive producer and star of the USA Network limited drama series The Sinner.
She was born in Ely, Minnesota, to Kimberly (née Conroe), a homemaker and spiritual healer, and Jonathan Biel, a business consultant and General Electric worker. Her paternal great-grandfather was the son of Hungarian-Jewish immigrants, which she discovered on the show Who Do You Think You Are?; she also has German, French, English, and Scandinavian ancestry. Her younger brother, Justin, launched and runs the eco-accessory line BARE. 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 trained as a level six gymnast. From 2000 to 2002, she attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
Biel initially trained to be a vocalist. At age nine, she appeared in several musical productions in her hometown, playing lead roles in productions such as The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast. At age eleven, Biel participated in a competition sponsored by the International Modeling and Talent Association in Los Angeles where she acquired an agent and professional talent manager. She began modeling for print advertisements and appeared in commercials for products such as Dulux Paint and Pringles. In her film debut, Biel played the character Regrettal, a lead role in the ambitious musical film titled It’s a Digital World, produced and directed by Paul Greenberg. At age 14, after auditioning for several television pilots, Biel was cast as Mary Camden, the second oldest child in the family drama 7th Heaven.
Biel landed her first feature film role as Peter Fonda’s granddaughter in the critically acclaimed drama Ulee’s Gold, released in 1997. In spring 1998, during a break from filming 7th Heaven, she co-starred in I’ll Be Home for Christmas with Jonathan Taylor Thomas as the girlfriend of Thomas’ character. When she was 17 years old she posed for a risque photo shoot that appeared in the March 2000 issue of Gear. Producers of 7th Heaven were outraged and brought legal action against Gear. She later expressed regret for doing it, claiming she had been used and that she had been shown different pictures from those published. In 2001, Biel played the love interest of Freddie Prinze, Jr. in the baseball-themed film Summer Catch. In 2002, she starred as promiscuous college student, Lara, in the ensemble film The Rules of Attraction, an adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel. The movie received mixed reviews, became a box office hit, and has since gained a cult following.
On July 18, 2006, Biel participated in a charity auction to raise medical funds for teen Molly Bloom who was injured in a limousine accident. John Schiffner of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, successfully bid $30,000 to have lunch with Biel. Biel and Schiffner lunched at The Palm restaurant in Denver, Colorado on August 18, 2006. In early 2007 Biel co-founded the Make the Difference Network with her father and another business partner, Kent McBride. In 2010 Biel climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with members of the United Nations Foundation to raise awareness of the global water crisis. That same year Biel earned a nomination for a Do Something Award. Biel teamed with nonprofit health care organization WomanCare Global to develop content that will provide girls with sexual education.