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Rachel_Bilson

Rachel Bilson

Rachel Sarah Bilson (born August 25, 1981) is an American actress. After growing up in a California show business family, she made her television debut in 2003 and subsequently became well-known for playing Summer Roberts on the prime time drama series The O.C. Bilson made her film debut in the 2006 film The Last Kiss, appeared as Lou on the NBC show Chuck, and starred in the 2008 action/sci-fi Jumper.

Biography

Early life

Bilson was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Janice (née Stango), a sex therapist, and Danny Bilson, a writer, director, and producer. Rachel Bilson's father is Jewish and her mother is a Philadelphia-born Italian American. Bilson's father comes from a show business family; her great-grandfather, George Bilson, (born in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK) was the head of the trailer department at RKO Pictures, while her Brooklyn-born great-grandmother, Hattie Bilson, was a screenwriter and her grandfather, Bruce Bilson, is a film director. Bilson's parents divorced during her childhood, and in 1997, her father remarried Heather Medway, an actress and the mother of Bilson's half-sister Hattie (born December 19, 2001).

Bilson has been noted as having a "self-destructive, rebellious period" during her teen years. When she was 16, she and a group of her brother's friends were involved in a car accident, a head-on collision with another car. As a result, Bilson was unconscious for a few days, had a scar above her right eye, and sometimes suffers from migraines and memory loss; she has stated that the experience "changed" her, encouraging her to "stop... getting into trouble" and stopping her from "going down that road".

Bilson graduated from Walter Reed Middle School in 1996 and from Notre Dame High School in 1999. During her time at Notre Dame, she appeared in productions of Bye Bye Birdie, Once Upon a Mattress and The Crucible, and appeared on stage together with Katharine McPhee, who attended the same school and would later be a finalist on American Idol.

Career

Bilson attended Grossmont College in San Diego, but dropped out after one year, taking her father's advice to pursue a professional acting career and making several appearances in commercials, including advertisements for Subway restaurants, Raisin Bran and Pepto-Bismol. She made her screen acting debut in early 2003, appearing in episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, and in the short film Unbroken. Bilson was subsequently cast in The O.C., which debuted in August 2003. Her character, Summer Roberts, was initially intended to appear in only a few episodes, but became a series regular after a successful run, as Bilson's on-screen romance with Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) became a noted aspect of the series.

As a result of the success of The O.C., Bilson has become well-known among teenage audiences. At the 2005 Teen Choice Awards, Bilson collected three awards: "Choice Hottie Female", "Choice TV Actress (Drama)" and "Best Onscreen TV Chemistry" (jointly won with Adam Brody). In 2005, Maxim magazine named her sixth in their annual "Hot 100 List"; in 2006, the publication awarded her #14. The UK edition of FHM Magazine named her 28th in the 2006 100 Sexiest Women in the World list, while the US Edition Ranked her 77th in 2005. Bilson was also named one of People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" in 2006. In January 2008, radio host Howard Stern named her the "hottest chick in Hollywood." In UK's FHM, Bilson was named the 16th Sexiest Woman In The World 2008. In the US version of the same list, she was placed at #30.

Bilson's first film role was in The Last Kiss, a romantic comedy-drama also starring Zach Braff and Jacinda Barrett. In the film, which opened on September 15, 2006, Bilson plays a college student who seduces Braff's character. Bilson had long wanted to work with Braff, having admired the film Garden State, which he directed and starred in. A body double was used for the film's sexual scene between Bilson and Braff's characters, as Bilson specified that she "feel[s] really strong[ly]" about not appearing in a nude scene. One review of the film noted that Bilson played the role with "surprising depth", although another critic described her role as "Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction as an airhead valley girl with a hot bod".

Bilson has stated that she prefers acting in feature films to appearing on television, and that she would like the kind of roles "that Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson are offered". She has specified that though she is "grateful" for the success of The O.C., she feels that the show "is over" and that she is "ready to move on" to film roles. In September 2006, unconfirmed reports surfaced that Bilson was linked to star in a film version of the comic book character Wonder Woman; Bilson has stated that these reports were untrue. These reports spawned solely from a Wonder Woman costume she wore in an episode of The O.C.

In late 2006, Bilson was cast in the role of Millie in Doug Liman's thriller Jumper, as the replacement for actress Teresa Palmer; she began filming the role in October of that year and the film was released on February 14, 2008. Rachel also appeared in a two-episode arc on The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz's NBC comedy, Chuck.

She appeared in a segment of the film New York, I Love You, starring alongside Natalie Portman, Robin Wright Penn, Blake Lively and Shia LaBeouf.

Personal life

Bilson began dating her The O.C. co-star Adam Brody in 2003. In 2004, it was reported the two were engaged. In 2005, Brody gave Bilson a pit bull, Penny Lane, as a birthday present. The couple later adopted another dog, Thurmen Murmen, who now lives with Bilson. In late 2006, Bilson and Brody ended their relationship. Bilson has been recognized by several media sources as being a "fashion junkie". She has described herself as having a "vintage" sense of style, and noted Kate Moss and Diane Keaton as inspirations. Her clothes often have a "boho" feel to them. She approached DKNY Jeans in late 2007 with a view to design a clothing line with the popular fashion brand. Together they created Edie Rose, named after Bilson's grandmother. The collection is set to launch in September 2008, and will consist of 15 sportswear pieces in a monochrome colour palette will be offset by pops of yellow, said to be inspired by a yellow scarf Bilson owned. An advertising image was released in July 2008 which featured Bilson modelling her Edie Rose collection.

Bilson enjoys watching television game shows, especially Jeopardy!, and has stated that if she were not acting, she would be a pre-school teacher. Her favorite designers are Stella McCartney, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs and Chanel. Bilson has turned down requests to appear seminude in men's magazines, specifying that she feels that her body "is sacred" and "not there for the whole world to see". However, she has been featured in a pictorial in the men's magazines Stuff and GQ and has posed for mildly salacious photographs wearing colourful underwear. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
2003 8 Simple Rules Jenny 1 episode
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Colleen 1 episode
Unbroken Rachel Short film
The O.C. Summer Roberts 2003–2007
2004 That '70s Show Christy 1 episode
2006 The Last Kiss Kim
2007 Chuck Lou 2 episodes
2008 Jumper Millie Harris
2009 New York, I Love You Molly post-production

References

External links

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