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.
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.
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.
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.
|2003||8 Simple Rules||Jenny||1 episode|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Colleen||1 episode|
|The O.C.||Summer Roberts||2003–2007|
|2004||That '70s Show||Christy||1 episode|
|2006||The Last Kiss||Kim|
|2009||New York, I Love You||Molly||post-production|