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Rachel Sarah Bilson (born August 25, 1981) is an American actress who portryed Colleen in the episode Dirty Girls of the hit TV Series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Bilson grew up in a California show business family, and made her television debut in 2003, subsequently becoming 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 and starred in the 2008 action/science fiction film Jumper. She is currently starring as Dr. Zoe Hart on The CW's Hart of Dixie.
Bilson was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of Janice (née Stango), a sex therapist, and Danny Bilson, a writer, director, and producer. Her father is Jewish, and her mother, a native of Philadelphia, is Italian American Bilson's father comes from a show business family; her great-grandfather, George Bilson (born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England), was the head of the trailer department at RKO Pictures; her Brooklyn-born great-grandmother, Hattie Bilson, was a screenwriter; and her grandfather, Bruce Bilson, is a film director. Bilson's parents divorced when she was nine years old, and in 1997, her father remarried Heather Medway, an actress and the mother of Bilson's half-sisters Hattie and Rosemary.
Bilson had what has been described as a "self-destructive, rebellious period" during her teen years. When she was 14, 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, has 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" and because of this experience she learned to play the piano. Bilson graduated from Walter Reed Middle School in 1995 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.
Bilson attended Grossmont College in a suburb of San Diego, but dropped out after one year, taking her father's advice to pursue a professional acting career. She then made 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 one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a Colleen, potential Slayer and 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. 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.
Bilson's first film role was in The Last Kiss, a romantic comedy-drama also starring Zach Braff. In the film, which opened in 2006, she plays a college student who seduces Braff's character. It was reported that she called for a body double during the sex scenes because she was uncomfortable being nude in front of the camera. She does appear in the scene for the final film, wearing a flesh-coloured bra. "I was terrified!" she admitted. "But Zach really helped me through it, and we're friends, so he made it very comfortable, and Tony made it very comfortable, and it was actually a really nice setting. And I'm happy I did it, because I can say I did my first sex scene, and I never have to do that again!" 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.
In late 2006, Bilson was cast in the role of Millie in Doug Liman's thriller Jumper, as the replacement for actress Teresa Palmer; the film was released on February 14, 2008. She also appeared in a two-episode arc on The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz's NBC comedy, Chuck, and in the film New York, I Love You, and appeared in the 100th episode of How I Met Your Mother, "Girls Versus Suits", as Ted Mosby's latest love interest. How I Met Your Mother also star fellow Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast member Alyson Hannigan who portrayed powerful witch, Willow Rosenberg In September 2008, she started shooting the indie romantic film Waiting For Forever, directed by James Keach. In September 2009 Rachel appeared as a celebrity guest judge in the third episode of Project Runway (season 6). She stars in the upcoming indie film BBF & Baby next to Krysten Ritter and Kate Bosworth. The film began production in Los Angeles in October 2010.
It was announced in 2011 that Bilson was set to star in a new The CW series called Hart of Dixie executive produced by The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz. Bilson and Schwartz, who already had worked together on The O.C and Chuck, were previously set to work again together on the NBC show Ghost Angeles, but the supernatural romantic comedy was dropped.
Bilson also launched a shoe range in 2011.
Bilson and Adam Brody, her co-star on The O.C., dated for three years, ending in 2006. She met Hayden Christensen on the set of Jumper in 2007 and became engaged in 2008. In mid-2010 the couple split up, but were dating again a few months later.
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 has 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. The collection was launched in September 2008. It consisted of mainly black and white separates with a splash of yellow that could easily work with an existing wardrobe. Her idea was to keep fashionable items accessible to young women by keeping the prices of each piece under $100. An advertising image was released in July 2008 which featured Bilson modelling her Edie Rose collection. Of her line, she said in an interview with Teen Vogue that "I wanted to keep it as separate as possible from Rachel Bilson the actress. I'm hoping people will appreciate it for the clothes, not the person behind them." Much of her fashion collection was lost when her home was burgled in May 2009. Bilson's fashions and sense of style made her the unwitting target of the Bling Ring, who burgled her home on several occasions.
Before appearing in Maxim, Bilson had 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".
Graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1999
Participated in stage productions of "Bye Bye Birdie," "Once Upon A Mattress" and "The Crucible."
She has two younger step-sisters: Hattie Elizabeth Bilson who was born on December 19, 2001 and Rosemary Bilson who was born February 10, 2007. Their mother is Heather Medway.
Grandaughter of Bruce Bilson
Niece of Julie Ahlberg
Was a recurring character on "The O.C." (2003) until she was offered a contract, and became a regular. She was added to the opening credits in the episode, "The Countdown".
Has a passion for basketball and is a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Is a fan of fashion. Her favourite designers are Stella McCartney and Coco Chanel.
Resides in a two-bedroom condo in Hollywood Hills that has been in her family for years with her best friend.
Some of her favorite actors include Kate Winslet, Johnny Depp, Audrey Hepburn, and Woody Allen.
Is the spokesperson for Bongo jeans.
Daughter of writer/director Danny Bilson and stepdaughter of Heather Medway.
Great-granddaughter of George Bilson and Hattie Bilson
She likes to collect vintage shoes and purses.
Attended the same high school (Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles) as Kirsten Dunst, but was a grade ahead of her, and Katharine McPhee.
Named #6 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 Women of 2005 list.
Ranked as #77 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005" special supplement. (2005)
At age 14, she was involved in a head-on car accident, was unconscious for 4 days and as a result has a scar above her right eyebrow.
Split from her boyfriend of over two years, her "The O.C." (2003) co-star Adam Brody.
Ranked #39 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 Women of 2007 list.
Is of Italian ancestry on her mother's side, and her father is Jewish.
Ranked #28 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 Women of 2008 list.
Was engaged to her Jumper (2008) co-star and then boyfriend Hayden Christensen from February 2009 until June 2010.
She has partnered with DKNY to create and market a designer jeans line called Edie Rose.
Is best friends with Mischa Barton and Samaire Armstrong.
She has described herself as having a "vintage" sense of style, and noted Kate Moss and Diane Keaton. as inspirations.
She's InStyle's columnist.
Has two younger half- sisters, Hattie & Rosemary, from her father's second marriage.
Learned to play the piano after a serious car accident when she was younger to help with her hand eye coordination.
On September 20, 2008, Rachel acted as maid of honor during the wedding of her close friend, Jill Stonerick, to "The O.C." (2003) creator Josh Schwartz. She also designed the dresses for the bridesmaids.
Shares a birthday of August 25 with her great-grandfather George Bilson.
Ranked #49 in the 2011 FHM Australia list of "100 Sexiest Women in the World".
Ranked #34 in the 2010 FHM UK list of "100 Sexiest Women in the World".
Auditioned for Rapunzel in Tangled (2010) but lost out to Mandy Moore.
I grew up sort of like a princess. I know that sounds awful, but I was the baby of the family. I had older brothers, so the little girl always gets everything she wants. As I've gotten older, I've realized that if you want something bad enough, you can have it. I've never gone after something I didn't get. Not yet.
It's great playing someone who is not like me at all. I'm really a nice girl, so it's fun to be a bitch, then come home and be myself again. When I meet people now, they're surprised that I'm a good person.
I love the fact that we play people who are not like us at all and we can just go crazy at work and then be very normal after filming.
I feel very lucky to work in the environment that I work in. I'm surrounded by people that I love and care about and who make me laugh every day. I get to work with my friends and you really can't ask for more than that.
A lot of people are surprised by how nice I am. Summer and I are both driven, but I'm not snobby. I'm a pretty good conversationalist and I like meeting new people.
I feel like you have to be who you are and be true to yourself first, always. You can't worry about how your're going to be perceived by other people. I have a quote that my mom taught me: 'It's none of my business what other people think of me.'
"Josh Schwartz likes to dress me up. It's uncomfortable being in that Little Miss Vixen outfit for 17 hours, but it's fun as long as you can make fun of yourself. That's key".
I kind of just take things one day at a time and do what I do and hope that I'm not known as Summer Roberts for the rest of my life. But I'm grateful that she is known, and that I'm known for her, because it's really brought me everything.
It was like second nature in a way, because I was familiar with the sets and stuff and it wasn't like a strange world. It was like all things in life: You try it and if it makes you happy, it sticks. (On starting professional acting.)
I feel pretty strongly about it, morally. It's not necessary to be exploited in that kind of way. I can't say that I'll never do it, but I don't see a reason now, especially when you're still trying to establish yourself. It's just more important to be known for your acting and that you're not willing to strip down for a scene. (On her refusal to film nude scenes.)
I hate it when people are like, 'How do you stay thin?' or 'Do you work out? What's your routine? What's your diet?' Then it's like, 'If I tell you I don't, then are you going to give me a hard time?'
Rachel Bilson portrayed the potential slayer Colleen.