Elizabeth Banks

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For the journalist, see Elizabeth Banks (journalist).
Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks Sept 2014 (cropped).jpg
Banks in September 2014
Born Elizabeth Irene Mitchell
(1974-02-10) February 10, 1974 (age 41)
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Actress, producer and director
Years active 1998–present
Spouse(s) Max Handelman (m. 2003)
Children 2

Elizabeth Banks (born Elizabeth Irene Mitchell;[1][2] February 10, 1974)[3] is an American actress, producer, and director. She made her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy (1998). Banks is known for her roles in such films as Betty Brant in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films (2002–07), Seabiscuit (2003), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Invincible (2006), Definitely, Maybe (2008), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) W. (2008), Role Models (2008), The Uninvited (2009), The Next Three Days (2010), People Like Us (2012), Man on a Ledge (2012), Pitch Perfect (2012), Movie 43 (2013), The Lego Movie (2014), and The Hunger Games film series (2012–15).

On television, Banks had a recurring role as Avery Jessup on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which gained her two Emmy Award nominations. She also had recurring roles on Scrubs and Modern Family.

Early life and education[edit]

Banks was born Elizabeth Irene Mitchell in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and grew up on Brown Street, the eldest of four children of Ann (née Wallace) and Mark P. Mitchell.[4] Her father was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother worked in a bank.[5] She has Irish, English and Scottish ancestry, and has both a Catholic and Protestant family background.[6]

Growing up, she played baseball and rode horses. She was in Little League when she broke her leg sliding into third. She then tried out for the school play which was her start in acting.[7] She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992, and is a member of the Massachusetts Junior Classical League.[8] She attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. Banks graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a major in communications and a concentration in theater arts.[9] In 1998, she completed schooling at the American Conservatory Theater and earned an MFA.


Banks changed her name to avoid confusion with actress Elizabeth Mitchell.[10] She made her acting debut in the 1998 independent film Surrender Dorothy, as Elizabeth Casey, appeared in various films over the next seven years including Guy Ritchie's Swept Away before gaining more prominent widespread exposure through the 2005 comedy film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

In August 2005, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Banks starred in William Inge's Bus Stop as Cherie, the sexy, blonde, aspiring nightclub singer.[11] Jeffrey Borak wrote that Banks' portrayal was acted "with poise, clarity and a shrewd feel for Cherie's complexities. Her performance is all of a piece and in harmony, stylistically, with the performances around her..."[12] In 2005, she appeared on the series Stella, and in May 2006, she had a role in the season five finale of the NBC sitcom Scrubs as Dr. Kim Briggs, the love interest of J.D. (Zach Braff). The character appeared throughout seasons six, seven, and eight as a recurring guest star.

In 2006, Banks appeared in the American football drama film Invincible, in which she played Mark Wahlberg's love interest. Later, she and co-star Wahlberg were nominated for the "Best Kiss" award at the MTV Movie Awards. That same year, she landed the starring role in the comedy-horror film Slither.

In 2007, Banks played the female lead in the comedy film Meet Bill, alongside Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba. That same year, she had a small role in the Christmas comedy film Fred Claus, co-starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti as Santa's little helper, Charlyne. In 2008, she played a love interest in the comedy film Definitely, Maybe, alongside Isla Fisher and Ryan Reynolds, starred with Seth Rogen as the eponymous female lead in the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and played United States First Lady Laura Bush in W., Oliver Stone's biopic of George W. Bush.[13]

In 2009, Banks appeared in the thriller The Uninvited, a remake of the Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters.[14] The film was about an intrusive stepmother who makes life miserable for the teen daughters of her new husband. Banks based her character, Rachel, on Rebecca De Mornay's character in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle".[15] "It was very important to me that every line reading I gave could be interpreted two ways," says Banks of her role, "So that when you go back through the movie you can see that".[15]

Banks is a frequent co-star of actor Paul Rudd, the two having appeared in five films together to date (Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models, and Our Idiot Brother).[16] She is also a frequent co-star of actor Tobey Maguire, the two having also appeared in five films together (Spider-Man, Seabiscuit, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, and The Details)[17]

Banks was cast as a love interest for Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) in the fourth season of the Emmy Award–winning sitcom 30 Rock.[18] Intended to appear in four episodes in 2010, Banks went on to become a recurring character with 13 appearances by the end of the fifth season, including her marriage in the episode Mrs. Donaghy. Her performance in season five earned her a nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Banks appeared in the movie The Hunger Games, playing Effie Trinket, a woman from "The Capitol" who escorts the District 12 tributes to the Hunger Games. She continued in the role in the 2013 film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and in 2014's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.

Banks portrayed Melinda Ledbetter Wilson, the wife of Brian Wilson, in the 2014 biopic Love and Mercy, which is based on the life of the legendary musician and founding member of The Beach Boys, as portrayed by John Cusack.

Personal life[edit]

Banks met her husband, sportswriter and producer Max Handelman,[19] on her first day at college on September 6, 1992. They were married in 2003.[20] She and her husband had their first child, Felix, who was born through a surrogate in March 2011.[21] In November 2012, Banks announced the birth of another son, Magnus Mitchell, also born by surrogate.[22]

Banks went through parts of the process of conversion to Judaism, her husband's faith, and studied with rabbis. In 2013, speaking of her religion, she stated that she practices Judaism, though "I did not have my mikveh, so technically I'm not converted", and added, "Frankly, because I'm already doing everything [practicing religious rituals], I feel like I'm as Jewish as I'm ever going to be".[23][24]


Banks at the New York premiere of What to Expect When You're Expecting in May 2012


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Surrender Dorothy Vicki Credited as Elizabeth Casey
2000 Shaft Trey's friend Credited as Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell
2001 Wet Hot American Summer Lindsay
2001 Ordinary Sinner Rachel
2002 Spider-Man Betty Brant
2002 Swept Away Debi
2002 Catch Me If You Can Lucy Forrest
2003 The Trade Sioux Sever
2003 Seabiscuit Marcela Howard
2004 Spider-Man 2 Betty Brant
2005 Heights Isabel
2005 Sexual Life Sarah
2005 The Sisters Nancy Pecket
2005 The Baxter Caroline Swann
2005 The 40-Year-Old Virgin Beth
2005 Daltry Calhoun May
2006 Slither Starla Grant
2006 Invincible Janet Cantrell
2007 Spider-Man 3 Betty Brant
2007 Meet Bill Jess
2007 Fred Claus Charlene
2008 Definitely, Maybe Emily Jones
2008 Meet Dave Gina Morrison
2008 Lovely, Still Alex
2008 Zack and Miri Make a Porno Miriam "Miri" Linky
2008 W. Laura Bush
2008 Role Models Beth Jones
2009 Big Breaks Starlet Short film
2009 The Uninvited Rachel Summers
2009 Surrogates Executive producer
2010 The Next Three Days Lara Brennan
2011 The Details Nealy Lang
2011 Just a Little Heart Attack Woman Short film; also director
2011 Our Idiot Brother Miranda
2012 Man on a Ledge Lydia Mercer
2012 The Hunger Games Effie Trinket
2012 What to Expect When You're Expecting Wendy
2012 People Like Us Frankie
2012 Pitch Perfect Gail Abernathy-McKadden Also producer
2013 Movie 43 Amy Segment: "Beezel"; also directed the segment "Middleschool Date"
2013 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Effie Trinket
2014 Little Accidents Diane Doyle
2014 The Lego Movie Wyldstyle / Lucy Voice
2014 Walk of Shame Meghan Miles
2014 Every Secret Thing Detective Nancy Porter
2014 Love and Mercy Melinda Ledbetter Wilson
2014 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Effie Trinket
2015 Pitch Perfect 2 Gail Abernathy-McKadden Also director and producer
2015 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Effie Trinket In post-production
2015 Magic Mike XXL In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1999 All My Children Waitress One episode
1999 Third Watch Elaine Elchisak Episode: "Patterns" (credited as Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell)
2000 Sex and the City Catherine Episode: "Politically Erect"
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jaina Tobias Jansen Episode: "Sacrifice"
2002 Without a Trace Clarissa Episode: "Snatch Back"
2005 Stella Tamara Episode: "Meeting Girls"
Scrubs Dr. Kim Briggs 15 episodes
2007–08 Wainy Days Shelly 3 episodes
2007–08 American Dad! Becky Arangino
Lisa Silver
3 episodes; voice
2008 Comanche Moon Maggie Tilton Miniseries
2009/13/14/15 Modern Family Sal 4 episodes
2010–12 30 Rock Avery Jessup 15 episodes
2012 Family Guy Pam Fishman (voice) Episode: "Into Fat Air"
2012 Robot Chicken Mrs. Claus / Shana 'Scarlett' O'Hara (voice) Episode: "Robot Chicken's ATM Christmas Special"
2013 Timms Valley Beth Billings-Timms (voice) Pilot
2014 Phineas and Ferb Grulinda (voice) Episode: "Imperfect Storm"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
2003 Young Hollywood Awards Exciting New Face[citation needed] N/A Won
2004 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (shared with rest of cast) Seabiscuit Nominated
2007 MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss Shared with Mark Wahlberg Invincible Nominated
2009 Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards Face of the Future Award N/A Won
2011 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series 30 Rock Nominated
2012 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series 30 Rock Nominated
2012 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Female Scene Stealer The Hunger Games Nominated
2012 MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Transformation The Hunger Games Won
2013 San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actress The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Nominated
2013 CinemaCon Excellence in Acting[citation needed] N/A Won
2014 MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Transformation The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Nominated


  1. ^ Vary, Adam B. (2008-10-20). "Elizabeth Banks Fall's First Lady Elizabeth Banks Movie Spotlight Movies Entertainment Weekly 2". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  2. ^ "Elizabeth Irene Mitchell". familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1246): 24. Feb 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ Jessica Willis (October 21, 2008). "From Pittsfield to the big screen". The Berkshire Eagle. 
  5. ^ James Mottram (2008-11-08). "Elizabeth Banks: from the top-shelf to First Lady in W.". The Times (London). Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  6. ^ "Elizabeth Banks". Twitter. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  7. ^ "About Elizabeth Banks". yahoo movies. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Elizabeth Banks Was A Sexy-Flirty Latin Clubber". TeamCoco. September 24, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ "How to Succeed in Business by Really, Really Trying". Penn Gazette. December 22, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ Strauss, Bob (2008-10-27). "From first lady to Porno star actress: Elizabeth Banks dishes the dirt". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  11. ^ Sommer, Elyse. 2005, Curtain Up.
  12. ^ Borak, Jeffrey 2005. "Love blooms in a Kansas diner", Berkshire Eagle August 20, Art section.
  13. ^ Elizabeth Banks is Oliver Stone's Laura Bush "Elizabeth Banks is Oliver Stone's Laura Bush - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  14. ^ Barton, Steve (2010-03-01). "Elizabeth Banks to Head Out into the Dark Fields?". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  15. ^ a b "Elizabeth Banks: The Uninvited". SuicideGirls.com. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  16. ^ On, Cs (2010-02-27). "Elizabeth Banks Entering Dark Fields?". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  17. ^ "Tobey Maguire on New Spider-Man Film". YouTube.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  18. ^ Joyce Eng. "Elizabeth Banks to Guest-Star on 30 Rock". TVGuide.com. 
  19. ^ "Celebrity Wedding: Elizabeth Banks & Max Handelman". In Style. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  20. ^ Tiger, Caroline 2010. "How to Succeed in Show Business by Really Really Trying". The Pennsylvania Gazette Jan.-Feb., Vol. 108, No. 3, pp. 46-50.
  21. ^ Michaud, Sarah (March 31, 2011). "Elizabeth Banks Names 'Miracle' Baby Felix". people.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  22. ^ Banks, Elizabeth (November 14, 2012). "IT'S A BOY!". elizabethbanks.com. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  23. ^ Butnick, Stephanie (January 17, 2013). "Jewish Actress Elizabeth Banks Discusses Her Conversion With Marc Maron". Jewcy. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Episode 352 - Elizabeth Banks". WTF with Marc Maron. January 14, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 

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