Elizabeth Banks

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Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks Sept 2014 (cropped).jpg
Banks in 2014
Elizabeth Irene Mitchell

(1974-02-10) February 10, 1974 (age 45)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA)
American Conservatory Theater (MFA)
  • Actress
  • director
  • writer
  • producer
Years active1998–present
Max Handelman (m. 2003)

Elizabeth Irene Banks (née Mitchell;[1][2] born February 10, 1974)[3] is an American actress, director, writer, and producer. She is best known for starring as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games film series (2012–2015) and as Gail Abernathy-McKadden in the Pitch Perfect film series (2012–2017). Banks made her directorial film debut with Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), whose $69 million opening-weekend gross set a record for a first-time director.[4][5] She also directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the action comedy film Charlie's Angels (2019).

Banks made her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy (1998). She starred in the films Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007), Seabiscuit (2003), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Slither (2006), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), Role Models (2008), The Next Three Days (2010), Man on a Ledge (2012), What to Expect When You're Expecting (2012), The Lego Movie (2014), Love & Mercy (2014), Magic Mike XXL (2015), Power Rangers (2017), The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019), and Brightburn (2019).

On television, Banks had a recurring role as Avery Jessup on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She also had recurring roles on the comedy series Scrubs and Modern Family, the latter of which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. Banks starred in the Netflix miniseries Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015) and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (2017). As of 2019, she hosts a revival of the 1980s game show Press Your Luck on ABC.

Early life[edit]

Banks was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and grew up on Brown Street, the eldest of four children of Ann (née Wallace) and Mark P. Mitchell.[6] Her father, a Vietnam veteran, was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother worked in a bank.[7] She has said that she grew up "Irish + WASP + Catholic."[8]

In an interview promoting the ABC revival of Press Your Luck, Banks talked about being a latchkey kid and watching a lot of game shows after school, among them the original CBS version of Press Your Luck.[9] This would later influence her decision to serve as hostess and executive producer of the ABC revival.

Growing up, Banks played baseball and rode horses. She was in Little League when she broke her leg sliding into third base. She then tried out for the school play, which was her start in acting.[10] She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992, and is a member of the Massachusetts Junior Classical League.[11] She attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority and was elected to the Friars Senior Society. She graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a major in communications and a minor in theater arts.[12] In 1998, she completed schooling at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, where she earned an MFA degree.[13][14]


1998–2005: Early career and breakthrough[edit]

Banks at the Spider-Man 3 premiere in 2007

Banks changed her name upon joining the Screen Actors Guild, as actress Elizabeth Mitchell was already registered in the union under that name.[15]

After auditioning in New York, she was offered a role on the soap opera Santa Barbara. Taking the role would have required her to quit her education at the American Conservatory Theatre, and Banks ultimately decided to forgo the offer due to having taken out student loans to complete her degree.[16] She made her acting debut in the 1998 independent film Surrender Dorothy, as Elizabeth Casey, and appeared in various films over the next seven years including Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Swept Away (2002), and Seabiscuit (2003).[17]

In 2002, Banks set up her own production company called Brownstone Productions with her husband, Max Handelman.

Banks gained more prominent widespread exposure with her role in the 2005 comedy film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.[18] In August 2005, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Banks starred in William Inge's Bus Stop as Cherie, the sexy blonde aspiring nightclub singer.[19] 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."[20] 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). Banks appeared throughout seasons six, seven, and eight as a recurring guest star.[21]

2006–2014: Further success and recognition[edit]

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.[22] That same year, she landed the starring role in the comedy-horror film Slither.[23]

In 2007, Banks played the female lead in the comedy film Meet Bill, alongside Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba.[21] That same year, she had a small role as Santa's little helper, Charlyne, in the Christmas comedy film Fred Claus, co-starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti. In 2008, she played the ex-wife and mother of the daughter of Ryan Reynolds lead in the comedy film Definitely, Maybe, alongside Isla Fisher and Ryan Reynolds,[24] starred with Seth Rogen as the eponymous female lead in the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno,[21] and played United States First Lady Laura Bush in W., Oliver Stone's biopic of George W. Bush.[25]

Banks at the What to Expect When You're Expecting premiere in 2012

In 2009, Banks appeared in the horror film The Uninvited, a remake of the South Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters.[26] 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.[27] "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".[27]

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).[28] 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).[29]

Banks was cast as a love interest for Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) in the fourth season of the Emmy Award-winning sitcom 30 Rock.[30] 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.[31]

In 2012, Banks starred in the romantic comedy film What to Expect When You're Expecting and the action film Man on a Ledge. She also starred as Gail Abernathy-McKadden in the musical comedy film Pitch Perfect, which became a critical and commercial success.

Banks starred in the science fiction adventure film The Hunger Games (2012), playing Effie Trinket, a woman from "The Capitol" who escorts the District 12 tributes to the annual Hunger Games. She went on to reprise the role in the sequel films The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015).[21] Banks co-starred in the 2014 movie Every Secret Thing, playing Detective Nancy Porter investigating the disappearance of a young child with similarities to a case she had previously been involved with.[32]

Banks at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con

In 2014, Banks was recognized by Elle Magazine during The Women in Hollywood Awards, honoring women for their outstanding achievements in film, spanning all aspects of the motion picture industry, including acting, directing, and producing.[33]

2015–present: Directorial debut and continued success[edit]

After producing and starring in the film Pitch Perfect, Banks directed its sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), making her feature directorial debut. She also co-produced and starred in both Pitch Perfect 2 and the next sequel, Pitch Perfect 3 (2017).[34]

Banks portrayed Melinda Ledbetter Wilson, the wife of Brian Wilson, in the 2015 biopic Love & Mercy, which is based on the life of the legendary musician and founding member of The Beach Boys, as portrayed by John Cusack.[35]

In 2015, she was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. The festival is chaired by Alfonso Cuarón.[36] Also in 2015, Banks became a spokeswoman for Realtor.com in their series of television commercials.[37] As of mid-February 2016, Banks became the commercial face of Old Navy.[38] She also played space alien Rita Repulsa in the 2017 Power Rangers reboot film.[39]

In 2018, Banks co-starred as Jenny in the comedy film The Happytime Murders, alongside Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph.[40] In 2019, she reprised her starring role as Lucy / Wyldstyle in the animated comedy film The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. She then starred as Tori Breyer in the superhero horror film Brightburn.

On May 2, 2019, ABC announced Banks as the host of the summer 2019 revival of the game show Press Your Luck.[41] Banks directed, produced, wrote, and starred as Bosley in the action comedy film Charlie's Angels, which is set for release in November 2019.[42] She will also appear in the FX miniseries Mrs. America as Jill Ruckelshaus.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Banks during a USO visit at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in 2015

Banks met her husband, Max Handelman, a sportswriter and producer from Portland, Oregon,[44] on her first day of college on September 7, 1992. They were married in 2003. The couple have two sons.[45] She and her husband had their first child born through a surrogate in March 2011.[46] In November 2012, Banks announced the birth of another son also by a surrogate.[47]

Banks went through parts 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," but that she has "been essentially a Jew for like 15 years," adding "Frankly, because I'm already doing everything [practicing religious rituals], I feel like I'm as Jewish as I'm ever going to be."[48][49]

Banks was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign[50] and was involved in a rendition of Rachel Platten's single "Fight Song" with other celebrities at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[51]



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
Ordinary Sinner Rachel
2002 Spider-Man Betty Brant
Swept Away Debi
Catch Me If You Can Lucy Forrest
2003 The Trade Sioux Sever
Seabiscuit Marcela Howard
2004 Spider-Man 2 Betty Brant
2005 Heights Isabel Lee
Sexual Life Sarah
The Sisters Nancy Pecket
The Baxter Caroline Swann
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Beth
Daltry Calhoun May
2006 Slither Starla Grant
Invincible Janet Cantrell
2007 Spider-Man 3 Betty Brant
Meet Bill Jess
Fred Claus Charlene
2008 Definitely, Maybe Emily Jones
Meet Dave Gina Morrison
Lovely, Still Alex
W. Laura Bush
Zack and Miri Make a Porno Miriam "Miri" Linky
Role Models Beth Jones
2009 Big Breaks Starlet Short film
The Uninvited Rachel Summers
Surrogates N/A Executive producer
2010 The Next Three Days Lara Brennan
2011 The Details Nealy Lang
Just a Little Heart Attack Woman Short film
Also director
Our Idiot Brother Miranda Rochlin
2012 Man on a Ledge Lydia Mercer
The Hunger Games Effie Trinket
What to Expect When You're Expecting Wendy Cooper
People Like Us Frankie Davis
Pitch Perfect Gail Abernathy-McKadden Also producer
2013 Movie 43 Amy Segment: "Beezel"; directed segment: "Middleschool Date"
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Effie Trinket
2014 Little Accidents Diane Doyle
The Lego Movie Lucy / Wyldstyle Voice role
Walk of Shame Meghan Miles
Every Secret Thing Detective Nancy Porter
Love & Mercy Melinda Ledbetter
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Effie Trinket
2015 Pitch Perfect 2 Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberger Also director and producer
Magic Mike XXL Paris
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Effie Trinket
2017 The Most Hated Woman in America N/A Producer
Power Rangers Rita Repulsa
Pitch Perfect 3 Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberger Also producer
2018 The Happytime Murders Jenny
2019 The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Lucy / Wyldstyle Voice role
Brightburn Tori Breyer
Charlie's Angels Bosley[52] Also director, producer and screenwriter


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Keep Going Safety Ben's Mom Voice role
1999 All My Children Rosalie 1 episode
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"
2002-2007 American Bikers Emma Wilder (voice) Main cast
2005 Stella Tamara Episode: "Meeting Girls"
2006–09 Scrubs Dr. Kim Briggs 17 episodes
2007–08 Wainy Days Shelly 3 episodes
American Dad! Becky Arangino / Lisa Silver Voice role; 3 episodes
2008 Comanche Moon Maggie Tilton 3 episodes
Modern Family Sal 6 episodes
2010–12 30 Rock Avery Jessup 15 episodes
2012 Family Guy Pam Fishman Voice role; episode: "Into Fat Air"
Robot Chicken Mrs. Claus / Shana "Scarlett" O'Hara Voice role; episode: "Robot Chicken's ATM Christmas Special"
Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself Episode: "Elizabeth Banks Wears a Red Dress"
2013 Timms Valley Beth Billings-Timms Voice role; pilot
2014 Phineas and Ferb Grulinda Voice role; episode: "Imperfect Storm"
2015 Resident Advisors Doctor Episode: "Motivational Speaker "; also producer
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Lindsay 6 episodes
Moonbeam City Chief Pizzaz Miller Voice role; 10 episodes
The Muppets Herself Episode: "Pig Girls Don't Cry"
Saturday Night Live Herself / Host Episode: "Elizabeth Banks / Disclosure"
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later Lindsay 5 episodes
Curb Your Enthusiasm Herself Episode: "A Disturbance in the Kitchen"
2019 Random Acts Vex Voice role; episode: "The Phantom Thief"
Shrill N/A Executive producer; 6 episodes
Press Your Luck Herself Host and executive producer
2020 Mrs. America Jill Ruckelshaus Miniseries; filming

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role Ref.
2016 "Our Fight Song" Various Artists Herself (singer) [53]
2018 "Girls Like You" (Original, Volume 2 and Vertical Video versions) Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B Herself [54][55][56]
"Crushin' It" The Slay Team Mogul Mama [57]
2019 "Don't Call Me Angel" (Original and Lyric Video versions) Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey Bosley [58][59]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
2015 Lego Dimensions Lucy / Wyldstyle

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Association Category Result Ref.
2003 Seabiscuit Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated [60]
2006 Invincible MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss Nominated [22]
Slither Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Relationship from Hell Nominated
2008 W. Detroit Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Nominated [61]
2009 N/A Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards Face of the Future Award Won [62]
The Uninvited Fright Meter Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2011 30 Rock Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [31]
Gold Derby Awards Best Comedy Guest actress Nominated
2012 The Hunger Games MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Transformation Won [63]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Female Scene Stealer Nominated [64]
30 Rock Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [31]
2013 Movie 43 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Director Won [65]
N/A CinemaCon Excellence in Acting Won [66]
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Transformation Nominated [67]
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated [68]
Modern Family Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [69]
Gold Derby Awards Best Comedy Guest Actress Nominated
2014 The Lego Movie BTVA Awards Best Female Lead Vocal Performance Nominated [70]
Best Vocal Ensemble Nominated
BTVA People's Choice Awards Best Female Lead Vocal Performance Won
Best Vocal Ensemble Won
Love & Mercy Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated [71]
Austin Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated [72]
Indiana Film Journalists Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated [73]
Denver Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Nominated [74]
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Won [75]
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actress Nominated [76]
Georgia Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Award Won [77]
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated [78]
2015 N/A CinemaCon Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year Won [79]
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Transformation Won [80]
Modern Family Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [81]
Gold Derby Awards Best Comedy Guest Actress Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [31]
Pitch Perfect 2 Golden Raspberry Awards The Razzie Redeemer Award Nominated [82]
2016 Lego Dimensions BTVA Awards Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game Won
BTVA People's Choice Awards Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game Won
2017 Power Rangers Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Villain Nominated


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External links[edit]