Actress Elizabeth Banks was born Elizabeth Mitchell in Pittsfield, a small city in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts near the New York border, on February 10, 1974. She describes herself as having been seen as a "goody two-shoes" in her youth who was nominated for the local Harvest Queen.
Banks left home to attend college at the University of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated Magna cum Laude, and went on to attend the Advanced Training Program at the prestigious American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, from which she graduated in 1996. She then moved to New York and worked in the theater as well as obtaining her first roles on-screen, small parts in movies and guest-star roles on television series. Seeking more screen work, Banks moved to Los Angeles and the supporting roles soon came, and required that she change her name to avoid confusion with another actress named Elizabeth Mitchell.
Her first breakthrough role was as Betty Brant, the secretary of the cantankerous newspaper tycoon in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (2002). Banks followed up this performance with small roles in other movies: Swept Away (2002), Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can (2002), Seabiscuit (2003), and The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005). In 2003, she won the Exciting New Face Award at the Young Hollywood Awards.
Although the winsome, beautiful Banks projected an exceptionally-charming screen presence that drew comparisons to Audrey Hepburn, she primarily remained in supporting roles. Audiences began to take notice when Banks took the lead in such films as Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) and as Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's biopic of George W. Bush, W. (2008/I).
In television, Banks was a recurring guest star on "Scrubs" (2001) as Dr. Kim Briggs, the love interest of Zach Braff's J.D. In 2010, she was cast as Alec Baldwin's love interest in season four of "30 Rock" (2006). Originally her character was only scheduled to appear in four episodes, but she was brought back as a recurring character for two more seasons, and earned Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for two consecutive years.
Now in the spotlight, Banks appeared in back to back films, co-starring in Our Idiot Brother (2011), Man on a Ledge (2012), What to Expect When You're Expecting (2012), and People Like Us (2012). She also won the highly coveted role as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games (2012). In 2012-2013, she will also star in such films as Pitch Perfect (2012), Frank or Francis (????), and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).
Banks married her husband, Max Handelman, a sports writer and producer, in 2003. They welcomed a son, Felix Handleman, who was born via a surrogate in March 2011.
|Max Handelman||(5 July 2003 - present) 2 children|
Graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta. Was the first in her family to graduate from college.
Graduated from American Conservatory Theater's Advanced Training Program in 1998.
Enjoys fantasy football as a hobby.
Wife of Max Handelman. She and her husband work as a production team (Brownstone Productions). They met at the University of Pennsylvania.
College friends with Todd Lieberman.
Oldest of four children in a divided house. (Her mom was for the Boston Red Sox and her dad was for the New York Yankees.).
Converted to Judaism after marrying her husband in 2003.
Taking a course on flying the trapeze with a girlfriend (2008).
Her father, Mark Mitchell, was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother, Ann Mitchell, worked, until recently, in a bank.
As a young child, she was a contestant on the Nickelodeon game show "Finders Keepers" (1987).
Graduated from Pittsfield (Massachusetts) High School in 1992.
Poltergeist (1982) was the scariest movie she has ever seen. She saw it, with her sister, when she was eleven.
Is a major fan of David Letterman.
Bad Santa (2003) is her favorite holiday movie.
Ranked #83 in the 2011 FHM list of "100 Sexiest Women in the World.".
Has a brother named Geoff.
Has a weakness for cupcakes.
Ranked #39 in the 2010 FHM UK list of "100 Sexiest Women in the World.".
In a 2012 interview with Slate, Elizabeth Banks said that she considered her role in the 1998 independent movie, Surrender Dorothy (1998), to be one of the worst mistakes in her career, so far. She also said that it was instrumental in her decision to attend drama school, so that she could receive training that would enable her never to have to be in this type of movie, again.
Returned to work 2 months after the birth of her son Felix in order to begin filming The Hunger Games (2012).
Former brownie and girl scout.
In 2012, she threw her support behind President Barack Obama in a highly personal video testimonial on the importance of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Became a mother for the 1st time at age 37, when her son, Felix Handelman, was born in March 2011 via surrogate. Child's father is her husband, Max Handelman.
Became a mother for the 2nd time at age 38, when her son, Magnus Mitchell Handelman, was born in November 2012, via surrogate. Child's father is her husband, Max Handelman.
Welcomed a second son via surrogate mid fall 2012, named Magnus Mitchell.
I really think that we do a disservice to young people in America by not being more open about sex. Abstinence programs do not work. It's a natural, physical thing having sex.
I'm pleased that Hollywood hasn't figured out how to pigeonhole me yet..."
I love physical comedy. I love Oscar Wilde, I love Shakespeare comedies, I love improv. I knew I had a knack for it at a certain level, but I came into this business as a classically trained drama student and that was my reputation. When you live in a leading lady's body, which I do, you have to constantly prove that you are funny.
Every once in a while I play a true idiot, and they're really fun to play.
(2009) Appeared in a commercial for L'Oreal Paris "Preference".
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