Elizabeth Banks

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Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks Sept 2014 (cropped).jpg
Banks in September 2014
BornElizabeth Irene Mitchell
(1974-02-10) February 10, 1974 (age 40)
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
OccupationActress, producer and director
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)Max Handelman (m. 2003)
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For the journalist, see Elizabeth Banks (journalist).
Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks Sept 2014 (cropped).jpg
Banks in September 2014
BornElizabeth Irene Mitchell
(1974-02-10) February 10, 1974 (age 40)
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
OccupationActress, producer and director
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)Max Handelman (m. 2003)

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), 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. 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 continues in the role in the 2013 film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In a February 2013 episode, Banks reprised her role as Sal on Modern Family.[19]

Banks will portray Melinda Ledbetter Wilson, the current wife of Brian Wilson, in the upcoming 2014 biopic Love and Mercy, which is based on the life of the legendary musician and founding member of The Beach Boys, and where John Cusack will portray Wilson in later years.

Personal life[edit]

Banks met her husband, sportswriter and producer Max Handelman,[20] on her first day at college on September 6, 1992. They were married in 2003.[21] She and her husband had their first child, Felix, who was born through a surrogate in March 2011.[22] In November 2012, Banks announced the birth of another son, Magnus Mitchell, also born by surrogate.[23]

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".[24][25]


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


1998Surrender DorothyVickiCredited as Elizabeth Casey
2000ShaftTrey's friendCredited as Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell
2001Wet Hot American SummerLindsay
2001Ordinary SinnerRachel
2002Spider-ManBetty Brant
2002Swept AwayDebi
2002Catch Me If You CanLucy Forrest
2003The TradeSioux Sever
2003SeabiscuitMarcela Howard
2004Spider-Man 2Betty Brant
2005Sexual LifeSarah
2005The SistersNancy Pecket
2005The BaxterCaroline Swann
2005The 40-Year-Old VirginBeth
2005Daltry CalhounMay
2006SlitherStarla Grant
2006InvincibleJanet Cantrell
2007Spider-Man 3Betty Brant
2007Meet BillJess
2007Fred ClausCharlene
2008Definitely, MaybeEmily Jones
2008Meet DaveGina Morrison
2008Lovely, StillAlex
2008Zack and Miri Make a PornoMiriam "Miri" Linky
2008W.Laura Bush
2008Role ModelsBeth Jones
2009Big BreaksStarletShort film
2009The UninvitedRachel Summers
2009SurrogatesExecutive producer
2010The Next Three DaysLara Brennan
2011The DetailsNealy Lang
2011Just a Little Heart AttackWomanShort film; also director
2011Our Idiot BrotherMiranda
2012Man on a LedgeLydia Mercer
2012The Hunger GamesEffie Trinket
2012What to Expect When You're ExpectingWendy
2012People Like UsFrankie
2012Pitch PerfectGail Abernathy-McKaddenAlso producer
2013Movie 43AmySegment: "Beezel"; also directed the segment "Middleschool Date"
2013The Hunger Games: Catching FireEffie Trinket
2014Little AccidentsDiane Doyle
2014The Lego MovieWyldstyle / LucyVoice
2014Walk of ShameMeghan Miles
2014Every Secret ThingDetective Nancy Porter
2014Love and MercyMelinda Ledbetter Wilson
2014The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1Effie Trinket
2015Pitch Perfect 2Gail Abernathy-McKaddenAlso director and producer; in post-production
2015The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2Effie TrinketPost-production
2015Magic Mike XXLFilming


1999All My ChildrenWaitressOne episode
1999Third WatchElaine ElchisakEpisode: "Patterns" (credited as Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell)
2000Sex and the CityCatherineEpisode: "Politically Erect"
2001Law & Order: Special Victims UnitJaina Tobias JansenEpisode: "Sacrifice"
2002Without a TraceClarissaEpisode: "Snatch Back"
2005StellaTamaraEpisode: "Meeting Girls"
ScrubsDr. Kim Briggs15 episodes
2007–08Wainy DaysShelly3 episodes
2007–08American Dad!Becky Arangino
Lisa Silver
3 episodes; voice
2008Comanche MoonMaggie TiltonMiniseries
2009; 2013–14Modern FamilySal4 episodes
2010–1230 RockAvery Jessup15 episodes
2012Family GuyPam Fishman (voice)Episode: "Into Fat Air"
2012Robot ChickenMrs. Claus / Shana 'Scarlett' O'Hara (voice)Episode: "Robot Chicken's ATM Christmas Special"
2013Timms ValleyBeth Billings-Timms (voice)Pilot
2014Phineas and FerbGrulinda (voice)Episode: "Imperfect Storm"

Awards and nominations[edit]

2003Young Hollywood AwardsExciting New FaceN/AWon
2004Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (shared with rest of cast)SeabiscuitNominated
2006Fangoria Chainsaw AwardsRelationship from Hell Shared with Michael RookerSlitherNominated
2007MTV Movie AwardsBest Kiss Shared with Mark WahlbergInvincibleNominated
2009Women in Film Crystal + Lucy AwardsFace of the Future AwardN/AWon
2011Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series30 RockNominated
2012Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series30 RockNominated
2012Teen Choice AwardsChoice Movie: Female Scence StealerThe Hunger GamesNominated
2012MTV Movie AwardsBest On-Screen TransformationThe Hunger GamesWon
2013San Diego Film Critics Society AwardsBest Supporting ActressThe Hunger Games: Catching FireNominated
2013CinemaConExcellence in ActingN/AWon
2014Golden Raspberry AwardsWorst Director (shared with rest of directors)Movie 43Won
2014MTV Movie AwardsBest On-Screen TransformationThe Hunger Games: Catching FireNominated


  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. ^ Elizabeth Banks to Head Out into the Dark Fields?
  15. ^ a b "Elizabeth Banks: The Uninvited". SuicideGirls.com. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  16. ^ Elizabeth Banks Entering Dark Fields?
  17. ^ Tobey Maguire on New Spider-Man Film
  18. ^ Joyce Eng. "Elizabeth Banks to Guest-Star on 30 Rock". TVGuide.com. 
  19. ^ Modern Family. Season 4. Episode 17. 2/27/2013. ABC. http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/modern-family/episode-guide/episode-417-best-men. Retrieved 3/12/2013.
  20. ^ "Celebrity Wedding: Elizabeth Banks & Max Handelman". In Style. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Michaud, Sarah (March 31, 2011). "Elizabeth Banks Names 'Miracle' Baby Felix". people.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012. 
  23. ^ Banks, Elizabeth (November 14, 2012). "IT'S A BOY!". elizabethbanks.com. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  24. ^ Butnick, Stephanie (January 17, 2013). "Jewish Actress Elizabeth Banks Discusses Her Conversion With Marc Maron". Jewcy. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Episode 352 - Elizabeth Banks". WTF with Marc Maron. January 14, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 

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