Feb. 10th, 1974
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA
Elizabeth Banks' Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Elizabeth Banks (born Elizabeth Irene Mitchell; February 10, 1974) is an American actress, producer and director. Banks made her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy (1998). She is best known for her roles in the films Seabiscuit (2003).
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 to be 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 1998.
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' who had already established herself.
Her first signal success came in her delightful, brief performance in Spider-Man (2002), for which she is best known despite subsequent leading roles, as "Betty Brant", the secretary of the cantankerous newspaper tycoon. Banks has reprised the role in the Spider-Man series.
Banks followed up her performance in Spider-Man with small roles in other movies released that year, Swept Away (2002) and 'Steven Spielberg' Catch Me If You Can (2002), in which she plays a bank clerk who assists the young Frank Abagnale with vital information about bank checking policies. More recognition came with Seabiscuit (2003), in which Banks charmed audiences playing the wife of Seabiscuit's owner "Charles Howard", and Banks was able to broker these successes into leading roles, in 'Michael Showalter' The Baxter (2005) and 'James Gunn II' Slither (2006).
On television, Banks had a recurring role as Avery Jessup on the sitcom 30 Rock, which gained her two Emmy Award nominations. Previously, Banks had starred in a recurring role as Dr. Kim Briggs on Scrubs from 2006 to 2009.
The winsome, beautiful Banks projects an exceptionally-charming screen presence that has drawn comparisons to 'Audrey Hepburn'. Though her off-screen vocabulary is at times sprinkled with Valley-speak, her performances demonstrate solid acting skill and a keen intelligence.
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. In a February 2013 episode, Banks reprised her role as Sal on Modern Family.
Banks met her husband, sportswriter and producer Max Handelman, on her first day at college on September 6, 1992. They were married in 2003. She and her husband had their first child, Felix, who was born via a surrogate in March 2011. In November 2012, Banks announced that her family had welcomed another son, Magnus Mitchell, also born via a surrogate.
Banks was raised in a family of both Irish Catholic and Anglo-Saxon Protestant background. She 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".
- Taking a course on flying the trapeze with a girlfriend (2008).
- 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.
- Is a major fan of 'David Letterman' (qv).
- Graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992.
- As a young child, she was a contestant on the Nickelodeon game show, _"Finders Keepers" (1987)_ (qv).
- Her father, Mark Mitchell, was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother, Ann Mitchell, worked, until recently, in a bank.
- Converted to Judaism after marrying her husband in 2003.
- Enjoys "Fantasy Football" as a hobby.