Elizabeth Irene Banks is an American actress, director, writer and producer. She is best known for starring as Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games film series and as Gail Abarnathy-McKadden in the Pitch Perfect film series. Banks made her directorial film debut with Pitch Perfect 2, whose $69 million opening weekend gross set a record for a first time director. Take a look below for 27 more awesome and fascinating facts about Elizabeth Banks.
1. Banks was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and grew up on Brown Street, the eldest of four children of Ann and Mark P. Mitchell.
2. Her father, a Vietnam veteran, was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother worked in a bank.
3. She has said that she grew up “Irish + WASP + Catholic.”
4. 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.
5. This would later influence her decision to serve as hostess and executive producer of the ABC revival.
6. Growing up, Banks played baseball and rode horses.
7. She was in Little League when she broke her leg sliding into third base.
8. She then tried out for the school play, which was her start in acting.
9. She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992, and is a member of the Massachusetts Junior Classical League.
10. 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.
11. 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. Banks changed her name upon joining the Screen Actors Guild, as actress Elizabeth Mitchell was already registered in the union under that name.
14. After auditioning in New York, she was offered a role on the soap opera Santa Barbara.
15. 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, Swept Away and Seabiscuit.
17. In 2002, Banks set up her own production company called Brownstone Productions with her husband, Max Handelman.
18. Banks gained more prominent widespread exposure with her role in the 2005 comedy film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
19. 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.
21. In 2009, Banks appeared in the horror film The Uninvited, a remake of the South Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters.
22. In 2012, Banks starred in the romantic comedy film What to Expect When You’re Expecting and the action film Man on a Ledge.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. Banks met her husband, Max Handelman, a sportswriter and producer from Portland, Oregon, on her first day of college on September 7, 1992.
26. They were married in 2003. The couple have two sons.
27. She and her husband had their first child born through a surrogate in March 2011. In November 2012, Banks announced the birth of another son also by a surrogate.