EL­IZ­A­BETH BANKS

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY JAY BOB­BIN

El­iz­a­beth Irene Mitchell (who uses the last name Banks pro­fes­sion­ally) was born on Feb. 10, 1974, in Pitts­field, Mass. The el­dest of four chil­dren, she was ath­letic as a child, but her break­ing a leg while play­ing baseball led her to “break a leg” in an­other way ... by pur­su­ing a role in a school play.

Banks grad­u­ated magna cum laude from the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia with a dual de­gree in com­mu­ni­ca­tions and theater arts, then con­tin­ued her ed­u­ca­tion at the renowned Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tory Theater in San Fran­cisco.

De­clin­ing an of­fer to join the se­rial “Santa Bar­bara,” Banks be­gan her ca­reer with a mix of in­de­pen­dent and stu­dio-based films that in­cluded the 2000 ver­sion of “Shaft,” “Wet Hot Amer­i­can Sum­mer,” the Madonna-star­ring “Swept Away,” the Steven Spiel­berg-di­rected “Catch Me If You Can” and “Se­abis­cuit.” She also played Betty Brant in the first three “Spi­der-Man” movies.

After guest roles on such tele­vi­sion shows as “Sex and the City” and “Law & Or­der: Spe­cial Vic­tims Unit,” Banks made her first ma­jor se­ries com­mit­ment with a con­tin­u­ing role in Sea­son 5 of “Scrubs.” Her mid-to-late-2000s film ca­reer en­com­passed “The 40-Year-Old Vir­gin,” “In­vin­ci­ble,” “Def­i­nitely, Maybe,” “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” and “The Un­in­vited.”

The 2010s be­gan for Banks with a re­cur­ring role on NBC’s “30 Rock,” while her film work en­tailed two fran­chise-launch­ing projects, “The Hunger Games” and “Pitch Per­fect” – and she also was a pro­ducer of the lat­ter. “The Next Three Days,” “Our Id­iot Brother,” “What to Ex­pect When You’re Ex­pect­ing” and “Peo­ple Like Us” also were among her movies dur­ing that pe­riod.

After star­ring in the films “Walk of Shame,” “Ev­ery Se­cret Thing” and “Love & Mercy,” Banks turned di­rec­tor on “Pitch Per­fect 2.” She also has that job on the forth­com­ing movie reboot of “Char­lie’s An­gels,” for which she wrote the screen­play as well.

Banks now is one of the rel­a­tively few fe­male game-show hosts in TV his­tory as she pre­sides over the ABC reboot of “Press Your Luck,” on which she and hus­band Max Han­del­man are ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers. The cou­ple has two chil­dren, both born via sur­ro­gates.

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