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.