A force of energy both in front of and behind the camera, Elizabeth Banks was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She spent her youth heavily involved in athletics, riding horses and playing Little League baseball until during one fateful game, she broke her leg while sliding into third base. The injury prevented Banks from playing any sports in the immediate aftermath, and so she auditioned for a school play instead, thus beginning what would become a lifelong interest in acting. She eventually graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in communications and went on to enroll in an MFA program at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Though she was offered a role on the soap opera "Santa Barbara" (NBC, 1984-1993) during this time, Banks had already taken out student loans in order to pay for her education and opted to remain in school. After graduating in 1998, Banks made her on-screen debut in the drama "Surrender Dorothy" (1998). Minor TV appearances followed before she landed a prominent role in the cult-favorite comedy "Wet Hot American Summer" (2001). From there, Banks quickly moved on to play Betty Brant in the blockbuster hit "Spider-Man" (2002) -a role she would continue throughout the hit franchise. With her prominence steadily rising, Banks went on to appear in the comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (2004) before co-starring as Dr. Kim Briggs on the fifth season of the comedy series "Scrubs" (NBC, 2001-2010). Comedy remained a major spoke in Banks' wheelhouse as she starred in Kevin Smith's "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" (2008), but she still branched out into other genres, playing Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic "W." (2008) and opposite Russell Crowe in the thriller "The Next Three Days" (2010). After a celebrated run as recurring character Avery Jessup on the acclaimed sitcom "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006-2013), Banks joined the massively popular "Hunger Games" franchise as Capitol-dwelling Effie Trinket in "The Hunger Games" (2012), a role she eventually played in all four films in the series. The year 2012 also saw Banks play Gail in the acapella comedy "Pitch Perfect" (2012). She returned for the sequel as well, not only reprising the role of Gail but stepping behind the camera in her feature film directorial debut. It proved a huge success, far out-grossing the first film and cementing Banks' role as a director. She reunited with her "Wet Hot American Summer" castmates for the latter-day prequel series "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" (Netflix, 2015) and for the sequel series "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later" (Netflix, 2017), much to fans' delight, before playing Gail once again in "Pitch Perfect 3" (2017). This time, Banks did not helm the movie herself, as she was already laying the groundwork for her next project as a director, the "Charlie's Angels" (2019) reboot, in which she also appeared as Bosley. With her credibility sky-high and rising, Banks next co-starred with award winning actor Cate Blanchett in the period series "Mrs. America" (FX, 2020-).
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