Elizabeth Banks (born Elizabeth Irene Mitchell; February 10, 1974) is an American actress, director, and producer. She is known for playing Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games film series (2012–2015) and Gail Abernathy-McKadden in the Pitch Perfect film series (2012–2017). Banks made her directorial film debut with Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), whose $69 million opening-weekend gross set a record for a first-time director. She also directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the action comedy film Charlie’s Angels (2019). Banks founded the film and television production company Brownstone Productions in October 2002, with her husband Max Handelman.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the National Collegiate Performing Arts (NCPA)TM and UpStaged Entertainment Group, has announced Elizabeth Banks as one of its 31 for 31 days of March most empowering dynamic women – throughout business, politics and entertainment – who got their start in college performing arts.

Banks made her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy (1998). She starred in the films Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007), Seabiscuit (2003), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Slither (2006), Invincible (2006), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), Role Models (2008), The Next Three Days (2010), Man on a Ledge (2012), What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012), Movie 43 (2013), The Lego Movie (2014) and its 2019 sequel, Love & Mercy (2014), Walk of Shame (2014), Magic Mike XXL (2015), Power Rangers (2017), and Brightburn (2019).

On television, Banks had a recurring role as Avery Jessup on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She had recurring roles on the comedy series Scrubs and Modern Family, the latter of which earned her a third Primetime Emmy Award nomination. Banks starred in the Netflix miniseries Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015) and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (2017). As of 2019, she hosts a revival of the 1980s game show Press Your Luck on ABC.

Banks was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and grew up on Brown Street, the eldest of four children of Ann (née Wallace) and Mark P. Mitchell. Her father, a Vietnam War veteran, was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother worked in a bank. She has said that she grew up “Irish + WASP + Catholic.” Growing up, Banks played baseball and rode horses. She was in Little League when she broke her leg sliding into third base. She then tried out for the school play, which was her start in acting.

She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992, and is a member of the Massachusetts Junior Classical League. 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. She graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a major in communications and a minor in theater arts.In 1998, she completed schooling at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, where she earned an MFA degree.