Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell (born February 10, 1974), known professionally as Elizabeth Banks, is an American actress. Banks had her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy. Since then, she has been well-known for her roles in Definitely, Maybe, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, W., Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer, The Uninvited and the Spider-Man franchise. Banks has also portrayed roles as guest star in television shows through her career, including the role of Dr. Kim Briggs, Zach Braff's love interest in the television sitcom Scrubs, and her role as Avery Jessup, Jack Donaghy's wife in 30 Rock.
Banks was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the eldest of four children of Ann and Mark Mitchell. Her father was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother worked in a bank. As a young child, she was a contestant on the Nickelodeon game show Finders Keepers. She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992 and is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. In 1998, she completed schooling at the American Conservatory Theater and earned an MFA.
Banks changed her name to avoid confusion with actress Elizabeth Mitchell. She debuted in the independent film Surrender Dorothy, as Elizabeth Casey, and quickly gained widespread exposure through the comedy film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.