Also Credited As:Amanda Laura Bynes
|Actor, Music, Sound|
|April 3, 1986|
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Amanda Laura Bynes was born on April 3, 1986 to her father, Rick, a dentist, and mother, Lynn, an office manager. Along with her two siblings, she grew up north of Los Angeles in Thousand Oaks, CA. Bynes was the family superstar from the get-go, putting on her mother's clothes and staging performances at the age of three. She enjoyed musical theater and knew all the words to "Oliver!" (1968) and "Evita" (1996) by the age of five. Her parents took notice of the youngster's potential, going so far as to drive her an hour from their hometown to a summer comedy camp in Los Angeles every Saturday. The support of her parents and her own hard work soon led the star-in-training to the famous Laugh Factory in Hollywood. It was in the the esteemed club that Bynes performed a comedy routine when she was only 10 years old, impressing a group of people who worked for Nickelodeon, who asked her to audition for "All That" (Nickelodeon, 1994-2005), a sketch comedy show for the middle school set. Bynes was a natural fit for the series, with her charm and physical comedy skills. A regular "All That" cast member for four years, she won fans and a handful of Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards in the process.
Being part of the "All That" ensemble cast showcased Bynes' comedic talents, but the network saw a lot more potential for the young star. As the driving force of the show, she was offered her own comedy series for Nickelodeon, "The Amanda Show" (1999-2001), which became the channel's highest-rated live-action program at that time. The actress, who was as versatile as she was likeable, reigned over her show for three successful seasons, finding comfort within her characters. She was fond of stating that she was more nervous doing her monologues at the start of every show because she was herself up there, but regardless of stage fright, her fans supported her every career move. Naturally, such popularity led to the next step in her nascent career, conquering the big screen.
Bynes set her sights on a film career while still maintaining TV credibility. In 2002, the California native co-starred with Frankie Muniz in "Big Fat Liar," playing Kaylee, the free-spirited and slightly tomboyish best friend to Muniz's Jason. The role was originally written for a boy, but Bynes nailed the part with ease. That very same year, she was cast in a TV comedy series about two sisters living in New York City called "What I Like About You." On the soon-to-be-hit, she played Holly, a teen who lived with her older sister, played by "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) alum Jennie Garth. The relationship on the show hit close to home for the actress, as she considered her older sister, Jillian, her best friend in real life. "What I Like About You" lasted four years, and turned Bynes into a household name and bankable teen star, joining a young Hollywood group that at the time included Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan and Mandy Moore. Unlike some of her peers, however, Bynes was adamant she would not lose sight of her goals by partying her teen years away and becoming a tabloid headline.
The busy actress scored another starring role in the film "What a Girl Wants" (2003), pushing the actress ahead of the young Hollywood pack. A coming-of-age movie with romantic comedy elements, "What a Girl Wants" was a minor hit and provided Bynes with yet another opportunity to show off her versatility as well as her growing maturity. At a time when animated movies were also box-office dynamite, Bynes voiced the character of Piper in the feature film "Robots" (2005). The cast was a veritable who's-who of comedy, including Robin Williams, Mel Brooks and Drew Carey. Being a former teen sketch comedy star, Bynes was finally acting among her biggest influences, a feat that made the film one of her personal favorites.
Never much of an athlete, Bynes had always preferred musical theater and acting over sports. When her next movie "She's The Man" (2006) called for the actress to learn to play soccer, she did so with flying colors. The film - a remake of "Just One of the Guys" (1985) - featured Bynes as a girl who dresses as a boy to land a spot on the all-male soccer team, all in an effort to show up the ex-boyfriend who dumped her. Romance was in the air off-screen, as Bynes and her co-star, actor Channing Tatum, became an item, dating for a few years, before their relationship cooled. She had previously dated another co-star, "What I Like About You" hunk Nick Zano, but that also lasted only briefly. Compared to other actresses of her generation, the focus on Bynes was less about her personal life and more on her work.
Her biggest project then to date arrived in the form of "Hairspray" (2007), a musical romp through the 1960s, based on John Waters' 1988 cult film and the hit Broadway production. The "Hairspray" cast consisted of Hollywood heavyweights like John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer and Queen Latifah, as well as newcomers like Nikki Blonsky and Disney Channel heartthrob Zac Efron. Somewhere in the middle was Bynes, a showbiz veteran at such a young age. She channeled the role of Tracy's sidekick Penny Pingleton, making it her own with her signature line "I am now a checkerboard chick!" during the movie's big finale. Following the massive success of "Hairspray," Bynes played the lead in "Sydney White" (2007), a hip adaptation of the classic Snow White fairy tale.
Talented and mature well beyond her years, Bynes set out for an entirely different direction with her career by launching a fashion line called "Dear By Amanda Bynes" in August 2007, with fun and trendy pieces her teen fans loved to wear available at the department store chain Steve and Barry's nationwide. Bynes' business venture was short-lived, however, when the troubled chain filed for bankruptcy the next year. In the meantime, the actress stuck with what she knew best, appearing in the biopic, "Living Proof" (Lifetime, 2008), which focused on researcher Dr. Dennis Slamon (Harry Connick, Jr.) and his efforts to find a treatment for breast cancer patients. Although "Canned," an unaired sitcom pilot for ABC about a group of recently fired investment bankers, failed to generate heat, Bynes' lingerie-clad appearance on the cover of the February 2010 issue of Maxim magazine certainly did. Shortly thereafter, she left fans scratching their heads when she announced via Twitter her decision to quit acting that summer, only to proclaim a month later that she was "unretired," in a post on the same social media site.
As proof of her "un-retirement," Bynes was soon seen in the coming-of-age satire, "Easy A" (2010). Loosely inspired by Nathanial Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, the comedy simultaneously employed and skewered nearly every teen comedy convention of the previous 20 years, with Bynes playing the holier-than-thou nemesis of Emma Stone's social outcast protagonist. While the film and Bynes' performance enjoyed strong notices, the actress nonetheless maintained that although she was not retired, she was still committed to taking some time off. Unfortunately, time off from work was spent making unpleasant headlines. Having already been ticketed the previous month for talking on her cell phone while driving, Bynes was arrested for drunk driving after colliding with a police cruiser in West Hollywood during the early morning hours of April, 6, 2012. After being held for several hours, she was later released on $5,000 bail. The following Monday, Bynes' father adamantly told members of the press that his daughter was "not drunk," and that she was only taken into custody because she was so visibly distraught by the accident.