Amanda Laura Bynes (born April 3, 1986) is an American actress, former show host on Nickelodeon, comedian, fashion designer, singer and voice actor. After appearing in several successful television series (All That and The Amanda Show) on Nickelodeon in the mid-to late 1990s and early 2000s, Bynes transitioned to a film career, starring in several films aimed at teenage audiences, including She's the Man (2006) and Hairspray (2007).
In 2006, she was named one of Teen People's "25 Hottest Stars Under 25", and in 2007, was on the Forbes list as the 5th highest paid celebrity under 21, earning $2.5 million.
Bynes was born in Thousand Oaks, California, the daughter of Lynn (née Organ), a dental assistant and office manager, and Rick Bynes, a dentist who also practiced stand-up comedy. Bynes has two older siblings, Tommy (born 1974), a chiropractor, and Jillian (born 1983), who has a Bachelor of Arts in History from UCLA and has also acted. Her maternal grandparents are from Toronto, Ontario. Bynes's father is Catholic and her mother is Jewish; she has described herself as Jewish, but has also stated "I haven't decided yet [on a religion]. I don't know yet exactly what I believe".
In 1993, Bynes was trained as an actress by Arsenio Hall and Richard Pryor at a comedy camp, and began professionally acting at the age of seven, appearing in a television advertisement for Buncha Crunch candies. During her childhood, she also appeared on stage in versions of Annie, The Secret Garden, The Music Man and The Sound of Music. After taking acting classes, Bynes became a regular cast member of Nickelodeon's Figure It Out and All That (both in 1996). Bynes remained a regular cast member on All That until its presumed cancellation in 2000, though she appeared in the sketches since shooting and preparing as the star of her own sketch show The Amanda Show, also on Nickelodeon. The Amanda Show features a combination of comical skits and sketches, including Amanda Bynes playing Judge Trudy, a judge based on Judge Judy that always rules in kids' favor, and Penelope Taynt, an Amanda-obsessed fan.
Bynes made her film debut in 2002's modest box office success, Big Fat Liar, where she starred opposite Frankie Muniz. Her first solo leading role was in 2003's What a Girl Wants as Daphne Reynolds. Co-starring Colin Firth,Oliver James and Kelly Preston. Subsequently, Bynes starred in The WB Television Network's sitcom What I Like About You and had voice parts in 2003's Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure and 2005's CGI animated comedy, Robots. She also co-starred in an episode of The Nightmare Room as Danielle Warner, and in Arliss as Crystal Dupree. Bynes appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair's July 2003 edition with nine of Hollywood's most popular female young stars, including Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Alexis Bledel, Raven-Symoné, Evan Rachel Wood, the Olsen Twins, and Mandy Moore. Although she is often compared with them, Bynes has said that "It's like being the hot girl at the high school party. I was never that girl. I grew up with terrible acne and feeling insecure. I was tall and skinny. I didn't feel pretty at all, and guys didn't even like me. That's why I got into comedy." Bynes has also said that her relatability to teenage audiences may stem from the fact that she is "more similar to them than some... socialite or whatever".
In 2006, Bynes starred in She's the Man, a comedy based on William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night; in the film, Bynes disguises herself as her brother in order to join the boys' soccer team due to the fall of the girls' team. Producers had originally wanted to cast singer Jesse McCartney as Bynes' brother, noting a physical resemblance between McCartney and Bynes disguised as a boy, but McCartney was unavailable. James Kirk plays her brother in the film. Around the time of the film's release, Bynes commented that she would like to start appearing in more mature roles, and believes that she is still developing her acting skills and maturing as an actress, saying that she is "getting better" with each role. Bynes appeared in another romantic comedy, Lovewrecked, which was shot before She's the Man but released after it, showing in cinemas outside of the United States in 2005 and 2006 and debuting in the U.S. on the ABC Family network on January 21, 2007. She also portrays Penny Pingleton in Hairspray, a film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. The movie, which was her first musical role, began filming in Toronto in September 2006 and was released on July 20, 2007. Bynes has stated that she enjoyed appearing in a "fun, quirky part in a big ensemble movie". Bynes next starred in another comedy, Sydney White, released on September 21, 2007. The film is based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with Bynes playing a freshman in the college Greek system, co-starring alongside Sara Paxton and Matt Long.
In 2008, Bynes appeared in the Lifetime Television movie Living Proof as the student assistant of Harry Connick Jr.'s character, who creates the Herceptin drug for breast cancer.
In April 2009, Bynes filmed the pilot for an ABC sitcom titled Canned, but the series failed to make the network's fall lineup. Bynes was also originally set to appear as the female lead in the 2009 comedy Post Grad. She was replaced by Alexis Bledel.
In June 2009, Bynes inked a two picture deal with Screen Gems. The first of the two movies is a teen comedy, Easy A, starring Emma Stone and Lisa Kudrow, and the second will be a starring role. Bynes also plans to reprise her role as Penny Pingleton in the big screen sequel to Hairspray.
In 2007, Bynes signed a five-year deal with Steve & Barry's (which had been expanding its product offerings outside of its traditional university apparel and sweatshirts) to create her own fashion line, dear, consisting of apparel and accessories. The line launched in stores August 16, 2007.
Bynes graduated from Thousand Oaks High School's independent study program (though she attended La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks for some time) and has expressed a desire to attend New York University in the near future. She briefly moved into an apartment in Hollywood, California, but has since returned to her family home. Bynes is interested in drawing and fashion design, having commented that she is "the girl whose biggest nightmare would be to lose my makeup bag while traveling."
In 2007, she spoke out against becoming another wild Hollywood star. "I think I’ll go out as much as I’ve ever gone out... which is not a lot. I like to dance and stuff, but drinking isn’t good for you in every way. It’s not good for your skin; it makes you feel horrible. So, drinking-wise, no". She reinforced these ideas throughout the summer of 2007, on the talk show circuit, and in many press interviews. She told Access Hollywood, "I like being with my family and friends, and I don't need to be out at the clubs." In an interview in December 2007, Bynes detailed how her parents taught her about alcohol.
She has since stated that she is "reevaluating" how to spend her social time. In the January 2009 issue of Cosmopolitan, Bynes stated: "I used to be known as the girl who was anti the club scene. But I'm finding a balance. I can have a drink and dance if I want. You have to go out to meet people and guys. I'm in that phase where I just want to have fun."