Amanda Laura Bynes (born April 3, 1986) is an American actress, former show host on Nickelodeon, singer and voice actor. After appearing in several successful television series 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).
Amanda Bynes has been described by The Boston Globe as having an "Everygirl" appeal, 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, and Bynes has referred to herself as Jewish though "not that religious".
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 hit 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 played opposite Frankie Muniz. Her first solo leading role was in 2003's What a Girl Wants, with co-star Oliver James. 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. 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 will appear 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. She is also rumored to appear in her first independent feature Bumped by Blue Crush scribe Lizzy Weiss.
As a designer
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. Every piece in the line is priced at $19.98 or less. The line launched in stores August 16, 2007.
Bynes won Blimp awards at the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards four years in a row, from 2000 to 2004 for Favorite Television Actress in 2001 for All That, Favorite Television Actress in 2002 for The Amanda Show as well as the following year. In 2003 she also received the Blimp for Favorite Movie Actress for Big Fat Liar and won another Blimp in 2004 for Favorite Movie Actress for What a Girl Wants. Bynes also was a part of the Hairspray ensemble win at the 2008 Critics' Choice Awards.