The story of Amanda Bynes is a familiar one in the world of child stars. With a promising start from a very young age, Bynes was absorbed into show business back when the rest of us were still in school. While it’s not a guarantee that child actors struggle with growing up, there are challenges placed in their paths that the rest of us don’t have to deal with. But what else is there to Bynes? What legacy has she left behind after starring in hit TV shows and successful films? Here are 42 facts about Amanda Bynes.
1. Welcome to the World
Bynes was born on April 3, 1986, in Thousand Oaks, California. She is the youngest of three children, and her parents have a Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, and Irish background.
2. Springboard for a Spinoff
Beginning in the mid-1990s, the sketch comedy series All That ran on Nickelodeon for ten years, and launched the careers of then-teens Kenan Thompson, Nick Cannon, Kel Mitchell, and Jamie Lynn Spears. All of the aforementioned actors went on to star in their own shows, like Zoey 101 and Kenan & Kel. Bynes was yet another cast member of All That who struck it big. It led to her own comedy series, The Amanda Show.
3. What a Goofball!
One of Bynes’ inspirations was none other than comedy legend Lucille Ball. As some of you might remember, Bynes took more than one leaf out of Ball’s book when it came to slapstick and physical comedy, whether it was in her films or her television shows. In fact, Bynes was so alike to Ball in being unafraid to look ridiculous onscreen that she even spoofed a famous I Love Lucy scene during a sketch on All That.
4. She’s Three Inches Taller! Send the Job Posting Out Again!
Speaking of physical comedy, this determination by Bynes to pursue slapstick antics caused some trouble for the studio behind The Amanda Show. Rules and regulations forbade the underaged Bynes from performing some of her own stunts on the show, so stunt people were brought in to sub her out. This also proved problematic, however, when Bynes went through a growth spurt on the show, leading to several recasts of stunt people over the course of the show.
5. Named After the Romantics
One of the TV shows for which Bynes became known for was the sitcom What I Like About You. The series starred Bynes as a teenage girl who moves in with her older sister (Jennie Garth) in New York City. Interestingly, the two leads were born on the same day—albeit they were 14 years apart in age.
6. Repeat After Me
Before Bynes entered the world of acting, she would go watch her older sister Jillian when she was performing onstage. It was during this time that Bynes first got bitten by the acting bug. In between her sister’s rehearsals and watching the performance, Bynes would recite the lines to herself. Whether she was training to be an understudy to the play is unknown, but it was her first steps toward the entertainment industry.
7. Eye of the Beholder
Bynes was one of the actresses considered to play the lead role in the show New Girl before the role went to Zooey Deschanel. Whether that’s a missed opportunity or a dodged bullet depends entirely on how much you love or hate the show.
8. The T-Word? What’s the T-Word?
Bynes’ films were never known to push limits with the ratings system in the US. However, the original script for Easy A, in which Bynes co-starred, was rife with curse words before a rewrite removed almost all of them. Instead, the film was rated PG-13 in the US, but because it used the British swear word “twat,” the film received a “15” rating when it was released in the UK. This “15” rating remains to be the highest rating that any Bynes film has ever gotten.
9. Starting Young
Bynes’ first professional acting onscreen was for a candy commercial. At seven years of age, Bynes appeared in an advertisement for the chocolate bar known as Buncha Crunch. This proved deeply ironic, given her parents’ professions.
When it came to make the movie She’s The Man, Bynes and the other comedic actors in the film were given a lot of leeway to make improvisations and ad-libs, many of which were so good that they ended up in the final cut of the film! In one situation, Bynes genuinely slipped on wet grass, but the resulting fall was so funny that another take was deemed unnecessary.
11. Watch it, Bub!
Speaking of accidental moments in She’s the Man, one scene involved Bynes’ character speaking to another character who ends up getting hit in the eye by Duke, the love interest of Bynes’ character. For anyone impressed by how real that towel smack looks, rest assured that Channing Tatum really did hit his co-star in the eye with the towel by mistake! James Snyder’s reaction is entirely genuine, but somehow, he, Tatum, and Bynes all continued acting through it and allowed for the take to make it into the final cut.
12. Early Bird
In case it wasn’t clear before just how young Bynes was when she got her big start in the entertainment industry, we’ll spell it out for you. Bynes was 13 years old when she first starred in The Amanda Show! And that’s not even mentioning her stint on All That before that.
13. Cultured Fluff
Three of the teen comedy films that Bynes appeared in were actually based on classic works. Sydney White, the most obvious case, was an adaptation of the old fairy tale Snow White. Easy A was a loose modern-day interpretation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Finally, She’s the Man is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night. We could list all the similarities and differences between the works, but that would fill up the rest of the list!
14. Man, Hollywood’s Running Out of Ideas!
In another example of classic stories getting a modern-day adaptation in Bynes’ filmography, let us look at the film Big Fat Liar. The story follows a boy named Jason Shepherd who is known to be a compulsive liar. However, when he gets in trouble after a sleazy movie producer Marty Wolf steals his story, Shepherd goes to great lengths to prove that he can tell the truth after all.
As you’ve guessed by now, the film is an adaptation of the classic fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which follows a young boy watching a flock of sheep and pretending that a wolf is about to attack to get the villagers riled up until they don’t believe him when a wolf really comes.
15. That’s Out of Line
Anyone in the acting world must prepare themselves for negative reviews at some point or another, but things can be especially tough when you’re still a kid or teenager. This was the case for Bynes when she read her first negative review, in which she was derided for being “puffy-faced.” Frankly, that kind of negative body image comment shouldn’t be used in an acting review.
16. Popularity Contest
Bynes’ The Amanda Show was such a hit during its run that Bynes won the title “Favorite TV Actress” every year that her show was eligible for nominations in the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.
17. Childhood Dream
The first concert that Bynes ever attended was a performance by the Spice Girls. According to her, her early ambition was to be Posh Spice.
18. Sweet Tooth
Bynes’ parents, Lynn and Rick Bynes, both work within the dental health industry, so you can imagine how serious they were about their kids looking after their teeth. Bynes attested that her work on the film Hairspray was particularly irksome to her father, since her character is always seen with a lollipop in her mouth. Bynes had to lie to her father about how many lollipops she consumed during the production. For the record, it was 40 in total. We can only hope that they were different flavors at least!
19. I’ll Pass on the Corset, Thanks
In the early 2000s, Bynes was a contender for the role of Elizabeth Swann in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Feel free to debate amongst yourselves how well she might have done if Kiera Knightly had decided not to bother auditioning that day!
20. Chatting It Up With Whoopi
Aside from acting, Bynes has also served as a guest host for the talk show The View. She appeared in five episodes from 2004 to 2007.
21. When’s My Cheat Day?!
Part of She’s the Man involves Bynes’ character being a very efficient soccer player. However, the problem was that Bynes had never played soccer before in her life prior to that film. As a result, Bynes took up soccer training for weeks before the production began filming. The crash course in exercise and soccer playing led Bynes to quip that she’d never been in such good shape as when she was making that movie.
22. The Sequel That Never Was
After co-starring in the film adaptation of the musical Hairspray, Bynes was set to reprise her role in a sequel to said film. For those of you curious, the sequel would have focused on the characters of the original story entering the 1960s, experiencing the hippie movement firsthand. It ultimately got canceled before production could begin, however.
23. Maybe a Betting Pool is in Order?
In keeping with her earlier aspiration to be one of the Spice Girls, Bynes has made it clear that she wants to record a music album at some point in the future. She hasn’t stated what kind of music she’d make, so her fans are free to speculate until further notice.
24. A One-Woman Show
Regardless of what kind of music genre she’ll play, however, it’s safe to say that Bynes will have many options based on her own musical skills. Aside from singing, which she’s done for her movie Hairspray, Bynes is allegedly able to play the violin and piano on top of her vocal skills.
25. Amanda Wears Prada
In 2007, Bynes fulfilled one of her long-time dreams when she launched her very first fashion line. “Dear by Amanda Bynes” was a clothing line for Steve & Barry’s.
26. Personal Preference
For any fashion fans out there who are curious, Bynes’ once said that her favorite place to shop was none other than American Apparel. You can argue amongst yourselves whether that’s a good choice or not.
27. Did it Beat Out Her Audiocassette Player?!
In an interview with Us Weekly, Bynes once named her Rolex watch as her “most prized possession.” We’ll let the younger readers google what a Rolex watch was. Seriously, we’ll wait for you to get back.
28. Just a Taste
Bynes began smoking marijuana when she was a teenager, only to move on to ecstasy and Adderall later on in her life. By her own admission, she never turned to cocaine or more serious drugs, as many of her peers have done, but it’s hard to dispute that drugs didn’t play a role in her image in the late 2010s.
29. Way Too Cool for the Summer!
In case anyone thought that Bynes was having too much fun on the set of She’s the Man, we’d point out the beach scene as a clear example of the opposite case. As nice as it looks in the film, the production was located in Vancouver, Canada. At the time of filming, the unpredictable Vancouver weather provided one of its coldest summer days on record when it came time to film the beach scene.
It was so bad that the production had to digitally make the sky blue! Bynes and the other actors dressed for the beach spent the time between takes shivering and huddling together under blankets!
30. No Need to Thank Me
According to Bynes, she was the driving force behind getting then-unknown Channing Tatum cast in her film She’s the Man. Tatum himself credited Bynes for her influence getting him cast, even though the film’s producers were reluctant to do so. Between She’s the Man and the indie drama A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, it’s safe to say that Tatum had a lot to be thankful for in 2006!
31. Overreaction Much?
We’ve all been guilty of looking at movies and pulling outlandish meanings where they never existed. But one of the more absurd examples of such is the movie poster for Bynes’ teen dramedy What a Girl Wants. Because the US was embroiled in the Iraq war at the time, and Bynes’ character flashes the peace sign on her poster while wearing an American flag on her shirt, many accused her of making an anti-war statement.
Whether she meant that or not—keep in mind, the movie is about an American girl traveling to England for the first time in her life. The backlash was such that the studio actually brought out a new poster where Bynes keeps her hands at her sides.
32. Oops. Also, Ouch!
During the filming of All That’s first season, Bynes suffered a minor accident when she was performing a skit with her co-star Kenan Thompson. According to Bynes herself, she and Thompson were supposed to butt heads while playing Ping-Pong, but the stunt resulted in Bynes accidentally hitting herself with the paddle as she fell over. As a result, she needed to pay a visit to the hospital for a bloody and swollen lip.
33. It’s Not Even My Birthday!
It turns out that acting isn’t the only art form which interests Bynes. In an interview with David Letterman, Bynes surprised him with a portrait which she’d personally painted. Upon seeing his own cheerful image, Letterman quipped “I wish this was me!”
34. Guest Starring
In 2001, Bynes joined the cast of the popular kids’ show Rugrats. She voiced the character of Taffy, a frequent babysitter of the main characters. Taffy was also the lead singer of her own band, which we can only imagine Bynes was pleased about. Now if only they’d gotten the chance to make a spinoff musical series as well!
35. Oh Canada!
Aside from her American citizenship, and her family’s European backgrounds, Bynes also has a connection to the Great North. Her maternal grandparents actually lived in Toronto, while their daughter would move to the US later on.
36. Close Call
Big Fat Liar, in which Bynes co-starred, was actually her very first film role—though she’d already become well-known thanks to The Amanda Show. However, Bynes only got the chance to appear in this film when the original actress cast in her role dropped out unexpectedly to take a year off from acting. In case you’re curious, that actress was a 14-year-old Lindsay Lohan.
37. Not the Worst Film to Leave On, Admittedly
After her performance in Easy A, Bynes announced via Twitter that she was retiring from acting. As of 2019, she has been serious about this retirement, as she hasn’t appeared in any film since 2010.
38. Love Life
Bynes has dated a number of people in her life, including one-time SNL cast member Taran Killam and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, whom she dated briefly after voicing a role on the aforementioned show.
39. Silver Lining Found
In 2018, during her interview with Paper, Bynes confided that she had been sober for the last four years and was about to complete her Associate’s of Arts Degree from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. She’s planning on going headlong into the world of fashion after she completes her Bachelor of Arts degree.
Despite that, Bynes isn’t giving up on acting either, hoping to branch out and pursue acting without pressure or stereotyping herself like before. Frankly, we’re just glad to see that she’s in a good place again.
40. Bad Times, Good Times
Bynes had a very negative reaction from her own performance in She’s the Man. In 2018, Bynes admitted that she developed body issues from looking at herself when she had been dressed up as a boy—which constitutes a majority of the plot, we should add. Bynes reportedly went through a period of depression which lasted nearly half a year. It wasn’t until the fun she had making Hairspray that she regained some of her positivity.
41. Mea Culpa
As some of you might remember, Bynes came under fire while filming scenes for the comedy Hall Pass. Rumors persisted that her disruptive behavior led to her being fired from the production. However, in 2018, Bynes admitted that she had actually left of her own accord, abandoning the production. Explaining that she had been seriously struggling with an Adderall addiction at the time, she expressed her regret for being so “unprofessional” back then.
42. Falling Apart
In April of 2012, Bynes was arrested for driving under the influence after she hit a stopped police car then refused to take a sobriety test. This was the start of a series of bizarre public lash-outs and run-ins with the law that would plague her over the next year. Her mental state appeared to deteriorate and she began sending out frequent and bizarre tweets, such as appealing to Barack Obama to fire the cop that arrested her or claiming she invented the phrases ILY and LOLOL. She also got into very public spats with celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, whom she called an ugly old lady who “look[s] 80 compared to me.” In this time, she was charged with two hit and runs. Eventually, after one final arrest, Bynes was hospitalized for 72-hours for a mental-health evaluation and her parents decided it was time to step in.
43. Stepping In
Due to her various legal troubles and clearly frayed mental state, Bynes’ parents filed for conservatorship of their daughter in 2013, meaning they gained control of her affairs as she was deemed mentally incapable of managing them herself. Bynes’ mother received this conservatorship over Bynes’ affairs, which continued to be renewed in 2014. Since then, it’s been renewed in 2018, with plans for it to continue until 2020.
44. Low Blow
During Bynes’ very public mental breakdown, when her legal troubles were beginning to pile up, fellow-child star Lindsay Lohan took the opportunity to cruelly kick her one-time rival while she was down. Lohan took issue with the fact that Bynes had not been incarcerated after her many run-ins with the law, tweeting: “Why did I get put in jail and a Nickelodeon star has had NO punishment(s) so far?” So much for supporting your peers.
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