Hailing from California, Bynes was discovered while performing at a standup comedy showcase at The Laugh Factory in L.A. Producers of the variety comedy show All That attended the event in the hopes of finding a male comedic actor to star in the show. Instead they found Bynes, who wowed them with her talent, stage presence and comic timing. The producers hired her on the spot. She was only ten at the time.
Spending the next four years with All That, Bynes had ample opportunity to display her talent to the public. She became known for the different characters she played such as in the sketches “Ask Ashley” and “Whatever Girl.” After the first season, she was nominated for a Cable Ace Award.
During her run on All That, Bynes worked on a number of other projects including national commercials and appearances on various talk shows and sitcoms like The Nightmare Room and The Drew Carey Show, as well as a regular role on the series Figure It Out.
In 1999 she had impressed the producers enough with her fast growing resumé to land her own show, entitled The Amanda Show. Like All That, Bynes’s series was a variety show in which she hosted and performed a number of characters including Judge Trudy, Candy Tulips, Amber and Penelope Taynt. The show garnered her four Kid’s Choice Awards for Favorite TV Actress, and nominations from the Young Artists Awards and YoungStar Awards.
The year 2002 marked her first appearance on the big screen, taking on a starring role opposite Frankie Muniz in the kid comedy, Big Fat Liar (2002). The film won her a fifth Kids’ Choice Awards, this time for Favorite Movie Actress. Later that year she took on a starring role in the new WB sitcom What I Like About You, co-starring Jennie Garth as her older sister. She played the lead role in her next feature film, What a Girl Wants (2003), opposite Colin Firth and won a sixth Kids’ Choice Award.
In the box office success She’s the Man (2006), Bynes was credible as a girl who pretends to be her twin brother so she can play soccer on a boys’ team. She played a supporting role in the hit musical Hairspray (2007), then starred in Sydney White (2008), which unfortunately didn’t do well at the box office. After completing a role in Easy A (2010), co-starring Emma Roberts, in 2010 Bynes announced via Twitter that at the age of 24, she was retiring from acting.
Bynes, who graduated from high school in 2004 with straight As, lives in an apartment in Hollywood with her dog Midge.