Elaine Barnard was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is the daughter of George and Agnes Elliott with one sister, Claire. She was married to Ernest Barnard. They have one son the artist and illustrator, Bryn Barnard.

Elaine attended Public School 89 and Midwood High School in Brooklyn, New York. Subsequently she attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the University of Washington, Seattle, Los Angeles State University and the University of California, Irvine where she achieved her MFA in theater and her life-long teaching credential. She has taught all levels in California schools. Currently she is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and is pursuing careers both in acting and writing.