Thora Birch

Thora Birch

Infobox actor

caption = Thora Birch, 2006
birthdate = birth date and age|1982|3|11
birthplace = Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
yearsactive = 1988—present
othername =
website =
sagawards = Outstanding Performance by a Cast - Motion Picture
1999 "American Beauty

Thora Birch (born March 11, 1982) is an American actress. She was a leading child actor in the 1990s, starring in movies such as "Hocus Pocus" (1993), "Now and Then" (1995), and "Alaska" (1996). Since the 1990s she has moved on to more mature roles, in films such as "American Beauty" (1999) and "Ghost World" (2001).


Early life and career

Birch was born in Los Angeles, California, the eldest child of Jack Birch and Carol Connors. Both her parents (who have managed her career and remain her managers right up to the present day) were former adult film actors; her mother appeared in the pornographic film "Deep Throat". [cite web |title=Thora Birch |work=Actress of the Week | |accessdate=2006-07-15
] Birch, who has a brother named Bolt Birch, is of Jewish, Nordic, and Italian descent. The name 'Thora' is a feminized form of the name Thor, the God of the Sky and of Thunder in Norse mythology. From an early age, Birch was encouraged by her parents to audition for commercials. She landed several parts representing companies such as Quaker Oats and Vlasic Pickles. In 1988, she broke into acting when landing the role of Molly in the short-lived television series "Day By Day" in which she was billed simply as "Thora." That same year she won a role in the movie "Purple People Eater" opposite Ned Beatty and Neil Patrick Harris, for which she won a Youth In Film Award for her performance.


Birch's breakthrough role came in 1991 when she was cast as 'tomboy' Billie Pike in the movie "Paradise" which also starred Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith and Elijah Wood. To obtain the role, she had to compete with more than 4,000 other young hopefuls who auditioned for it. Birch received critical praise for her performance.


Birch's ability to portray herself as a young tomboy landed her several parts during the period 1991-1995, including the role of Dani in "Hocus Pocus" (1993). She won leading roles in such films as "All I Want For Christmas" (1991) and "Monkey Trouble" (1994). She appeared in two Harrison Ford films, "Patriot Games" (1992) and its sequel, "Clear and Present Danger" (1994).

"Now & Then"

Birch's performance in the 1995 film "Now And Then" teamed her with Gaby Hoffmann, Christina Ricci, Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell and Melanie Griffith. Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, the film is about four friends who have been so preoccupied with their own lives that they have not seen one another for some time until the impending birth of one of their babies reunites them. Upon reuniting, they reminisce about events during the summer of 1970, when they were 12, which were ultimately influential in shaping their lives. It was during that summer, a mixture of both happy and sad events, that they realized that adulthood was fast approaching, that they began to work out what life was about and what they wished to do with their own lives. They also promised to be there for another, hence the reason why they were reuniting for the birth of the baby. The film was a female take on the film "Stand By Me".


In 1996, she landed a leading role in the adventure film, "Alaska" (1996). She played the role of Jessie Barnes, who has moved to Alaska with her father (played by
Dirk Benedict) and brother after the death of her mother. Her father is a former airline pilot and upon moving to Alaska, he starts earning a living by delivering supplies to small towns in the Alaskan wilderness in his light aircraft. While making a delivery, his plane crashes into a mountainside. Concluding that not enough was being done to locate him, Jessie and her brother set out on a successful attempt to find him with the help of a baby polar bear.

1996-1999: break from acting

After guest-starring appearances in the "The Outer Limits", "Promised Land" and "Touched By An Angel", Birch took a break from acting. In 1999, she returned in the made-for-TV movie "Night Ride Home" and also took a small uncredited role in the Natalie Portman film "Anywhere But Here". She was initially cast in the role of Tammy Metzler in the dark-comedy "Election", but ended up leaving after only the third day of filming due to disagreements with director/writer Alexander Payne. Jessica Campbell was then given the role of Metzler.

"American Beauty"

Later in 1999, Birch won enormous critical praise playing the role of Jane Burnham in "American Beauty" and was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award. The movie itself went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. As Birch was barely 17 at the time she made the film, and thus classified as a minor in the United States, her parents had to approve her brief topless scene in the movie and they and child labor representatives were on the set for the shooting of it. [" [ Thora Birch] ". Retrieved on October 04, 2008.]

"Ghost World"

After leading roles in "The Smokers" (2000), "Dungeons & Dragons" (2000), and "The Hole" (2001), Birch landed the leading role in "Ghost World", alongside Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi and Brad Renfro. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

2001 to 2008

Birch's most notable roles since 2001 have been that of Liz Murray in "" (2003) and April in "Slingshot" (2005). Recent films include "Dark Corners" (in which she appeared in the lead role as a woman who wakes up one day as a different person and ends up being stalked by gruesome creatures), "Tainted Love", and "Winter of Frozen Dreams".

An incident during the filming of the last of these has proven controversial.

The crew of "The Winter of Frozen Dreams" were horrified when the 25-year-old "American Beauty" star's father and manager - who is a former porn star - insisted on watching Thora's explicit scenes with 52-year-old Dean Winters.

A source told the New York Post newspaper: "It was so wrong. The director is saying, 'Harder! Faster!' and the father is giving Winters the thumbs up." [ [ "Thora Birch's fatherly sex advice", Life Style Extra (UK), 3/29/07] ]

Birch will next star in the film "Train" alongside her brother, Bolt Birch. The movie entails a trip to Europe for a group of American college athletes who unknowingly board a train that is occupied by a brutal killer. Birch has also been negotiating to have a part in the 2009 film "Frail". [" [ Fail Launches into Production in Vancouver Canada] ". Newswire, 2006. Retrieved on October 04, 2008.]

Future ambition

Birch has indicated that she aspires to become a director and has recently begun directing short video sketches for a sketch comedy troupe called The Doomed Planet. The sketches can be seen on her official website.


*2001 - Toronto Film Critics Association Award - "Ghost World"
*2000 - Young Star Award - "American Beauty"
*2000 - Young Artist Award - "American Beauty"
*2000 - Young Hollywood Award - Best On-screen Chemistry - "American Beauty" (1999), shared with Wes Bentley
*2000 - YoungStar Award - Best Young Actress/Performance in a Motion Picture Drama - "American Beauty" (1999)
*1994 - Young Artist Award - "Hocus Pocus"

*2001 - Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical - "Ghost World"
*2000 - BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress - "American Beauty"
*2002 - MTV Movie Award Best Dressed - "Ghost World" (2001)


*Music videos
**Moby - "We Are All Made Of Stars"From the album "18", released in 2002.
**Limp Bizkit, "Eat You Alive"From the album "Results May Vary", released in 2003.


External links

* [ Official website]
*imdb name|id=0000301|name=Thora Birch
*amg name|2:6271
*tvtome person|id=44282|name=Thora Birch
* [ Thora Birch on Tom Green Live]

NAME=Birch, Thora
DATE OF BIRTH=March 11, 1982
PLACE OF BIRTH=Los Angeles, California, United States of America

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