Thora Birch

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Thora Birch in Interview magazine

Thora Renee Birch (born March 11, 1982 in Los Angeles, California) is an American actress who mainly acts in independent films. She is of Jewish, Scandinavian, and Italian descent; the family's original surname was "Biersch", coming from her German Jewish ancestors.


Thora is the first born child of Jack and Carol Birch who also act as her managers. From an early age, Thora was encouraged by her parents to audition for commercials. She landed several parts representing companies such as Quaker Oats and Vlasic Pickles. However, it wasn't until 1988 that her acting career really began when she was cast as Molly in the short-lived television series Day By Day. That same year she played an important 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.

Thora was cast in her first, real break-though role in 1991 when she played Billie Pike in the movie Paradise which also starred Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith and Elijah Wood. She was able to get this role by beating out over 4,000 young hopefuls who auditioned for it. Her ability to portray herself as a young tomboy landed her many parts in movies including Hocus Pocus and the big-budget films Patriot Games in 1992 and its sequel, Clear and Present Danger in 1994. In 1995, Thora was cast in the movie Now and Then which is regarded as Thora's first venture into teenage roles, as opposed to playing only a kid in the movies. In the mid 90s she also made guest-starring appearances on various television shows such as "The Outer Limits", "Promised Land" and "Touched By An Angel".

She took a somewhat of a break from acting but returned in 1999 with the made-for-TV movie Night Ride Home. That same year, she won critical praise by playing Jane Burnham in American Beauty which eventually won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Thora has indicated that she has aspirations of one day becoming a director. She currently lives in her own home in southern California.


Wes Bentley, Thora Birch, and Mena Suvari in a promotional photo for American Beauty

What many consider to be her first adult role came in Sam Mendes's American Beauty (1999) as the troubled Jane Burnham. She was only 16, and thus a minor in the United States, when the movie was made, therefore her parents had to approve of Birch's brief nude scene in the movie. Her parents and child labor representatives were on the set for the shooting of the scene.

Thora Birch's mother was a porn star between the years of 1971-1983, working under the name of Carol Connors. She starred in the infamous porn movie Deep Throat, in the role of the nurse at the doctor's office. Carol starred in 21 porn movies, before she retired in 1983. [1]


  • The name Thora is formed from the name of the Norse god Thor.
  • Has one other sibling, a brother named Bolt
  • Is a vegetarian
  • Has a Blue Belt in Karate


  • 2001 - Toronto Film Critics Association Award - Ghost World
  • 2000 - Young Star Award - American Beauty
  • 2000 - Young Artist Award - American Beauty
  • 1994 - Young Artist Award - Hocus Pocus


Year Movie Role Other notes
2006 Shamrock Boy Nulla McGarvey Announced. Start of production
2006 Boomerang Deal Announced. Start of production
2005 Vinyl Julie Preproduction. Also executive producer
2005 Slingshot April
2004 The Dot Narrator
2004 Silver City Karen Cross
2003 Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story Liz Murray Television movie
2002 Shadow Realm Susan Thornhill Television movie
2001 The Hole Liz Dunn
2000 Dungeons & Dragons Empress Savina
2000 Ghost World Enid
2000 The Smokers Lincoln Roth
1999 Anywhere But Here Mary uncredited
1999 American Beauty Jane Burnham
1999 Night Ride Home Clea Mahler Television movie
1996 Alaska Jessie Barnes
1995 Now and Then Young Tina "Teeny" Tercell
1994 Clear and Present Danger Sally Ryan
1994 Monkey Trouble Eva
1993 Hocus Pocus Dani
1992 Patriot Games Sally Ryan
1992 The Itsy Bitsy Spider (voice)
1991 All I Want For Christmas Hallie O'Fallon
1991 Paradise Billie Pike
1990 Dark Avenger Susie Donovan Television movie
1990 Parenthood Taylor Buckham Television series
1988 Day by Day Molly Television Series
1988 Purple People Eater Molly Johnson


  1. ^ Carol Connors

External links

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