Thora Birch

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Thora Birch

Birch in 2006
Born(1982-03-11) March 11, 1982 (age 30)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1988–present
 
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Thora Birch

Birch in 2006
Born(1982-03-11) March 11, 1982 (age 30)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationActress
Years active1988–present

Thora Birch (born March 11, 1982) is an American actress. She was a child actor in the 1990s, starring in movies such as All I Want for Christmas (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Monkey Trouble (1994), Now and Then (1995), and Alaska (1996). She came to prominence in 1999 after earning worldwide attention and praise for her performance in American Beauty. She then starred in the well received film Ghost World (2001), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

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Early life

Birch was born in Los Angeles, California, the eldest child of Jack Birch and Carol Connors. Her parents, who were her business managers from the start, are former adult film actors and both appeared in the pornographic film Deep Throat.[1] Birch is of German Jewish, Nordic, and Italian ancestry.[2] The family's original surname was Biersch.[2] Her name Thora is derived from the name of the Norse God of thunder and lightning, Thor.[citation needed] She has a younger brother, Bolt.[citation needed]

Due to their own experience with acting, Birch's parents were reluctant to encourage her in the profession, but were persuaded to show her photograph to agents by a babysitter who noticed her imitating commercials.[1] She had several parts in the late '80s, including advertisements for Burger King, California Raisins, Quaker Oats, and Vlasic Pickles.[3]

Career

Early career, 1988–1995

In 1988, she landed the role of Molly in the short-lived television series Day By Day. She was billed simply as "Thora". That same year, she won a part in the movie Purple People Eater opposite Ned Beatty and Neil Patrick Harris. Her performance won her a Youth In Film Award.[citation needed] Birch played as 'tomboy' Billie Pike in the movie Paradise, which also starred Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith, and Elijah Wood.

Birch's parts during the period of 1991–1995 included the role of Dani in Hocus Pocus (1993), as well 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), where she played Sally Ryan, the daughter of Ford's character Jack Ryan. 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.

Worldwide recognition, 1996–2001

In 1996, she landed a leading role in the adventure film, Alaska (1996). After guest-starring appearances in The Outer Limits, Promised Land, and Touched by an Angel, Birch took a break from acting.[citation needed] 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.

Later in 1999, Birch won critical praise playing the role of Jane Burnham in American Beauty and was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award.[citation needed] The movie itself went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. As Birch was 16 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. They and child labor representatives were on the set for the shooting of the scene.[4][5]

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

2002–2011

Tom Green, Birch and Neil Hamburger in 2006.

Birch played Liz Murray in the made-for-TV movie Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story (2003), for which she received an Emmy nomination [6] and she appeared as Karen in Silver City (2004). She starred in the films Dark Corners, in which she appeared in the lead role, and Train.

In 2009, she starred alongside Brittany Murphy in the horror film Deadline and appeared in Winter of Frozen Dreams. In January 2010, Birch played Sidney Bloom in the Lifetime movie, The Pregnancy Pact.[7]

Birch was cast and scheduled to make her American stage debut in the off Broadway revival of Dracula, but was fired for reasons apparently involving her father's interference four days before the show's first performance.[8]

Filmography

List of film credits
YearTitleRoleNotes
1988Purple People EaterMolly JohnsonYoung Artist Award for Best Young Actress Under Nine Years of Age
1991ParadiseBillie Pike
1991All I Want for ChristmasHallie O'FallonNominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Leading Actress – Motion Picture
1992Patriot GamesSally RyanNominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Under Ten – Motion Picture
1992Itsy Bitsy Spider, TheThe Itsy Bitsy SpiderLeslie (voice)
1993Hocus PocusDani
1994Clear and Present DangerSally Ryan
1994Monkey TroubleEva Gregory
1995Now and ThenYoung Tina "Teeny" Tercell
1996AlaskaJessie BarnesNominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Leading Actress – Feature Film
1999American BeautyJane BurnhamOnline Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Young Artist Award for Best Young Supporting Actress – Feature Film
Young Hollywood Award for Best On-screen Chemistry shared with Wes Bentley
Young Star Award for Best Young Actress in a Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actress – Drama
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
1999Anywhere but HereMary (uncredited)
2000Smokers, TheThe SmokersLincoln Roth
2000Dungeons & DragonsEmpress SavinaNominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Supporting Actress – Feature Film
2001Hole, TheThe HoleLiz Dunn
2001Ghost WorldEnidDeauville Film Festival – Best Female Performance
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Dressed
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Line
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2003Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray StoryLiz Murray
2004Silver CityKaren Cross
2004Dot, TheThe DotNarrator (voice)
2005SlingshotApril
2006Dark CornersKaren Clarke/Susan Hamilton
2008TrainAlex
2009DeadlineLucy Woods
2009Winter of Frozen DreamsBarbara Hoffman
List of television credits
YearTitleRoleNotes
1988–
1989
Day by DayMolly21 episodes
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Ensemble – Comedy or Drama Series
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress Under Nine Years of Age
1989Doogie Howser, M.D.MeganEpisode: "Vinnie Video Vici" (Credited As "Thora")
1990Dark AvengerSusie DonovanTV movie
1990Married PeopleEmilyEpisode: "To Live and Drive in New York"
1990–
1991
ParenthoodTaylor Buckman12 episodes
Nominated—Young Artist Award for Best Young Supporting Actress – Television Series
1991AmenBrittanyEpisode: "Nothing Says Lovin'..."
1992Secret World of Spying, TheThe Secret World of SpyingSally RyanTV movie
1994MontyAnn ShermanEpisode: "Here Comes the Son"
1995Blackbird HallTV movie
1995Outer Limits, TheThe Outer LimitsAggie TraversEpisode: "The Choice"
1997Promised LandAllison RhodesEpisode: "Running Scared"
1997Touched by an AngelErinEpisode: "The Pact"
1999Night Ride HomeClea MahlerTV movie
2002Night VisionsSusan ThornhillEpisode: "The Maze"
2003Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray StoryLiz MurrayTV movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
2005My Life as a Teenage RobotVega (voice)Episode: "Escape from Cluster Prime"
2010Pregnancy Pact, TheThe Pregnancy PactSidney BloomTV movie

References

  1. ^ a b "Thora Birch". Actress of the Week. AskMen.com. http://www.askmen.com/women/actress_100/146_thora_birch.html. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Getting her own thing going". The Sunday Times (South Africa). 2002-03-17. Archived from the original on 2002-05-26. http://web.archive.org/web/20020526030557/http://www.sundaytimes.co.za/2002/03/17/arts/ane09.asp. 
  3. ^ Thora Birch Profile Thora.org . Retrieved on 5-09-11.
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Movie Answer Man". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19991010/ANSWERMAN/910100305. Retrieved 3 February 2012. "It is not illegal. to have people under 18 nude or partially nude on film. The California Child Labor Board approved the scene, and its representative was on the set when it was filmed, as were Thora's parents." 
  5. ^ There's a reason for R rating, Deseret News, March 2, 2007.
  6. ^ Thora Birch Emmy Nominated
  7. ^ Hinckley, David (January 23, 2010). "Lifetime's 'Pregnancy Pact' treats surge in teen pregnancy with kid gloves". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/2010/01/23/2010-01-23_lifetimes_pregnancy_pact_treats_surge_in_teen_pregnancy_with_kid_gloves.html. 
  8. ^ Healey, Patrick (December 14, 2010). "Actress Thora Birch fired from "Dracula"". The New York Times. http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/actress-thora-birch-fired-from-dracula/. 

External links