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Thora Birch

Actor, Voice Actor
© zack_wolk
Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 2.0 ]
Thora Birch (born March 11, 1982) is an American actress. She got her first role at the age of 6 in the short-lived sitcom Day By Day(1988). That performance was followed by an appearance in the motion picture Purple People Eater (1988), for which she received a Young Artist Award for "Best Young Actress Under Nine Years of Age". Birch's profile was raised significantly with major parts in films such as All I Want for Christmas (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Monkey Trouble (1994), Now and Then (1995), and Alaska (1996). Her breakthrough role came in 1999 with the Academy Award winning film, American Beauty. Her performance was well received by both critics and audience and brought Birch to an international recognition. She later played the lead role in Ghost World (2001) for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She has since appeared in independent films such as Dark Corners (2006), Train (2008) and Winter of Frozen Dreams (2009). --- 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. Birch is of German Jewish, Scandinavian, and Italian ancestry. The family's original surname was Biersch. Her name Thora is derived from the name of the Norse God of thunder and lightning, Thor. She has a younger brother named Kian. 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. She had several parts in the late '80s, including advertisements for Burger King, California Raisins, Quaker Oats, and Vlasic Pickles. 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. 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. --- 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. 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. 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. Birch landed the leading role in Ghost World (2001), alongside Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, and Brad Renfro. Her performances gained positive response from film critics. In his review for The New York Times, A. O. Scott praised her: "Thora Birch, whose performance as Lester Burnham's alienated daughter was the best thing about American Beauty, plays a similar character here, with even more intelligence and restraint".

Wikipedia ]

Born
March 11, 1982 (age 42)
Profession
Actor, Voice Actor
Parents
Jack Birch, Carol Connors
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