Thora Birch

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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), 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.


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 descent.[2] The family's original surname was Biersch, coming from her German Jewish ancestors.[2] Her name Thora is derived from the name of the Norse God of thunder and lightning, Thor. She has a younger brother, Bolt.

From an early age, Birch's parents encouraged her to audition for commercials. She landed several parts, including advertisements for Quaker Oats and Vlasic Pickles. Her first acting job followed.


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. Birch played 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.

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