Thora Birch Poster


Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (21) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 11 March 1982Los Angeles, California, USA
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

For some people, oatmeal starts the day off right - for Thora Birch, it launched a healthy career in front of the camera. It's hard to believe that the actress, who slunk into stardom with her turn as the disillusioned daughter in American Beauty (1999), is even related to the apple-cheeked blonde who once gazed up at Quaker Oats (R) spokesman Wilford Brimley and said, "Mmm-hmm. Yeah, grandpa", but Birch still remembers the professional advice Brimley whispered in her ear: maintain eye contact and *really* listen. Since then, she's had ample opportunity to study some of Hollywood's top talents at work - in addition to her American Beauty (1999) scenes with Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, she's acted alongside Harrison Ford, Harvey Keitel and Jeremy Irons. Named after Thor, the Norse god of thunder, Thora was born in Los Angeles to Jack Birch and Carol Connors Birch (they kept up the tempestuous theme by naming her younger brother Bolt Birch). By age 4, she was a regular at commercial auditions and, by age 6, she'd landed a spot on the short-lived daycare sitcom Day by Day (1988). Her film career got off to an auspicious start that same year, when she won a Young Artist Award for her debut opposite Neil Patrick Harris in the children's fantasy flick Purple People Eater (1988). After a short break, she picked up a role in another fleeting sitcom, Parenthood (1990) (based on the movie of the same name). By age 9, Birch had her life pretty much figured out - she told the L.A. Times that she planned to become a director by 24, then spend a year ice skating, then spend a year as a policewoman, and, finally, become a singer. She picked up her last name (early appearances credited her as just "Thora") and returned to the big screen as Elijah Wood's tomboy friend in Paradise (1991). She then scored a high-profile supporting role as Harrison Ford's daughter in Patriot Games (1992), which she reprised in Clear and Present Danger (1994). In between, she kept busy with family films Hocus Pocus (1993) and Monkey Trouble (1994). In 1995, Birch graduated into adolescent territory with her turn as a younger Melanie Griffith in Now and Then (1995). She followed that up with a top-billed role in the snowy adventure Alaska (1996), then took a three-year hiatus from acting. She resurfaced in 1999, first in the made-for-TV Night Ride Home (1999) and then, more visibly, in American Beauty (1999). Birch had heard about "Beauty" through the industry grapevine, and she immediately set her sights on the part of "Jane Burnham". As it turned out, she was the first to audition for director Sam Mendes; while he saw dozens of other actresses for the role, none delivered a more convincing "Jane". Still reeling from her sudden celebrity status, Birch plucked a handful of diverse projects from the deluge of post-"Beauty" scripts. Seeking an even edgier adolescent role, she appeared as a punk-rocker in the indie film The Smokers (2000), then dropped the tough-girl pose to play the gentle "Empress Savina" in the live-action adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons (2000). She also signed up to play a teen hipster caught up in a post-high school identity crisis in Ghost World (2001) (based on the graphic novel), and an English schoolgirl in the thriller The Hole (2001). Style-conscious and sophisticated beyond her years, Birch lives on her family's East L.A. ranch (where she recently finished high school through a computer-based correspondence course). She still hopes to try her hand at directing someday, but, for now, she's content to continue blossoming in front of the camera.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: IMDb Editors

Trivia (21)

Has a Green Belt in Karate.
Her parents, Jack Birch & Carol Connors, thought that she would be a boy, and planned on naming the child Thor, after the Norse God of Thunder and Lightning. When she was born, however, her parents feminized the name and called her Thora.
Does her own stunts.
Used to live on her family ranch in East Los Angeles.
Was fired from Election (1999) due to differences with director Alexander Payne.
Older sister of Bolt Birch.
Gained 20 pounds for her role in Ghost World (2001).
Was actually only 16 years old at the time she was filmed nude for a scene in American Beauty (1999). She told TV talk show host Craig Kilborn when she appeared on his show in 2002 that her parents didn't have a problem with her doing a nude scene, despite her being under age, and they encouraged her to go ahead and do it. They agreed that her character's nude scene was so important to the development of her character that they gave their approval.
Has co-starred with Chris Cooper in two movies, Silver City (2004) and American Beauty (1999), but has never appeared onscreen together with him.
She is of German, Scandinavian, and Italian descent.
Is a vegetarian.
Was a contributing director for sketch comedy group The Doomed Planet.
Appeared in Moby's video "We Are All Made Of Stars" (2002) and "Eat You Alive" by Limp Bizkit (2003).
The family's surname was originally "Biersch," coming from their German Jewish ancestors.
She got her first role at the age of 6 in the short-lived sitcom Day by Day (1988).
Her parents, Jack Birch and Carol Connors, both appeared in supporting roles in Deep Throat (1972).
She bested 4,000 young hopefuls to land the role of Billie Pike in Paradise (1991).
She auditioned for the role of Natalie in Evil Dead (2013).
She was originally cast in the lead role in The Quiet (2005), but dropped out. Camilla Belle replaced her.
She was originally cast as Tammy Metzler in Election (1999), but was fired due to creative differences with Alexander Payne. Jessica Campbell replaced her.
She was scheduled to make her NY stage debut in an off-Broadway revival of "Dracula". Four days before the play was supposed to open, Birch was fired and asked to leave the theater immediately, due to interference from her manager/father. He had been supervising every detail of his daughter's performance during rehearsals. When he saw another actor giving Birch a back rub, he demanded that the actor stop. The actor in question explained that he was following directions from the play's director. Reportedly, he told the actor, "Listen, man, I'm trying to make this easier on you - don't touch her". The actor felt that Birch's tone was threatening. This led to her being terminated.

Personal Quotes (8)

I admire Jodie Foster. Her head is screwed on really well. It's not loose at all.
For me, romance isn't an over-the-top act. It's someone offering to help and to support me. Or if that person thinks I'm making the wrong decision, he'll tell me. I want him to be honest, because being that honest takes a lot of guts.
If I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I look in the mirror and see the most vile creature. But if I'm feeling comfortable about myself, then I'm more accepting. I'm not like, "Oh my God! look at that gorgeous person." It's just like, "Yeah, okay. That's doable."
[on her nude scene in American Beauty (1999)] It was very, very difficult for me to come to terms with it in a personal way. Creatively, I was solid. I understood the importance and significance of that scene and I had known in advance that it was going to happen. As you can imagine, I had spoken with the director, Sam Mendes, and we both agreed it was not a gratuitous scene, rather a very realistic moment in Jane and Ricky's relationship.
I tried to walk a fine line between being alluring and somewhat glamorous but maintain a strong identity and pursue things that were a little more thoughtful, and I guess nobody really wanted women to do that at that time.
I pissed a lot of people off over a long period of time and they found a way to upset me, hoping that upset would bring a change in my behavior. Like a distancing ... But I'm done, I'm done. People wanted me to be not fine. A lot of it was bullshit.
(On being fired from Election (1999)) I read the script one way and it became clear that he (Alexander Payne) had seen something else, so that was it. I just thought, this is ridiculous: why is it written this way?
I just felt like I was making people angry, because I wouldn't wear the frilly bows. I just didn't take advice and I think people got pissed off at me for not taking advice.

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