Thora Birch - Rotten Tomatoes

Thora Birch



By the time six-year-old Thora Birch made her feature film debut with a small role in Purple People Eater (1988), she was already a veteran television actress with two years' worth of commercial and series work under her diminutive belt.

Probably best known up to that point for her work opposite über-grandad Wilford Brimley in a Quaker Oats commercial, Birch went on to grow up in front of the camera, evolving from Monkey Trouble's moppet with a primate to a bras and boys-obsessed teeny bopper in Now and Then to Kevin Spacey's rebellious daughter in American Beauty.

Birch, who was born in Los Angeles on March 11, 1982, first attracted sizable notice for her role as Elijah Wood's tomboy friend in Paradise, a 1991 family drama that also starred Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. Afterwards, her visibility began to increase, first with a supporting role as Harrison Ford's daughter in Patriot Games (1992) (which she reprised in 1994's Clear and Present Danger), and then as one of the three kids who inadvertently bring three witches back to life in Hocus Pocus (1993).

The actress got her first chance to play a teenaged role in the aforementioned Now and Then (1995), a coming-of-age drama that cast her as the younger version of Paradise co-star Melanie Griffith. Neither that film, nor Birch's subsequent project, Alaska (1996), made a great impact among critics or audiences, and it was not until the actress was cast in American Beauty (1999) that her career really began to accelerate. Birch, who dyed her hair Goth black and adopted a resolute sullenness for her role as the rebellious Jane Burnham, earned wide praise and a Screen Actors Guild award, and a host of international awards nominations, for her work in the acclaimed film.

After the success of American Beauty, Birch -- who also had an uncredited role in that same year's Anywhere but Here -- was suddenly busy with a number of projects. Included among them were Ghost World, Terry Zwigoff's screen adaptation of Daniel Clowes' celebrated comic about two teenage girls trying to deal with life after high school; The Smokers, a teen drama that cast Birch as a drug-addled schoolgirl; and Dungeons and Dragons, in which she played an empress whose mystical kingdom is threatened by an evil wizard (Jeremy Irons).

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Petunia
  • Producer
  • Vivian Petunia
2013
No Score Yet Deadline
  • Lucy
2012
No Score Yet Pregnancy Pact
  • Sidney Bloom
2010
No Score Yet The Story of Bonnie and Clyde
  • Actor
2010
75% Capitalism: A Love Story
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Winter of Frozen Dreams
  • Barbara Hoffman
2009
No Score Yet Train
  • Alex
2009
No Score Yet Dark Corners
  • Karen Clarke/Susan Hamilton
2006
No Score Yet Slingshot
  • April
2005
No Score Yet Dot...and More Stories to Make You Feel Good
  • Actor
2005
48% Silver City
  • Karen Cross
2004
No Score Yet Silence Becomes You
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story
  • Liz Murray
2003
No Score Yet Shadow Realm
  • Susan
2002
92% Ghost World
  • Enid
2001
No Score Yet The Smokers
  • Lincoln Roth
2001
50% The Hole
  • Liz Dunn
2001
10% Dungeons & Dragons
  • Empress Savina
2000
64% Anywhere but Here
  • Actor
2000
88% American Beauty
  • Jane Burnham
1999
No Score Yet Night Ride Home
  • Clea Mahler
1999
18% Alaska
  • Jessie Barnes
1996
19% Now and Then
  • Young Teeny
1995
82% Clear and Present Danger
  • Sally Ryan
1994
50% Monkey Trouble
  • Eva Gregory
1994
30% Hocus Pocus
  • Dani Dennison
1993
75% Patriot Games
  • Sally Ryan
1992
0% All I Want for Christmas
  • Hallie O'Fallon
1991
36% Paradise
  • Billie
1991
No Score Yet Purple People Eater
  • Molly Johnson
1988

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Punk'd
2003-2012
  • Appearing

Quotes from Thora Birch's Characters