Actress who notably played Jane Burnham, the teenage daughter of Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), in the oscar-winning 1999 Sam Mendes comedy American Beauty.

She was born 11th March 1982 in Los Angeles, and her acting career began with a part in a TV commerical at the age of 4. Her parents, Jack and Carol, manage her career, although they are quick to reject suggestions that they are showbiz parents.

Her recent films include The Hole, a psychological thriller set in a private school and Ghost World, an adaptation of the Daniel Clowes comic about two girls trying to find direction after graduating high school. Both these have seen her cast as an alienated teenager, however she brings a different kind of performance to each film. I can think of few other actresses who have handled similar roles with such incredible skill.

Sources: Internet Movie Database, The Observer

Thora Birch is that angelic, soft faced gothique thing you saw in American Beauty. Which, by the way, was her "farewell to teen angst". Her birthday is March 11, 1982 and her name was derived from the Norse god of thunder and lightning, Thor. (Her parents were expecting a boy ~ in 1990 when a brother was born, they named him Bolt. I guess they really like lightning). She got picked on in school because she didnt have a perm when it was in fashion, and these days she stands at 5'4". She owns a 1998 Mustang convertible. "It's black - everything's black." And indeed it is; she dyes her naturally fair hair black. "I feel more like a dark-haired person," she says. Her perfect skin never sees sunlight: "My mom taught me to loathe the sun." As far as her musical tastes go, she comments, "Fiona Apple is the best one out there. She's real. I understand what she sings about and I agree with her." When asked "Do you have any weird hobby?" she replied:
"everyone's weird
and therefore
no one's weird
im not weird."

Her earlier film credits include Molly in Purple People Eater, and Now and Then, Hocus Pocus, Alaska, and then more recently American Beauty, Dungeons and Dragons, Ghost World, The Hole. The Seattle International Film Festival honored Thora with the Best Actress Award for her role as Enid in Ghost World. Thora says that she has aspirations of one day becoming a director. For now, she is taking a break after having graduated, but assumes she will go to university and major in literature and history.

Her favourite actresses are Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett and Susan Sarandon, and as for celebrity crushes, she has gone through stages of Russell Crowe, Matt Damon and Ed Norton. Hugh Hefner said that she practically grew up at the Playboy Mansion, he being friends with Thora's parents, and he referred to her as a "very dear girl". She says that the parties at the mansion are slightly overhyped: "The parties are the craziest things -- that's when everyone comes half-naked and has a good time. But when you just chill out, it's only his friend and his girl friend. There are girls around, but it's not ridiculous. But it is very much like a paradise; I could see how guys would think it's a paradise."

She's a huge reader & liked the Catcher in the Rye, Charles Bukowski's Tales of Ordinary Madness (which she says is genius), Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil; (she loves the maxims), and she has to finish The Great Gatsby. When asked about whether she might write some day, she says at times she has wanted to write and get published but that it is hard for her to stick to a structure that you would have to have even for a novella or short story or script. She says she supposes her style is more stream of consciousness. She's too afraid to get published; she says she'd be devastated if critics said, "every fucking kid in the universe writes like this!" So she's sticking with acting then. "I just love acting, man. I genuinely think unabashed passion is the only needed ingredient for career longevity."

An interviewer asked her if she had any piece of advice for teenagers in regards to pursuing their careers early, and she said:

"Don't take advice and don't ask for it. You'll feel much better about yourself at the end of the day if you can look back and say, 'wow, I kind of did that on my own and in my own way.' There's something profoundly magical about the feeling of ownership or security in your own individuality."

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