As of 2018, Thora Birch has been in over 40 projects including the popular 1999 romance movie American Beauty where she played a major role as Jane Burnham. This actress’s life is interesting. Her name Thora is actually a feminized version of Thor, the hammer-wielding thunder god from ancient Norse mythology.
But prior to the acting success, Thora owes much of her success to one of her babysitters from a long time ago. The babysitter had caught her imitating some television commercials as a kid and encouraged her parents to steer her towards acting. Today, her career portfolio includes everything from commercials to television appearances and films. She has also gotten to work with industry greats like Kevin Spacey, Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, and Elijah Wood.
Who is Thora Birch of American Beauty?
The actress was born on March 11, 1982, in Los Angeles, California. Her television appearances began at the age of 4. She appeared in commercials for big brands like California Raisins, Vlasic Pickles, Burger King, and Quaker Oats. This followed a period of small roles in movies and television films. By the age of 6, she had appeared in Purple People Eater, Doogie Howser, M.D., and Day By Day. Her 21-episode long portrayal of Molly in the latter earned her two nominations in the Young Artist Award nominations.
In 1990, she was in Parenthood as Taylor Buckman, showing up in 21 episodes of its only season. Some of her other movie and television projects in the early 90s include Doogie Howser M. D. (1989); Dark Avenger (1990); All I Want for Christmas (1991); Patriot Games (1992); and Clear and Present Danger (1994). By this time, she had worked with the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Harrison Ford.
By this time, Thora was more than just another run-of-the-mill child actress. She had proven her mettle and garnered rave reviews from critics and awards to cement her new status.
In what was left of the ’90s, Thora Birch appeared as Jessie Barnes in the 1996 movie Alaska, and as Clea Mahler in Night Ride Home three years later with a few guest appearances in between the two. Her best role yet came in 1999. She clinched a role in the movie American Beauty, where she played the character, Jane Burnham. Her character was the daughter of the character portrayed by Kevin Spacey. She received glowing reviews for her radiance in the movie and later secured a BAFTA Award nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category. The movie garnered over $356 million worldwide, making it the most commercially successful movie of her career.
Heading into the new millennium, Thora was involved in The Smokers (2000), and Dungeons & Dragons (2000) playing the characters Lincoln Roth and Empress Savina respectively. In 2001, she was in The Hole as Liz and Ghost World as Enid.
In 2003, she recorded another immense career success for playing the title character Liz Murray in the Homeless to Havard: The Liz Murray Story. The movie was a huge success and earned her an Emmy nomination.
Where is She Now?
From then on, things dipped relatively for the actress as she began to appear in more lower tier movies playing smaller roles. In an interview in 2014, Thira Birch revealed that it was due to the fact that she wasn’t willing to meet the demands the industry placed on her which she felt ran contrary to her identity.
She also did take a couple breaks from acting in the 2000 and 2010, however, she managed to secure roles in a few movies and series. Some of them include Dark Corners (2006); Winter of Frozen Dreams (2009); Petunia (2012); The Competition (2018); and Affairs of State (2018).
The actress is still in the processing of reviving her career. As of November 2018, she had completed a couple of other movies Above Suspicion and The Last Black Man in San Francisco. She also filming another titled Kindred Spirits.
Thora Birch’s Parents
The American Beauty actress comes from a close-knit family. The oldest child of her parents, Thora was born to Jack Birch and Carol Connors. Since the inception of her career, they have been her managers and not because they were her parents. Thora’s parents were mild adult film actors in their day. They are known especially for starring in the adult movie Deep Throat. The actress inherits an exotic ancestry from them; she is part Scandinavian, Italian, French-Canadian, and German-Jewish.
Her parents who were reluctant to let her go into acting due to their own experiences in their time there eventually gave her full support. So much so that in 1999 – when Thora Birch was just 16 – they gave their consent for her to shoot a nude scene in American Beauty. Their reason for letting this happen was that the scene was very crucial to the development of her character in the movie.
What is Thora Birch’s Net Worth?
The actress has been around for well over 25 years even though most of her success were recorded in the first half of her career so far. She has been involved in enough projects to justify a sizable kitty; this includes her seven-figure payday for her role in 2001 The Hole. Various sources put her net worth at $8 million.