Thora Birch was born in Los Angeles, as the eldest daughter of Jack Birch and Carol Connors. Both parents (who are also, to date, its managers) were pornographic film actors and mother also appeared in the famous Deep Throat. Thora Birch is of German origin, Scandinavian and Italian; her original surname, “Biersch”, derives from her German Jewish ancestors. The unusual name “Thora” is a female version of “Thor“, the name of the god of thunder according to Nordic mythology.
From an early age, her parents pushed her to appear at the hearings to interpret commercials; including those for companies such as Quaker Oats. In 1988 she had his first real role as an actress, playing Molly in the short-lived television series Day by Day, in which she was credited simply as “Thora”. That same year she played an important role in the movie Purple People Eater, along with Ned Beatty and Neil Patrick Harris, for which she won a Youth in Film Award.
The role was a turning point was that of the “tomboy” Billie Pike in the movie Paradise (1991), which had among the other performers also Melanie Griffith, Don Johnson and Elijah Wood. To get the role, Birch had to compete with over 4,000 young people presenting themselves to the hearings. She won high praise for her performance, and a springboard for her future career.
The ability to Thora impersonating tomboy parts made her get many parties in this period, in films such as Hocus Pocus (1991), All I Want for Christmas (1991) and Monkey Trouble (1994), as well as in two Hollywood blockbusters, Patriot Games (1992) and its sequel Clear and Present Danger (1994), both starring Harrison Ford.
Her performance in the movie Now and Then (1995) is considered today one of the best of her career. This film, a kind of Stand by Me from girls point of view, in which even recited Christina Ricci, Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith and Gaby Hoffmann, tells of four friends whose only opportunity to meet is represented by the birth of one of them, a situation that it leads to remember the beginning of their friendship in the summer of 1970, when they were twelve years old and began to decide what to do with their lives.
In 1996, Thora Birch turns Alaska, an adventure film that consolidates her reputation as one of the best child actors of her generation. In 1999 she plays Jane Burnham in the well awarded movie American Beauty by Sam Mendes. She appeared in independent films, such as Dark Corners (2006), Train (2008) and Winter of Frozen Dreams (2009).