Thora Birch (born 11 March 1982) is an American actress. She got her first role at the age of 6 in the short-lived sitcom Day By Day (1988). That performance was followed by an appearance in the motion picture Purple People Eater (1988), for which she received a Young Artist Award for "Best Young Actress Under Nine Years of Age". Birch's profile was raised significantly with major parts in films such as All I Want for Christmas (1991),Patriot Games (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Monkey Trouble (1994), Now and Then (1995), and Alaska (1996).
Her breakthrough role came in 1999 with the Academy Award winning film, American Beauty. Her performance was well received by both critics and audience and brought Birch to an international recognition. She later played the lead role in Ghost World (2001) for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Birch has not been in the spotlight since Ghost World. She has since appeared in independent and straight-to-video films such as Dark Corners (2006), Train (2008) and Winter of Frozen Dreams (2009).