What the Hell Happened to Thora Birch?
Thora Birch was a child actor who seemed to be making a successful transition into more mature roles. For a brief time, she seemed poised for a long and exciting career. And then almost immediately, that career dried up. These days, she is known for being fired from a Broadway play and having an over-bearing father/manager. Birch has been banished to direct-to-video schlock and Lifetime movies. Recently, there was an internet rumor that she was dead.
What the hell happened?
Birch comes from show biz parents. Jack Birch and Carol Connors were “adult film stars”. They both appeared in infamous porno, Deep Throat. They named Thora after the Norse god of thunder. Her younger brother is named Bolt. Presumably after a thunder bolt rather than the animated dog.
Must have been an interesting childhood. Reportedly, Birch’s parents were reluctant to let their daughter get into show biz. Given their histories, it’s easy to see why.
Eventually, a nanny talked them into auditioning their daughter for commercials. Here is Birch shilling Quaker oatmeal with Wilfred Brimley:
Can’t get enough? Here’s one more.
She also appeared in commercials for Burger King, California Raisins, and Vlasic Pickles.
In 1988, at the age of six, Birch landed a role in the short-lived sitcom, Day by Day.
After the success of NBC’s family comedies, The Cosby Show and Family Ties, TV was awash in wholesome situation comedies. Growing Pains was a cheap copy of Family Ties. And Day by Day was a knock off of Growing Pains. The cast included Birch, Courtney Thorne-Smith and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
That same year, Birch appeared in Purple People Eater. The family film starred Neil Patrick Harris, Ned Beatty and Shelley Winters.
It was based on the 1958 novelty song of the same name because apparently someone thought that the story of a one-eyed purple monster that eats people needed to be adapted into a movie for children.
Posted on May 1, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged American Beauty, Birch, ghost world, hocus pocus, Purple People Eater, Thora Birch. Bookmark the permalink. 92 Comments.