Thora Birch (American Beauty) was on track to being one of the biggest actresses of her generation until rumours of her stage dad’s demanding behaviour got her on the blacklist.
Well, it’s not spoken about nearly as much, but this hot teenage heartthrob was set to be a big star until one of his ridiculous parental figures got a little too demanding in negotiations and single-handedly lost the actor several lead roles, including a potential superhero movie.
It probably didn’t help he also wasn’t the best actor.
Thora Birch: how Hollywood’s darling disappeared
Hollywood has never been kind to its young. It is an industry that famously venerates youth and, infamously, has casually destroyed so many young people, used them up then discarded them, that to list them all would fill this entire article. The film business loves to look at young people, but has less than zero interest in looking after them. Some are destroyed over a long period, such as Judy Garland, some barely have time to draw breath, such as River Phoenix. And then are the other less sensational but no less instructive stories of the young people whose hopes were raised by the industry, but find themselves whimsically discarded.
At the start of this century, Thora Birch was one of Hollywood’s most credible young actors. She transitioned nicely from cute kid actor (as Harrison Ford’s daughter in 1994’s Clear and Present Danger) to interesting child star (in 1999’s American Beauty) to delightful indie darling (2001’s Ghost World). Then she disappeared, and no one seemed to know where or why.
In 2010, she was fired from the off-Broadway theatrical revival of Dracula after it was alleged that Birch’s father, Jack, her manager and a frequent presence at his daughter’s rehearsals, had physically threatened one of the other actors. Birch said at the time that she was “in a state of shock”. When I ask Birch about it now, she looks down in silence. Then she says: “I pissed a lot of people off over a long period of time and they found a way to upset me, hoping that upset would bring a change in my behaviour. Like a distancing … But I’m done, I’m done. People wanted me to be not fine. A lot of it was bullshit.”
Has she felt that for a long time that people are trying to get her, that they’re angry with her?
Why are they angry?
“Because I should just shut up.”
Because she’s a young woman? Because she’s an actor?
“All of it.” Read more here