Throughout the 1990s, Thora Birch starred in some of the most successful movies of the decade, from her child star days to taking on more mature roles around the turn of the millennium. To list just a few of her projects: She played Harrison Ford’s daughter in Patriot Games. She starred in the coming-of-age movie Now and Then and the Halloween hit Hocus Pocus. In 1999, she starred in American Beauty, and in 2001, she was in the cult classic Ghost World.
Today, Birch is still acting. She was recently in an acclaimed movie and had a recurring role in a long-running TV show. She’s also moved into the worlds of podcasting and directing. Read on to find out more about Birch’s life now at 40.
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Making the transition into being an adult actor doesn’t seem to have been too difficult for the star. But, around the early 2010s, Birch was taking on fewer roles. She told The Guardian in 2014 that at one point she “decided to take a break and live my life, branch out a little, educate myself.” These days, she’s back to working more regularly on screen. Recently, she had a role in the acclaimed 2019 movie The Last Black Man in San Francisco. She also played the role of Gamma/Mary on The Walking Dead in 2019 and 2020. Other movie roles include The Etruscan Smile, Above Suspicion, and 13 Minutes.
As announced in May 2022, Birch is going to direct her first feature film, a movie for Lifetime about the killing of Gabby Petito. Birch is also going to play Petito’s mother.
“I’ve been wanting to direct since I was about nine or ten years old,” Birch told RogerEbert.com in May. “The first films that I worked on where I really felt like I was an actor, starting with Paradise, were also the first ones where I noticed that according to everybody else, the most important person on the set was the director. That got me thinking, ‘If that’s the most important person, then that’s what I want to be doing.’ On every project I worked on from that point on, the role of the director became my focus.”
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Birch currently stars in the thriller podcast series Overleaper, in which she plays multiple characters.
“Well, I will admit, it had me at the word ‘podcast,'” Birch told ComicBook.com about joining the series, “but once I delved into the characters and the story and the overall trajectory of where this story was going, the fact that it was a mixture of a thriller, sci-fi, all these elements and in a weird, weird way, even a true crime element, all these elements came together to me.”
Birch married talent agent Michael Benton Adler in 2018. The actor posted about the wedding—which took place at San Francisco City Hall, as reported by W Magazine—on social media.
“It’s done! I’m a married woman now,” she wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of herself and Adler. “This is not the official photo but it’s my thank you to all my fans for their positive energy! I felt it every second!! party time. Hehe.”
After nearly 30 years, a Hocus Pocus sequel is scheduled to be released this September, but, unfortunately, Birch is not returning to her role of Dani. Asked by ComicBook.com if she would at least have a cameo, Birch said, “Everybody tried so hard. Everybody tried so hard to make that happen and it just didn’t, but everybody tried so hard. That was everybody’s intention. But you know what? At the end of the day, just between you and I, I’d probably rather play [Bette Midler’s witch character] Winifred in the future. I’d probably rather play Winnie.”
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