Birthplace: Los Angeles, Calif.
Birch, who was named after the Norse god of thunder, began exhibiting her thespian talents as a toddler, landing parts in TV commercials for Quaker Oats and Vlasic Pickles. At age six she was cast in the short-lived television series, Day By Day, and had a role in the children's movie, Purple People Eater, for which she won a Youth in Film Award. In 1990, the same year her brother and only sibling, Bolt, was born, Birch starred in Parenthood, another short-lived sitcom. Her breakthrough role came in Paradise (1991), alongside Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. Parts in other movies followed: Patriot Games (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), and Monkey Trouble (1994). Now and Then with Christina Ricci in 1995 marked her first venture into teenage roles. She earned top billing in Alaska in 1996. After a short break Birch was back, appearing in the Oscar-winning American Beauty (1999) and in Dungeons & Dragons (2000). For her role in Ghost World (2001) she won Best Actress Award at the Seattle International Film Festival. She also appeared in The Hole (2001). She has expressed an interest in directing.