Fairuza Balk (born May 21, 1974) is an American actress, musician, and visual artist. Influential in popular culture, Balk is known for her portrayals of distinctive "goth-girl" characters, often with a dark edge. She has appeared in numerous independent films and blockbuster features in both leading and supporting roles.
Following a series of television film roles, Balk made her feature film debut as Dorothy Gale in the fantasy Return to Oz (1985), for which she was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Starring Performance By a Young Actress - Motion Picture. Her career progressed with roles in the drama films Valmont (1989) and Gas Food Lodging (1992), the latter earning her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. After appearing in the historical drama Imaginary Crimes (1994) and the crime drama Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995), Balk earned acclaim for her role in the horror film The Craft (1996), which earned her a nomination for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, and a cult following. She has since appeared in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), American History X (1998), The Waterboy (1998), Almost Famous (2000), Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002), Deuces Wild (2002), Don't Come Knocking (2005), Wild Tigers I Have Known (2006), Humboldt County (2008), and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009).
On television, Balk portrayed Mildred Hubble in the 1986 adaptation of The Worst Witch, based on the book series of the same name. She appeared in the recurring role of Ginger on Showtime's Ray Donovan in 2015, and currently stars as Lizzie Thomas on the Amazon Prime series Paradise City (2021). Balk has been releasing music since 2010 under the name of her unsigned act, Armed Love Militia.
Balk was born on May 21, 1974, in Point Reyes, California to Solomon Feldthouse (born David Earle Scaff; 1940–2021), a musician, and Catherine Balk (1944–2018), a belly dancer. The name Fairuza is of Persian origin meaning "turquoise". Her father gave her the name for the color of her eyes. Feldthouse was one of the founding members of the 1960s psychedelic rock group Kaleidoscope, and was also a traveling folk musician. He was born in Pingree, Idaho and, between the ages of six and ten, lived in Turkey where he learned Greek, Iraqi, Iranian, and Armenian music.
Until the age of two, Balk lived in Jackson, Michigan with her mother. They then moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she began acting at age six. They moved to London and then to Paris for another role. They remained there for six months before returning to Vancouver. Balk owned an occult shop in Los Angeles as a young woman upon signing to act in the 1996 film The Craft.
Balk took her first acting course around the summer of 1983, where she was taught how to look at a camera and not be shy. Her first experience was in a British Columbia tourism commercial, for which she earned $100. Her debut role was in a 1983 television film titled The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. While in London, Balk was cast by Walt Disney Productions to star as Dorothy Gale in Return to Oz, the unofficial sequel to MGM's 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz. This role led to other minor roles, including that of Mildred Hubble in The Worst Witch. In 1988, at age 14, she moved to Paris to work on Valmont with Miloš Forman. She decided to take correspondence courses and went back to Hollywood, where she gained increasing notice as an actress. In 1992, she was awarded an Independent Spirit Award as best actress for her performance in the Allison Anders film Gas Food Lodging.
In 1996, she appeared in a lead role in The Craft, in which her character formed a teenage coven with characters portrayed by Neve Campbell, Rachel True and Robin Tunney. Since then, Balk has continued to find roles, primarily dark ones. In 1996, she co-starred in The Island of Dr Moreau. In 1998, she played a neo-Nazi goth-punk opposite Edward Norton in American History X, and was featured in The Waterboy, alongside Adam Sandler. Since 2000, she has appeared in over a dozen films and was briefly in a band called G-13. She has also done voice work for animated films, TV shows and video games, including Justice League, Family Guy, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Lords of EverQuest. The 2007 documentary Return to Oz: The Joy That Got Away was dedicated to her.
In 2010, Armed Love Militia, Balk's musical outlet, released the single "Stormwinds". The track was written and sung by Balk. Armed Love Militia continued, with Balk collaborating on an EP with singer and songwriter Mel Sanson.
In 2011, Balk began to exhibit art in Los Angeles and New York. On August 4, 2012, she participated in the group show 'MiXTAPE', with other notable artists Mark Ryden, Camille Rose Garcia, Jessicka Addams, and Marion Peck. Artists were asked to pick a song and create art inspired by that song. Balk chose the song "Nuages" by Django Reinhardt and created a 16"x20"x12" mixed-media sculpture. The eclectic mix of songs chosen were featured for digital download on iTunes.
|1985||Return to Oz||Dorothy Gale||Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor|
|1988||The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick||Celia Brzjinski|
|1992||Gas Food Lodging||Shade||Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead|
|1994||Imaginary Crimes||Sonya Weiler|
|1995||Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead||Lucinda|
|1996||The Craft||Nancy Downs||MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (shared with Robin Tunney)|
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
|1996||The Island of Dr. Moreau||Aissa|
|1997||American Perfekt||Alice Thomas|
|1997||The Maker||Bella Sotto|
|1998||There's No Fish Food in Heaven / Life In The Fast Lane (DVD Title) ||Mona|
|1998||American History X||Stacey|
|1998||The Waterboy||Vicki Vallencourt|
|2000||Red Letters||Gretchen Van Buren|
|2000||Almost Famous||Sapphire||Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble (shared with State and Main)|
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|2002||Personal Velocity: Three Portraits||Paula|
|2002||Deuces Wild||Annie 'The Ice Cube'|
|2005||What Is It?||Screaming Snail / Insect / Monkey Girl (voice)|
|2005||Don't Come Knocking||Amber|
|2005||A Year and a Day||Lola|
|2006||Wild Tigers I Have Known||Logan's Mom|
|2009||Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans||Officer Heidi|
|2010||Shit Year||Message Voice|
|2013||Dose of Reality||Rose|
|2014||Lost Soul||Herself||Documentary film|
|2017||August Falls||Anna Ellison|
|2018||Hell Is Where the Home Is||The Visitor||aka Trespassers|
|2020||The Craft: Legacy||Nancy Downs||Cameo|
|1983||The Best Christmas Pageant Ever||Beth Bradley||Television film|
|1985||Deceptions||Penny Roberts||Television film|
|1986||The Worst Witch||Mildred Hubble||Television film|
|1987||Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story||Barbara—Age 12||Television film|
|1991||Deadly Intentions... Again?||Stacey||Television film|
|1992||Shame||Lizzie Curtis||Television film|
|1992||The Danger of Love: The Carolyn Warmus Story||Lisa||Television film|
|1993||Murder in the Heartland||Caril Ann Fugate||Mini-series|
|1994||ZZ Top: Breakaway||Vampire Girl||Television film|
|1995||Shadow of a Doubt||Angel Harwell||Television film|
|1999||Family Guy||Coco (voice)||Episode: "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater"|
|2000||Family Guy||Connie D'Amico (voice)||Episode: "Let's Go to the Hop"|
|2001||The Sopranos||Agent Deborah Ciccerone||Episode: "Army of One" (original airing only; all scenes replaced)|
|2003||Justice League||Penny Dee (voice)||Episode: "Only a Dream"|
|2006||Masters of Horror||Stacia||Episode: "Pick Me Up"|
|2011–2012||Celebrity Ghost Stories||Herself||3 episodes|
|2015||Ray Donovan||Ginger||7 episodes|
|2021–present||Paradise City||Lizzie Thomas||TV spinoff of American Satan|
|2002||Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||Mercedes Cortez|
|2003||Lords of EverQuest||Lady T'Lak|
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- "The Wizard of Oz Production Timeline".
The Walt Disney Company releases an unofficial sequel to the 1939 film titled Return to Oz and starring Fairuza Balk. The film is not a musical, and is much darker in tone than the 1939 film.
- "Independent Spirit Awards Lives Up to Its Name : Movies: Irreverent, annual alternative awards program names 'The Player' as best of 1992". Los Angeles Times. March 29, 1993. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
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- Miller, Bridgette. Frances Bean Cobain & More Create Art That Rocks for MiXTAPE LA Archived September 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Bust (magazine). August 2, 2012.
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- Duran, Amy. IN L.A.: LA MIXTAPE @ LEBASSE PROJECTS CHINA TOWN. juxtapoz magazine. August 20, 2012.
- Boilen, Bob (July 14, 2017), "Fragile Rock: Tiny Desk Concert", NPR, retrieved February 15, 2021
- "Life in the Fast Lane". Amazon. February 19, 2004.