Fairuza Balk Biography

Fairuza Balk photo

Born: May 21, 1974


Date of Birth: May 21, 1974

This Point Reyes, California native's first name means turquoise in Turkish. She grew up just north of San Francisco on a commune type of ranch. Her father was a traveling musician and her mom a belly dancer, who split up when Fairuza was three months old.

After living in a car for while, her mother finally got work in Vancouver.

It was there that nine-year-old Fairuza landed her first TV role, in a movie called Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Two years later, she was chosen from thousands of little girls to play Dorothy in her first feature film -- Return to Oz.

In 1985, she began a two-and-a-half year term at the Bush Davis Performing Arts School in the United Kingdom.

During this time, she landed a role in the telefilm, The Worst Witch and played the role of a young Barbara Hutton in Poor Little Rich Girl.

Fairuza and her mother remained in London until she was fourteen, then headed to Paris to do Valmont (1989). At 16 she was back in Vancouver where she enrolled in high school.

But being incredibly shy and dyslexic didn't help matters, and she only lasted a few days.

She ended up doing her courses through correspondence.

About her early years, Balk says: "I seriously think I had a death wish. I'd done everything and anything to totally annihilate myself, and then I turned 18 and it's, like, wow, I'm obviously not gonna die, so I might as well forget the self-destruction."

Balk went on to appear as a rape victim living in a small town in the telefilm, Shame (1992). The performance garnered her a CableAce award for best actress.

Although Balk had been in the business for most of her life, it wasn't until the feature The Craft (1996) that she received true notice from viewers.

Playing Nancy, the cunning and treacherous leader of the witches, her performance opened up doors to other big budget films like The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), American History X (1998), The Waterboy (1998) and Almost Famous (2000).

Besides acting, Balk enjoys playing piano, guitar and singing, along with getting tattoos all over her body.

She has at least nine ranging from symbols to animals. A Wiccan, she has several cats and divides her time between homes in California and New York.


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans(2009)
Grindstone Road (2008)
Humboldt County(2008)
Wild Tigers I Have Known (2006)
A Year and a Day (2005)
Don't Come Knocking(2006)
What Is It? (2004) (voice)
Personal Velocity(2002)
Deuces Wild(2002)
What Is It? (2000) (voice)
Almost Famous(2000)
Red Letters (2000)
American History X(1998)
The Waterboy(1998)
There Is No Fish Food In Heaven (1998)
American Perfekt(1997)
The Maker (1997)
The Island of Dr. Moreau(1996)
The Craft(1996)
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)
Imaginary Crimes (1994)
Tollbooth (1994)
Gas Food Lodging(1992)
Valmont (1989)
The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick (1988)
Discovery (1986)
Return to Oz (1985)
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