May 21, 1974
Point Reyes, California
Fairuza ["turquoise" in Persian] Balk was named for her haunting, emotion-soaked eyes. 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 a mere three months old. After living in a car for while, her mother finally got work in Vancouver. It was there that Fairuza got her first acting job on a TV movie. A few years later, it was off to England to film Return To Oz when at eleven she was picked from out of 1,200 girls to play the part of Dorothy.
Fairuza and her mother remained in London until she was fourteen, then headed to Paris to do Valmont. At sixteen 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.
Among her feature film roles, Balk co-starred opposite Tim Roth as the teenage runaway in Starkweather: Murder in the Heartland. Other film credits include Allison Anders' Gas-Food-Lodging, for which Balk received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress.
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