Thora Birch is an American actress and producer. She made her feature film debut in 1988 with a starring role in Purple People Eater, for which she received a Young Artist Award for "Best Young Actress Under Nine Years of Age". Birch rose to prominence as a child star during the 1990s with a string of notable appearances in films such as Paradise, All I Want for Christmas (both 1991), Patriot Games (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Monkey Trouble (1994), Now and Then (1995), and Alaska (1996). Her breakthrough into adult-oriented roles came at the end of that decade, when she earned a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Jane Burnham in American Beauty (1999). Birch received further acclaim with her starring role as Enid in the cult hit Ghost World (2001), for which she earned several accolades including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. In 2003, Birch received an Emmy Award nomination for playing the title role in the television film Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story. Her other film credits include Dungeons & Dragons (2000), The Hole (2001), Silver City (2004), Dark Corners (2006), Winter of Frozen Dreams (2009), and Petunia (2012). She has collaborated on three occasions with director Phillip Noyce: Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger (1994), and Above Suspicion (2019). Birch took a break from acting between 2012 and 2016, but has since had parts in several independent features, such as The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019). From 2019–2020, she played the role of Gamma / Mary on the tenth season of AMC's The Walking Dead.Deadline reported on May 5, 2022, that Birch would make her directorial debut and co-star in an upcoming Lifetime feature film about Gabby Petito. Birch previously worked with Lifetime on two films in which she starred.