Fairuza Alejandra Balk (born May 21, 1974) is an American film actress. She is best known for her role in the 1996 movie The Craft and, more than ten years earlier, in Disney's 1985 Return to Oz.
Fairuza Balk was born as Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse inPoint Reyes, California to Cathryn Balk, a belly dancer of Dutch descent, and Solomon Feldthouse, a musician. It is said that when she was born her father saw her turquoise eyes and exclaimed, "Fairuza!", meaning "turquoise." Fairuza is the Persian word "فيروزه" firouzeh.
Soon after her parents divorced, Balk and her mother became world travelers. She was raised for the first part of her life in San Francisco on a commune-type ranch. They then moved to Vancouver when she was nine. At 11 they moved to London, where she attended various prestigious ballet and acting schools. It was at this time that she was selected by the Walt Disney Company to star in Return to Oz, the loose sequel to 1939's The Wizard of Oz. It was not her first role (that was a television movie called The Best Christmas Pageant Ever made in 1983), but it was the one that brought her attention as an actress.
The role lead to other minor roles, and in 1988 she moved to Paris to do more work as an actress. By 1989 she was back in Vancouver, where she attended high school.
However, she soon decided to take correspondence courses instead 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.
A couple of years later she cast in as lead role in The Craft, in which her character forms a teenage coven with characters portrayed by Neve Campbell, Rachel True and Robin Tunney. Her casting would seem particularly appropriate as Balk studies Wicca in real life and was part owner of a store dedicated to that religion named Panpipes Magickal Marketplace. She has since sold her interest in the store and is no longer affiliated with it.
Balk has continued to find roles. She had a memorable performance as a neo-Nazi opposite Edward Norton in American History X (1998) and since 2000 she has appeared in half a dozen movies. She has also done voice work for animated films and video games, including Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as Mercedes Cortez.
Balk lives in Venice, California, and has an apartment in New York City. Outside her career, her interests include writing poetry and fiction, playing guitar, singing, and dancing. Over the years she has been romantically involved with a number of well known men including British actor David Thewlis who appeared with her in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) and C.M. Talkington, director and writer of the cult classic, Love and a .45. She is the lead singer in a band.
- Balk belly dances, which she did in the movie The Island of Dr. Moreau.
- She has four cats: MoMo, Oscar, Sweetpea Poteet Tennessee, and Mouse.
- She has nine tattoos, including a Green Triangle tattoo on her shoulder which is the symbol used by the Nazis to classify people of gypsy origin/heritage during World War II.
- Her nickname is Ru.
- Her favorite authors include: William Burroughs, James Joyce, Isabel Allende, Mikhail Bulgakov, Johann Heinrich Jung, Oscar Wilde, and recently Ernest Hemingway and Balzac.
- There is an Irish band named after her.
- She is quite adept at playing pool.
- Plays both the guitar and the piano.
- Has a nose ring.
- Loves listening to punk rock music
- Balk is of Persian and Romany heritage.
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1983, TV)
- Return to Oz (1985)
- The Walt Disney Comedy and Magic Review (1985, video)
- Deceptions (1986, TV)
- The Worst Witch (1986, TV)
- Discovery (1986)
- Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story (1987, TV), as Barbara Hutton at 12
- The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick (1988)
- Valmont (1989)
- Deadly Intentions... Again? (1991, TV)
- Gas Food Lodging (1992)
- Shame (1992, TV)
- The Danger of Love (1992, TV)
- Murder in the Heartland (1993, TV)
- Imaginary Crimes (1994)
- Tollbooth (1994)
- Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995), alongside Andy Garcia
- Shadow of a Doubt (1995, TV)
- The Craft (1996)
- The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
- The Maker (1997)
- American Perfekt (1997)
- There's no Fish Food in Heaven (1998)
- American History X (1998)
- The Waterboy (1998)
- The Sopranos (TV, appearing in three episodes in 1999 and 2001)
- Family Guy (TV animated series, three episodes from 1999-2001)
- Red Letters (2000)
- Almost Famous (2000)
- Play (Moby album) (2001, in video)
- Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002), as Paula
- Deuces Wild (2002), as Annie
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002 video game), as Mercedes Cortez
- Justice League (2003), as Penny
- Lords of Everquest (2003 video game), as "Lady T'Lak"
- What Is It? (2005), as Snail
- Don't Come Knocking (2005), as Amber
- A Year and a Day (2005), as Lola
- Wild Tigers I Have Known (2006), as Logan's Mom
- Masters of Horror (2006, TV), episode Pick Me Up as Stacia
- According to one page on her own website she was born in Canada, but her listing on the California Birth Index 1905 - 1995 maintains that Fairuza A. Feldthouse was born in Marin County, California on 21 May 1974.