Fairuza Balk was born as Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse in Point Reyes, California on May 21st 1974. Her mother Cathryn Balk, has studied, performed, and taught the ethnic and traditional dance forms of many countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and Spain whilst her father, Solomon Feldthouse, was one of the founding members of the 1960’s psychedelic rock group Kaleidoscope, and is also a traveling folk musician.
In 1983 Balk made her acting debut in the TV movie The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but it wasn’t until 1985 that stardom would beckon when she 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.
Other work followed including staring as Mildred Hubble in 1986’s The Worst Witch, Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story, and The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick.
In 1989 she played Cecile in the critically acclaimed Valmont and followed this up with Deadly Intentions… Again? in 1991.
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 Balk 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.
Balk remains a solid character actor with a show stealing performance in The Island of Dr Moreau with Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer and David Thewlis amongst others; in 1998 she gave an intense performance as a neo-Nazi goth-punk opposite Edward Norton in his Academy Award-nominated performance in American History X, and was featured in The Waterboy, alongside Adam Sandler.
“I’m beginning to get pigeonholed as the girl who plays the crazies and weirdoes – and that’s not the entirety of who I am. Hopefully, the whole point of being in this profession is that you change into anyone you want to be.”
Since 2000, she has appeared in over a dozen films including Almost Famous, Personal Velocity, Deuces Wild, Don’t Come Knocking, A Year and A Day, Wild Tigers I Have Known, Grindstone Road, and Battle Scars.
She has also done voice work for animated films, TV shows and video games, including Ray Donovan, Masters of Horror, Justice League, Family Guy, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Lords of Ever Quest. The 2007 documentary Return To Oz: The Joy That Got Away was dedicated to her.
In 2010, Balk released the single “Stormwinds” under the artist title Armed Love Militia.
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. Fairuza 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.