Real name: Fairuza Alejandra Balk
Birthdate: May 21, 1974
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Fairuza Alejandra Balk (born May 21, 1974) is an American film actress. She is known for her role in the 1996 movie The Craft, the 1998 movie The Waterboy and, more than ten years earlier, in Disney's 1985 Return to Oz.
Balk was born as Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse in Point Reyes, California. Her mother, Cathryn Balk, is a belly dancer and dance teacher of Dutch descent. Her father, Solomon Feldthouse, who is Iranian, is a traveling musician who was born in Pingry, Idaho and moved to Turkey at the age of ten, where he lived for six years and learned Greek, Turkish and Persian music. 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 in London 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 led 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 a 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 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, as demonstrated in the movie The Island of Dr. Moreau. Her nickname is Ru. Her favorite authors include: William Burroughs, James Joyce, Isabel Allende, Mikhail Bulgakov, Oscar Wilde, and recently Ernest Hemingway and Balzac. She is quite adept at playing pool and plays both the guitar and the piano. Though an avid reader, she is in fact dyslexic.
She is also a well known Pagan, even before shooting 1996's The Craft. She provided some Witchcraft information on set, as well as helped design many of the sets to match real Pagan rituals. She used to own a Pagan shop in Los Angeles but recently sold it; however she still practices Paganism.