Fairuza Balk (born May 21, 1974) is an American film actress. She made her theatrical film debut as Dorothy Gale in Disney's Return to Oz. Balk also made notable appearances inValmont, The Craft, The Island of Dr. Moreau, American History X, The Waterboy, and Personal Velocity: Three Portraits.
Balk was born as Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse in Point Reyes, California. Her first name is Persian for "turquoise". Until age two, Balk lived in Cloverdale, California with her mother. They then moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she began acting at age six. They moved from London to Paris for another role. They remained there for six months before returning to Vancouver. Balk moved to Los Angeles as a young woman upon signing to act in The Craft.
Fairuza's mother, Cathryn Balk, has studied, performed, and taught the ethnic and traditional dance forms of many countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and Spain.[ Her father, Solomon Feldthouse, was one of the founding members of the 1960s psychedelic rock group Kaleidoscope, and is also a traveling folk musician. He was born in Pingree, Idaho and moved to Turkey at age 10, where he lived for six years and learned Greek, Turkish and Persian music. Balk claims Romani and Cherokee ancestry through her father.
While in London, Balk 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. It was not her debut role; that role had been in a television movie titled The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, produced in 1983. However, it was the one that brought her attention as an actress. The role led to other, minor roles, including that of Mildred Hubble in The Worst Witch, and in 1988 she moved to Paris to work on Valmont with Miloš Forman. 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.
Since The Craft, Balk has continued to find roles, primarily dark ones. In 1996 she co-starred in The Island of Dr Moreau with Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer and David Thewlis. 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. Since 2000, she has appeared in over half a dozen movies. She has also done voice work for animated films and video games, including Justice League and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. 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.