Daddy Dearest? Thora Birch's Dad Is the Latest Example of a Heavy-Handed Hollywood Father

Thora Birch fired from play after father allegedly harassed another actor.

December 15, 2010, 7:06 AM

Dec. 15, 2010 — -- We've heard the story about the pageant mom who forced her 3-year-old into high heels; the stage mother who hissed at her pint-sized protege from backstage; the nail-obsessed matron who all but clipped her ballerina's wings.

But what about the porn star dad who got his famous daughter fired from an off-Broadway production for allegedly harassing her co-star?

In what could be a case of fatherly love gone too far, Thora Birch had her stage dreams dashed after she was axed from an off-Broadway revival of "Dracula" a few weeks before its Jan. 5, 2011 opening. Why? According to Paul Alexander, "Dracula's" director, he removed her from the production after her father/manager, Jack Birch, threatened another actor.

Alexander told that Jack Birch objected to another actor rubbing Thora Birch's back during a scene. When the actor (who Alexander declined to name) tried to explain that he had been directed to rub Thora Birch's back by Alexander, her father said, "Listen, man, I'm trying to make this easier on you – don't touch her."

Alexander interpreted that as a threat.

"Have you seen this guy? He looks a little bit like Freddy Krueger with sunglasses -- which he never takes off, by the way," Alexander said. "So you've got this dude who looks like a body builder standing there on stage saying 'I'm trying to make this easy on you' – how else do you interpret that?"

After meeting with "Dracula's" producers on Friday, Alexander decided to remove Thora Birch from the show and replace her with an understudy.

"I had to let her go for the safety of my cast and crew," he said. "It's unfortunate because Thora's performance would have been an extremely interesting and innovative performance to watch – that's why I hired her in the first place."

Jack Birch denied that he made a threat, telling the New York Times in a story published Tuesday that he was merely "trying to convey Thora's discomfort." Meanwhile, the actress told the Times that she's in a "state of shock" over her firing, but she's not mad at her father: "My dad is my support, and he is the best support that I could ever have."

Neither Jack Birch nor Thora Birch immediately responded to's calls for comment.

Jack Birch, 62, has appeared in a variety of pornographic films and serves as a manager to Thora Birch, 28. He is married to Carol Conners, who is also an adult film star. Conners and Jack Birch reportedly met on the set of the 1972 adult film "Deep Throat."

Alexander noted that Jack Birch has been a fixture on many of Thora Birch's sets. In 2007, The New York Post reported that he attended Thora Birch's taping of a sex scene for the movie "The Winter of Frozen Dreams."

According to Alexander, Jack Birch's behavior on the set of "Dracula" was similarly intrusive. He said that during a recent rehearsal, one of his producers stopped mid-scene to ask, "Is that Jack peering through one of the set windows?"

"It really was like 'Nightmare on Elm Street,'" Alexander said. "It was bizarre. He also insisted on hanging out in the girls' dressing room. And all the girls are in it. Including other people besides his daughter! I just thought, 'This is getting stranger and stranger.'"

"I have a 31-year-old daughter and it would never occur to me to be that involved in my daughter's life," he added. "It seemed to be exactly the opposite for them."

Call it "Daddy Dearest."

"The parents of many performing kids are often living out their own unfulfilled career dreams through their children," observed psychologist Wendy Lee Walsh. "The fact that [Jack Birch] comes from a pornographic background, it seems that the unmet need is wanting to be a mainstream actor. She's probably just an extension of him. Is the back rub really a problem for her or is it a problem for him?"

Jack Birch isn't the only showbiz father who harkens back to Joan Crawford.

Though he and his starlet daughter, Lindsay Lohan, went years without speaking, for a long time, Michael Lohan couldn't stop talking about her. Through her struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, he played the "father knows best card," going on and on about the toxic people in her life (namely, her mother/his ex-wife) and her need for an intervention.

Of course, then she went to jail (twice) and rehab (more than twice). Now, it seems Lindsay Lohan and her father are on better terms. She reportedly left the Betty Ford Center on Thanksgiving to spend a few hours with him; meanwhile, he's pledged to stop talking to the press about her life.

At 29-years-old, most women are far from their father's grasp. Not Britney Spears. The pop star mom who went through a spate of legal and psychological issues in 2008 remains under two conservatorships overseen by her father, Jamie Spears -- one for her financial decisions and another for her life decisions.

Sometimes, sunny father-daughter relationships can turn dark. Take the case of Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus. In 2007, he gushed about how he was helping his daughter, the star of the overwhelmingly popular tween show "Hannah Montana," cope with "the pressures of the world."

These days, the 18-year-old star's biggest pressures seem to be explaining her penchant for giving lap dances and (purportedly) taking bong hits. On Friday, Billy Ray Cyrus took to Twitter to say he's "so sad" about the direction his daughter's life has taken.

"As a parent, before they're 18, you need to find a balance," said Walsh. "Keep them away from bad influences but let them be individuals. With Miley, we're seeing her try to be her own person for the first time. It's not very pretty."

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