AMERICAN BEAUTY star Thora Birch got her big break in acting thanks to an early obsession with bald TV detective KOJAK.

The actress first appeared on screen in commercials from an early age - all because of an uncanny impression of Telly Savalas' lolly-pop munching cop.

Birch explains. "When I was four-and-a-half, my baby-sitter videotaped me doing my Telly Savalas impression. That is how I got my first parts in commercials.

"I scrunched up my face and ran around saying, 'Who loves ya, baby?'"

19/05/2003 21:08