Mischa Barton: Snapshot

Mischa Barton
Date of Birth
January 24, 1986
Birth Place
Hammersmith, England
Mischa Barton’s star burnt brightest during her run as damsel in distress Marissa Cooper on FOX’s teen drama, The O.C. The willowy blonde became the show’s breakout star, a Neutrogena girl and oft-photographed Hollywood scenester.

The starlet, who got her beak on Broadway at age 9, eventually yearned to make her mark beyond the tube: Marissa was killed on The O.C in 2006 – before FOX killed the show altogether – and she worked tirelessly on a slew of indie flicks.

Although Barton, who’s dated billionaire heir Brandon Davis and rocker Cisco Adler, has yet to garner fame on the silver screen, she has launched into the headlines with a 2008 DUI arrest and 2009 stay under psychiatric hold. The actress opened up about her troubles in a 2013 PEOPLE cover, saying, "It was a full-on breakdown. I was under enormous pressure."

Mischa Barton: Five Fun Facts

  1. Mischa Barton admits that the part of her body she likes least is her butt. "It's just not toned at all," she told PEOPLE in 2005
  2. Mischa Barton lists Say Anything, The Graduate and Rebel Without a Cause as her favorite movies, and The Giver, Catcher in the Rye and Howard's End as her favorite books.
  3. At 18, Mischa Barton finally decided to get her driver's license but admits she's not the best driver. "I think it is because of the way I've learned," she told PEOPLE. "It's always been on film sets, and so you're taught by stuntmen. They're like, 'Step on the gas and swerve!'"
  4. When Mischa Barton watches TV, she tunes into Animal Planet documentaries. "It's relaxing and you learn the most random facts," she told In Style. "I'm fascinated by anything shark-related."
  5. When Mischa Barton is feeling down, what's the one thing that can cheer her up? "That's easy – ice cream," the star said. "I like butter pecan Haagen-Dazs."

Mischa Barton: Biography


Mischa Barton

Early Inspiration

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner casts 9-year-old Barton in his play Slavs! as a young Russian, opposite Oscar winner Marisa Tomei. In 2004, Barton tells PEOPLE that Kushner "is the reason I act for a living."

1997 – 2001

Mischa Barton

From Broadway to the Big Screen

After appearing on Broadway, Barton makes her film debut as a socially awkward 10-year-old opposite Sam Rockwell in the 1997 drama Lawn Dogs. Two years later, the still little-known actress plays a memorably spooky ghost in The Sixth Sense, opposite Haley Joel Osment and Bruce Willis. She later takes on roles in Notting Hill and Lost and Delirious.


Mischa Barton


Beach Blastoff

After meeting producer McG while guest-starring on his short-lived crime series Fastlane, Barton is cast as the popular and privileged Marissa Cooper for his new FOX series The OC. "She was our only choice for Marissa," McG tells PEOPLE. The teen drama, which costars Benjamin McKenzie, Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson, soon draws huge audiences, propelling Barton to stardom.

Read More on Mischa Barton's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Lorenzo Agius/Getty

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Joan Marcus; Buena Vista/Photofest; FOX

Edited by Julia Wang

Mischa Barton

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