Mischa Anne Marsden Barton (born 24
January 1986) is a British-American film, television, and stage actress,
perhaps best known for her role as Marissa Cooper in the American
television series The O.C.
Mischa Barton was born in London, England, to an Irish mother, Nuala (née
Quinn), a photographer, and an English father, Paul Marsden Barton, a
foreign exchange broker. She has two sisters, younger Hania and elder Zoe,
a barrister in London. Her fathers work took the family to New York City
when Barton was six, and she became a naturalised citizen of the United
States in 2006. Retaining her British citizenship, Barton in reference to
her British roots states; "I actually feel more comfortable in England a
lot of the time". Barton graduated from the Professional Children's School
in Manhattan in 2004, and took a summer short course called Acting
Shakespeare at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, in June and
July 2006, at Sir Richard Attenborough's urging, after he directed her in
Closing the Ring.
Barton began acting at the age of eight (as she said on The Friday Night
Project), co-starring in the Off Broadway premiere of Slavs!, written by
Tony Kushner. She appeared in several other Off Broadway productions,
taking a lead role in James Lapine's Twelve Dreams at Lincoln Center. She
made her film debut in Lawn Dogs, which won awards at film festivals
around the world. Since then, she has appeared in several films, such as
The Sixth Sense, Notting Hill, St Trinians, and Closing the Ring. In St
Trinians, she appeared as a former head girl of that school advising
current senior pupils on fashion and style. Barton first appeared on
television in 1996, as young Lily Montgomery in the soap opera All My
Children, and in a modern re-make of Bonnie and Clyde. She guest-starred
in eight episodes of the television series Once and Again as Jessie
Sammler's (Evan Rachel Wood's) girlfriend, Katie Singer. Other television
appearances include an episode of the Fox series Fastlane, James Blunt's
music video "Goodbye My Lover", and Enrique Iglesias' music video
In August 2003, Fox premiered the television series The O.C., about
affluent teenagers with stormy personal lives who reside in scenic Orange
County, California. The show became an overnight success due to its large
fanbase, and resulted in Barton's fame being increased through her role as
Marissa Cooper. Barton departed from the show in the third-season finale
in May 2006. The O.C. dropped in ratings dramatically during its third and
fourth seasons, and ended in early 2007.
In July 2006, Barton appeared on the British comedy variety show The
Friday Night Project as a guest host. In 2007, Barton appeared in the film
The Oh in Ohio, and again in Closing the Ring. She also appeared in the
R-rated comedy film Virgin Territory with Hayden Christensen. Later in
2007, Barton was cast in the international film produced by the Russian
band t.A.T.u., called You and I.
In 2008, Barton appeared on the popular show Gok's Fashion Fix on Channel
4. In the episode, Gok goes on an exclusive shopping trip in Paris with
Mischa. She appeared in Assassination of a High School President,
co-starring Bruce Willis, when the film premiered at the 2008 Sundance
Film Festival. The film was scheduled for a theatrical release in February
2009 but this was cancelled when the distributor, Yari filed for
bankruptcy. The film received a TV premiere in Russia on 14 May 2009. Sony
will release the title in the US on DVD on 6 October 2009.
She also starred in the horror, Walled In which was released
straight-to-DVD in March 2009. Her next horror project, Homecoming
received a limited release in July 2009. Barton failed to attend the
premiere of the psychological thriller due to a medical issue.
She also starred in Don't Fade Away, which is expected to be released in
2010. She began filming You and I, A t.A.T.u.-inspired film directed by
Roland Joffé. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008
although is expected to be released in 2010.
In a December 2007 interview, she indicated that she would return to
television for the right project; "It's not that I dislike doing
television at all. It would be interesting having more creative control
over where the storylines go or the characters. But for the right thing,
In early 2009 she starred alongside Martin Sheen in Bhopal: Prayer for
Rain a biopic of the Bhopal gas tragedy. The title is currently in
post-production and expected to be released in 2010.
Barton was recently cast in The Science of Cool. She recently starred as
one of the main characters on The Beautiful Life a new series on The CW.
The series was subsequently cancelled on 25 September 2009 after
televising 2 episodes. In December 2009 the technology company HP became
the show's sponsor and began airing the show's five episodes on YouTube.
She will guest star on a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode airing
on 3 March 2010.
Barton has been in many television commercials and print advertising
campaigns. Barton has modeled for companies Calvin Klein, bebe stores,
Aéropostale, Monsoon Accessorize, Dooney & Bourke, JC (Jeans and Clothes),
European clothing line Morgan de Toi, Jaspal, and Neutrogena skincare
products. She became the spokesperson for Keds Sneakers, substantially
increasing their sales. In Australia, she appears in commercials for teen
magazine Famous and was the guest of honour at retail giant David Jones
Tahitian Summer Collection launch. She has also endorsed Chanel jewelry,
appearing at a number of events for the brand. In a 2005 interview, she
stated that she liked the Chanel brand because they produced a large
number of clip-on earrings suitable for women who did not have pierced
ears, as she did not at the time. In 2009, having had her ears pierced
especially for her role in The Beautiful Life, she modelled jewelry for
the company Inspired Creations, including pierced earrings and their
Waxing Poetic range of charms.
In 2007, Barton also became a spokesperson for the SAFE (Skin Awareness
for Everyone) campaign. In addition, she lent her name to the TRAID
campaign (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) in
association with Visa Swap. Barton was photographed in April 2007 for the
Fall 2007/2008 advertising campaign for Italian clothing brand Iceberg,
modeling with Nicolas Bemberg.
In July 2008, she created a 14 piece handbag collection for online
retailer, ASOS.com. Barton was reportedly very involved in the line which
retails from £20 to £145. She told ASOS magazine that she first discovered
the website through her sister.
In December 2008, Barton premiered her line of headbands released on the
Stacy Lapidus line. The headbands cost from $90 to $200. She also has a
handbag line for London-based Ri2k, which is sold in the United Kingdom
and Australia only. In early 2009, she became the "new face" of Herbal
Barton's previous boyfriends have included Cisco Adler, Taylor Locke,
Jamie Dornan, Brett Simon, and Brandon Davis. In December 2008, there were
reports that she was dating The Kooks frontman Luke Pritchard. The reports
were confirmed during the relationship by Pritchard; Barton only confirmed
the relationship after the pair split in March 2009, writing on her blog:
"I think Luke is a great guy, but the type better suited as a friend. We
have a surprising amount of mutual friends in England and I don't regret
our time together, I just couldn't keep it going."
Barton is currently the spokesperson for "Climate Star", an organization
that fights Global Warming through social and legislative activism.
Barton serves as an Entertainment Industry Foundation Ambassador teaming
up with QVC to spread awareness and raise funds for women's cancer
research through the Fashion Footwear Association of New York Shoes on
In 2006, Barton also became a spokesperson for the SAFE (Skin Awareness
for Everyone) campaign and also lent her name to the TRAID campaign
(Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) in association
with Visa Swap.
Barton is an ambassador for Save the Children and the "One Water" campaign
which brings water to remote locations in Africa, and is on the board of
the "Lupus Research Committee" in Los Angeles.
Barton was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence,
possession of marijuana, and driving without a valid license on December
27, 2007. She was stopped by the police during the early morning hours in
West Hollywood, California when she was seen "straddling the lanes and
failing to signal for a turn". Police discovered during the traffic stop
that Barton "was an unlicensed driver and was driving while under the
influence of an alcoholic beverage". She was detained and released later
the same morning from the West Hollywood Sheriff Station on US$10,000
On January 11, 2008, Barton called into Ryan Seacrest's radio show On Air
with Ryan Seacrest (KIIS FM) and took full responsibility for her actions:
"I was pulled over... just that. Obviously, I’m 100 percent responsible
for my actions in this case and I’m really disappointed in myself... I
don’t know what to say about it, except that I’m not perfect and I just
don’t ever intend to do something this stupid again."
Barton was subsequently charged with two misdemeanors: driving without a
valid license; and a DUI.
On January 21, 2010, Barton was sued by her New York landlord for refusing
to pay three months of $7000 per month rent on her apartment.