Mischa Anne Marsden Barton (born 24 January 1986) is an English-American fashion model, film, television, and stage actress, best known for her role as Marissa Cooper in the American television series The O.C..
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 “Addicted”.
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 the 2009 film Don’t Fade Away. She began filming You and I, A t.A.T.u.-inspired film directed by Roland JoffÃ©. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. It will be released in Russia in 2011.
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, of course.”
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 slated for a 2011 release. Barton was recently cast in The Science of Cool. In March 2011 it was revealed that Barton would be reunited with her OC co-star Willa Holland when filming begins on the comedy in Summer 2011.