Mischa Anne Barton
(born 24 January 1986) is an English-American film, television, and
stage actress, and occasional fashion model. She began her acting
career on the stage, appearing in Tony Kushner's Slavs! and took the
lead in James Lapine's Twelve Dreams at New York's Lincoln Centre.
She made her screen debut with a guest appearance on the American
soap opera All My Children (1996). She then voiced a character on
the Nickelodeon cartoon series KaBlam! (1996–97). Her first major
film role was as the protagonist of Lawn Dogs (1997), an acclaimed
drama co-starring Sam Rockwell. She continued acting, appearing in
major box office pictures such as the romantic comedy, Notting Hill
(1999) and M. Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller, The Sixth
Sense (1999). She also starred in the critically acclaimed indie
crime drama Pups (1999).
Barton later appeared in the independent drama, Lost and Delirious
(2001) and played Evan Rachel Wood's girlfriend during a guest-arc
on ABC's Once and Again (2001–02). She is known for her role as
Marissa Cooper in the Fox television series The O.C. (2003–06), for
which she received two Teen Choice Awards. The role catapulted
Barton into mainstream fame, and Entertainment Weekly named her the
"It Girl" of 2003.
Barton has since appeared in the comedy remake St Trinian's (2007),
the Richard Attenborough-directed drama Closing the Ring (2007) and
Assassination of a High School President (2008). She returned to
television, starring in the short-lived Ashton Kutcher-produced CW
series, The Beautiful Life: TBL (2009). In 2012, she returned to the
stage, performing in the Irish production of Steel Magnolias.
Barton was born in Hammersmith, London, to an Irish mother, Nuala
(née Quinn), a photographer, and an English father, Paul Marsden
Barton, a foreign exchange broker from Manchester. Barton's
grandfather on her mother's side was an Irish language professor at
the University of Belfast. She has two sisters, younger Hania Barton
and elder Zoe, a barrister in London. Barton has stated that she
briefly attended St. Paul's Girls' School in Hammersmith, but her
father's work took the family to New York City when Barton was five
years old. In 2006, ten days after her twentieth birthday, she
became a naturalised citizen of the United States. She has retained
her British citizenship. She has stated, "I like people to discern
that I'm an English-Irish girl who grew up in New York City and who
moved around a lot with her dad's job."
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.
1994–1997: Stage roles
Barton began acting at the age of eight, co-starring in the
Off-Broadway premiere of the 1994 play, Slavs!, written by Tony
Kushner. Vincent Canby of The New York Times praised Barton's "so
fine" and "chillingly authoritative" performance. New York magazine
also praised her as "a darling little girl, [that] exhibits
consummate charm". She appeared in several other Off-Broadway
productions, taking a lead role in James Lapine's Twelve Dreams
alongside Marisa Tomei at Lincoln Centre. Canby again praised
Barton, noting that she "has a sweet gravity as the doomed Emma". In
1996 Barton had a supporting role in Catherine Butterfield's Where
the Truth Lies which opened at New York's Irish Repertory Theatre.
The New York Times also remarked that "the winning child actresses
Brittany Boyd and Mischa Barton are already smart enough not to
overplay the naiveté and precocity of their respective characters."
In 1997, she appeared alongside Diane Wiest at The Public Theatre in
Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare. The New York production went on to
win the OBIE Award for Best Play.
1997–2003: Feature films and television
She made her film debut in Lawn Dogs, which won awards at film
festivals around the world. Barton won critical favour for her role,
with Janet Maslin of The New York Times praising her "poised"
performance and Empire celebrating her "hypnotic central
performance". Barton then appeared in Notting Hill (1999) and The
Sixth Sense (1999). Both films were critically and commercially
successful, respectively earning $363,889,700 and $672,806,292. She
also starred in Pups, a "Bonnie and Clyde for the MTV generation",
alongside Burt Reynolds; along with her co-star Cameron Van Hoy,
film critic Roger Ebert called their work in the film "two of the
most natural and freed performances I have seen by actors of any
Barton first appeared on television in 1994, playing a young Corvina
Lang in flashbacks in the soap opera All My Children. In 1996, she
returned to the show, replacing Michelle Trachtenberg in the role of
Lily Benton Montgomery. She guest-starred in eight episodes of the
television series Once and Again as Jessie Sammler's (Evan Rachel
Wood) girlfriend, Katie Singer. In 2001, she returned to film and
starred in the independent Canadian drama, Lost and Delirious, based
on the novel The Wives of Bath by Susan Swan. The film was met with
mixed reviews, but the performances of Barton and her co-stars Piper
Perabo and Jessica Paré were widely praised. She also starred in
Julie Johnson (2001) alongside Lili Taylor and Courtney Love,
playing the daughter of a woman in a lesbian relationship. Barton
also had a supporting role in the independent teen drama Tart (2001)
with Brad Renfro and Dominique Swain.
Other television appearances include an episode of the Fox series
Fastlane (2003). She also appears as the love interest in James
Blunt's music video "Goodbye My Lover" (2005) and in Enrique
Iglesias' music video "Addicted" (2003).
2003–2006: The O.C.
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 fan base, 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. During her time on the show,
Barton garnered several Teen Choice Awards. She was also celebrated
by Glamour as the "Next Big Thing" and as Entertainment Weekly's "It
Girl 2003" in the magazine's "It List" for top Creative People in
Entertainment. 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 films The Oh in Ohio and the comedy film Virgin Territory with
Hayden Christensen. She also joined Shirley MacLaine and Christopher
Plummer in Richard Attenborough's war drama Closing the Ring.
Attenborough praised her, saying "her ability to convey pain and
sadness, hopefulness and fear, is riveting". The Independent also
noted that "she lends her character a beguiling vulnerability."
She also appeared in the British comedy St Trinians (2007),
appearing as a former head girl of that school advising current
senior pupils on fashion and style. Later in 2007, Barton was cast
in the international film produced by the Russian band t.A.T.u.,
called You and I. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in
May 2008 and was released theatrically in Russia in 2011. She
appeared in Assassination of a High School President (2008),
co-starring Bruce Willis, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film
Festival. The Hollywood Reporter praised Barton's "captivating"
She also starred in the horror film Walled In, which was released
straight-to-DVD in March 2009. It received mixed reviews, but her
performance was praised, with IGN calling her performance
"terrific". Her next horror project, Homecoming, received a limited
release in July 2009. Barton did not attend the premiere of the
psychological thriller due to a medical issue. She also starred in
the 2009 film Don't Fade Away. In early 2009 she began filming
alongside Martin Sheen in Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain a biopic of the
Bhopal gas tragedy. The title is currently in post-production and
slated for a 2013 release.
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 2009 she 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 guest starred on a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, played an
endangered prostitute in an episode that aired on 3 March 2010. She
has since mainly filmed horror and thriller projects, taking roles
in The Sibling, Cyberstalker, a Lifetime television film and
Apartment 1303 3D, the English-language remake of the Japanese
horror film, Apartment 1303. Barton's most recent film appearance
was as the protagonist in Mark Edwin Robinson's supernatural romance
thriller, Into the Dark.
In May 2012, Barton discussed her recent preference for the horror
genre, following roles in Homecoming, Apartment 1303 and Sibling "I
literally became obsessed with that genre. I can't tell you. Because
I never watched it when I was younger; it used to be way too
terrifying for me." However Barton added that, "I think I've gone
through my little phase, for the moment." In June, Barton appeared
in the new music video of Noel Gallagher's Everybody's on the Run.
In July 2012, it was revealed that Barton would make her stage
return in an Irish production of Steel Magnolias. Barton will play
Shelby in the production, which will premiere at the Gaiety Theatre,
Dublin in September and will be followed by a nationwide tour. After
the premiere on 12 September, Barton received praise for her
performance. The Evening Herald wrote "Barton sparkles from the
moment she steps on stage...Barton's Shelby is instantly magnetic".
She is scheduled to begin filming the independent drama, Fast Life
in Los Angeles in summer 2013.
Modelling, fashion design, and endorsements
Barton has been in many television commercials and print advertising
campaigns. Barton has modelled 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 jewellery, 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
jewellery for the company Inspired Creations, including pierced
earrings and their Waxing Poetic range of charms.
In 2008, she won the InStyle "icon of the year" award from Karl
Lagerfeld at the Viper awards in Berlin. Lagerfeld spoke about
Barton; "So many girls want to look like Mischa Barton. She is a
fashion role model for an entire generation. I am so happy to be
able to present her with the VIPer Award."
Barton also became a spokesperson for the SAFE (Skin Awareness for
Everyone) campaign in 2007. 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, modelling 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 Essences.
In June 2010 she was announced as the face of Philipp Plein couture.
Plein revealed, “Being in the limelight for a young and beautiful
girl, the looks of course always get a lot of attention, Mischa
Barton got a lot and learned to live with her fame. For me it was
the big challenge to again show her as a Diva, a Rock ´n` Roll
Goddess”. The campaign will be circulated in international editions
of leading fashion magazines.
In October 2011 she appeared in a controversial photo shoot for
Tyler Shields that was showcased at the Imitate Modern Gallery in
London. Artinfo remarked at the "sense of subjugation" in the
raw-meat inspired shoot, "Barton is naked, lipsticked, and icily
coiffed like a Duran Duran-era object of desire."
In December 2011 it was reported that Barton plans to open a clothes
and shoes store in Shoreditch, the store has the working-title of 'Mischa's
Closet'. In March 2012 she debuted a new line of clothing,
accessories, cosmetics, and bath products on the internet called
Mischa's Place. Barton has plans to expand Mischa's Place beyond the
internet and is set to open a Mischa's Place flagship store in
London at Spitalfields Market.
In November 2012, she became the face of UUNIQUE LONDON, which makes
bespoke iPhone cases and also launched her own range.
Barton purchased a house in Los Angeles at age nineteen, which she
shares with her parents; she splits her time between there and
apartments in London and New York.
Barton's previous boyfriends have included Cisco Adler, Taylor
Locke, Jamie Dornan, Brett Simon, and Brandon Davis (grandson of
Marvin Davis). In mid-2007, she briefly dated magician Brandon
Silverfield, making a number of appearances as a special guest
assistant in his Las Vegas magic show being beheaded by a guillotine
and sawed in half in his "Impossible Sawing" illusion. In December
2008, there were reports that she was dating The Kooks front man
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 has worked with the home shopping
company QVC to raise funds for women's cancer research.
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 27
December 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 bail. On 11 January
2008, Barton called into Ryan Seacrest's syndicated radio show On
Air with Ryan Seacrest and said, "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 misdemeanours: driving
without a valid license; and a DUI.
On 21 January 2010, Barton was sued by her New York landlord for
refusing to pay three months of $7,000 per month rent on her
In August 2015, Barton sued her own mother for "breach of contract"
and "theft" over a house they own in Beverly Hills, California.
In July 2009, after seeking medical attention for a tooth infection,
Barton was sectioned for two weeks under a 5150 that allows a
psychiatrist to involuntarily confine a person deemed to have a
mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves and others.
She said of the incident, "If they feel you are depressed or a
danger to yourself they can hold you on a 5150. I am terrified of
needles and they wanted to pump me full of drugs and I said, "No,
absolutely not. I don't want to be here," and got into a fight with
the nurses, and that led to my 5150."