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Matthew Long

Mischa Barton Biography


Home > Actresses > B > Barton, Mischa > Biography


Birth Name: Mischa Barton
Born: 01/24/1986
Birth Place: London, England, GB


Born on Jan. 24, 1986 in Hammersmith, London, England, Barton was raised in New York, NY from the age of five by her father, Paul, a British foreign exchange broker and her mother, Nuala, an Irish photographer and homemaker. When she was eight, Barton and her sister attended summer camp, where they were asked to write and perform their own monologues. Barton's piece about turtles was so compelling that she caught the attention of an agent who was scouting new talent. Excited about the news, Barton's parents jumped at the opportunity to help nurture their daughter's talents and supported her decision to pursue acting at an early age. Barton first began her road to stardom in theater, where she landed the lead role in Tony Kushner's off-Broadway production of "Slavs!" (1994-95) starring opposite Marissa Tomei. She went on to Broadway for productions such as James Lapine's "Twelve Dreams" (1995) and Catherine Butterfield's "Where the Truth Lies" (1996), which was part of the New York Shakespeare Festival. Barton's riveting stage presence not only opened more doors to acting, but her striking looks also caught the attention of the modeling world.

As a pre-teen, Barton had transitioned from Broadway to the small-screen as a recurring character on the daytime soap, "All My Children" (ABC, 1969- ), all the while posting for advertisements for Calvin Klein and Vogue. With her career on the rise, it was only a matter of time that Barton's hard work and much deserved exposure would pay off. In 1997, Barton made her big-screen debut with the Sundance favorite, "Lawn Dogs," where she proved her worth as an alienated girl who stirs up controversy in her neighborhood after befriending an outcast. Shortly after, Barton landed small, but memorable roles in "Notting Hill" (1999) and the supernatural thriller, "The Sixth Sense" (1999). The following year, Barton played a young girl eager to lose her virginity in "Skipped Parts" (2000), co-starring Drew Barrymore, then was the shy, reserved roommate of lesbian lovers (Piper Perabo and Jessica Paré) at a strict boarding school in "Lost and Delirious" (2001). At age 15, Barton had comprised an impressive resume that most actors her age - and some, even older - could only have dreamed of having.

In 2003, Barton landed her breakthrough role, playing Marissa Cooper, the sun-kissed, beach-beauty on "The O.C" (Fox, 2003-07), which was labeled by many as the modern-day "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000). The quick popularity of teen drama helped Barton continue her modeling as a spokesperson for Neutrogena and as a regular on the pages of magazines like YM and Seventeen. As the new "It" Girl, Barton managed to prove her talents off-screen as an excellent student as well, maintaining exceptional grades at the Professional Children's School in Manhattan and taking classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Following a turn in the quirky sex comedy "The Oh in Ohio" (2006), Barton left "The O.C." after her character was killed by driving off the road and crashing in the season three finale. Meanwhile, she starred in several forgettable features, including "Closing the Ring" (2007) and "Virgin Territory" (2007), a straight-to-DVD release that received minimal exposure.

On Dec. 27, 2007, Barton was arrested in West Hollywood, CA on suspicion of misdemeanor drunk driving, after police spotted her straddling two lanes in her Ford Explorer. Officers also found marijuana and an undisclosed controlled substance. She was released eight hours later on $10,000 bail, and was later charged with driving without a license, possession of marijuana and driving under the influence. After admitting her mistake and claiming full responsibility on Ryan Seacrest's radio show, Barton pled no contest in April 2008, leading the court to drop the drug charge and give her a three-year probation and $2000 fine. Meanwhile, she made few appearances in 2008, but was seen the following year in "Assassination of a High School President" (2009), a dark teen comedy about the most popular girl in high school who persuades a sophomore on the school newspaper to investigate the theft of the SAT test, leading to fingers pointed at the principal and the school's top jock.

Just as it was announced she would star in The CW series, "The Beautiful Life," executive produced by Ashton Kutcher, Barton made news in July 2009 when she was placed under an involuntary psychiatric hold (also known as a 5150) by the Los Angeles Police Department and transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Authorities had responded to her home after receiving a non-911 call from her residence. Speculation for the 5150 hold ran the gamut - from a suicide attempt to complete mental breakdown. Fans had long worried about Barton since her post-"O.C" period when her behavior began appearing erratic; her appearance frighteningly thin and dishelved. While in the same hospital as Britney Spears the year before and for the same 5150 hold, Barton missed the premiere of her film, "Homecoming," in which the actress portrayed the ex-girlfriend of a football player in a small town who does whatever it takes to get her beau back. When the actress was released, she shrugged off any concerns and began shooting "Beautiful Life" in Manhattan. Kutcher and everyone involved in the series stood behind their star as they continued shooting for the fall premiere. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled after only two episodes.