Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Laredo Tribune. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Currently Known For:
Actress and Model
2003 - 2007
January 24, 1986
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"I kind of live under a rock, to be honest. I very much stay in my little film world." Mischa Barton is an English-American actress, fashion model, and designer. Barton began acting professionally in 1995, though she wouldn't hit her major break until the release of The O.C. in 2003 where Barton played Marissa Cooper. The series would air for four seasons en route to becoming one of the most popular programs of its era.
Since her departure from The O.C., Barton has turned into a steady working actress in the film industry. Barton has appeared 75 throughout her career with notable film highlights like The Sixth Sense, Lawn Dogs, and Notting Hill. Most recently, Barton appeared in the 2018 film, The Basement.
England to the Big Apple
Mischa Barton was born on January 24, 1986, in Hammersmith, London. Barton was raised by her mother, Nuala Barton, and her father, Paul Marsden Barton. Nuala was a professional photographer with Irish ancestry while Paul worked as a foreign exchange broker with an English background. Barton and her family would stay in London for five years before departing to New York City for Paul's job. Upon moving to the Big Apple at five-years-old, Barton would become a naturalized citizen while still retaining her Irish and British citizenship.
It didn't take long for the acting bug to get to Barton. Upon moving to New York, she would quickly begin to ingratiate herself within the acting industry. At the age of eight, Barton would land an Off-Broadway role in the play, Slavs! (1994) which was penned by Tony Kushner. Barton's early work would be praised by media outlets like The New York Times. Barton would appear in several stage productions throughout her childhood.
Barton would go on to graduate from the Professional Children's School located in Manhattan. Upon graduating, Barton would return to London whereupon she would attend classes at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She was encouraged to attend courses like 'Acting Shakespeare' by Sir Richard Attenborough. Attenborough had directed Barton in the film, Closing the Ring (2007).
Star of The O.C.
After immersing herself within the acting world at a young age, Barton wouldn't take long to make her teenage and adult performance debut. Barton's earliest credits date back to 1995 with the short film Polio Water. With that being said, Barton first consistent work would be as a voice actress on the kids' television show, KaBlam! (1996). Barton would appear on the program in ten episodes as the character Betty Ann Bongo.
Shortly after her television role in KaBlam!, Barton would make her feature film debut in the movie, Lawn Dogs (1997) as Devon Stockard. The film became a critical darling as it charted to the top of film festivals all over the world. Barton would become a critical darling for her performance as she showcased exceptional range from a young talent. After Lawn Dogs, Barton would be cast in the films Notting Hill (1999) and The Sixth Sense (1999). Both films would become smash box office successes as they combined for more than a billion dollars at the international office. Despite being a teenager, Barton was earning glowing praise from critics like Roger Ebert who called her performance 'natural' and 'free'.
As a young actress with critics raving about her, it didn't take long for Barton to turn into something of a teenage icon. Barton would land an advertising campaign for Neutrogena in 2003, and she would appear in three short films for the brand. Barton would also earn spokesman status for brands like Bebe, Calvin Klein, JC, and Aeropostale. Along the way, Barton would land a spokesperson role for the non-profit known as S.A.F.E. (Skin Awareness for Everyone).
In 2001, Barton would be cast on the television show, Once and Again as Katie Singer. This was Barton's first taste of regular television work, though she would only appear in eight episodes before the program was canceled. Barton wouldn't have to wait by the phone for long as she was immediately brought in to read for the role of Marissa Cooper in The O.C. (2003). Barton would land the role and the series would become her calling card, airing for four seasons en route to immense pop culture success. The series followed a group of wealthy teenagers as they live their lives in Orange County, California. Barton's work would be celebrated at several Teen Choice Awards, and she was also called 'The Next Big Thing' by Glamour. Unfortunately, the fourth season of The O.C. would see a stumble in ratings and the show would soon be shelved.
Following the end of The O.C., Barton would have trouble maintaining her up-and-comer status. Still, Barton would star in Richard Attenborough's film, Closing the Ring as Young Ethel Ann. The famous director would claim that Barton brought 'beguiling vulnerability' to her character, stating that she could convey pain, sadness, hope, and fear in a 'riveting' way. Barton would continue cultivating critical praise with an appearance in Assassination of a High School President (2008) alongside Bruce Willis. It was around this time that Barton disavowed working on television, stating that she would only return to the medium for 'the right projects'.
In the late 00s, Barton would turn her attention seemingly wholesale toward the horror genre. Barton would appear in the indie horror film Walled In (2009) and Morgan Freeman-directed picture, Homecoming (2009). Barton would follow those projects up with three more horror films, Apartment 1303 (2012), Cyberstalker (2012), and A Resurrection (2013). In an interview, Barton revealed that she had completely 'fallen in love' with the horror genre before saying, "I think I've gone through my little phase, for the moment."
After finishing her 'horror phase', Barton would return to the stage to perform in an Irish production of the play, Steel Magnolias. The production premiered on September 12, 2012, and Barton would once again be the center of attention. According to critics at The Evening Herald, "Barton sparkles from the moment she steps on stage."
Most recently, Barton appears content to appear in independent projects in the horror or thriller genre. Barton has appeared in several films over the last year including The Basement (2018), Oujia House (2018), and Monsters at Large (2018). Barton also announced during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards that there would be a reboot of The Hills to be released in 2019 titled, The Hills: New Beginnings.