Mischa Anne Marsden Barton (born January 24, 1986) is an English 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 Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom to an Irish mother, Nuala a photographer, and an English father, Paul Marsden Barton, a foreign exchange broker. She has two sisters, Hania and Zoe. Barton moved to New York City at the age of four and became a naturalised citizen of the United States in Los Angeles on February 3, 2006. Barton graduated from the Professional Children's School in Manhattan in 2004, and attended classes at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the summer 2006.
Barton began acting at the age of eight, 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.
Recently, Barton was cast in an upcoming international film produced by the Russian band t.A.T.u., called You and I. She appeared in Assassination of a High School President, co-starring Bruce Willis, when the film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. She is also set to appear in Walled In, Homecoming and Don't Fade Away.She recently appeared on the popular show Gok's Fashion Fix on Channel 4.
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 Sale Initiative. In 2007, 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 bail.
On Thursday, January 10, 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% 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.