Stardom hit Mischa Barton hard and fast.
Born in England but raised in New York, she started acting in theater when she was still in single digits, then scored a role—in a TV movie called New York Crossing—when she was barely 10. Within a couple years she had been on the big screen in Notting Hill and The Sixth Sense, and then she played the high school love interest of a pre-Thirteen Evan Rachel Wood in the ABC drama Once and Again.
So Barton was technically a show business veteran by the time she joined the cast of The O.C. at 17. But as we all know now, the Fox drama would prove to be, if not quite as enduring as that other cult-classic, prime-time teen soap Beverly Hills, 90210, then at least as life-changing for its stars.
Though the show premiered in 2003, a few years before Twitter would make celebrities so much more accessible to their critics, the comings and goings of the comely ensemble that also included Rachel Bilson, Adam Brodyand Ben McKenzie were still so much headline fodder.