The Cast of The O.C.: Where Are They Now?
It's hard to believe, but The O.C. — aka the defining teen soap opera of the early 2000s — is 15 years old. While the show has been off the air since 2007, its cultural impact has lasted through the years, including its hand in launching reality TV's fascination with the Southern California county. But did the lead actors' careers survive after the show was canceled? Keep reading to find out what Ben McKenzie, Rachel Bilson, Adam Brody, Mischa Barton, and other cast members have been up to since The O.C. faded to black.
Rachel Bilson as Summer Roberts
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Rachel Bilson has had arguably the most successful career after The O.C. She starred in 2008's Jumper and had a small role on How I Met Your Mother. In 2011, Bilson began her headlining gig on The CW's Hart of Dixie, which wrapped in 2015. She currently stars on ABC's Take Two.
Adam Brody as Seth Cohen
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Since the show went off the air, Brody has landed mostly minor roles in the worlds of TV and film, including 2009's Jennifer's Body, 2011's Scream 4, Lovelace, and recently, CHiPs. He is currently gearing up for the release of his latest project, The Wanting. On the personal front, Adam is married to Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester, and they are parents to a girl named Arlo.
Ben McKenzie as Ryan Atwood
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Like many of his O.C. costars, Ben McKenzie attempted to enter the world of film when the show ended. After a string of roles in mostly forgettable movies (Johnny Got His Gun, anyone?), Ben found success as one of the main officers in the gritty LA crime drama Southland, and after it was canceled, he was cast as the lead in Fox's Gotham. He welcomed a girl named Frances in March 2016 with his costar Morena Baccarin and the pair eventually tied the knot in June 2017.
Mischa Barton as Marissa Cooper
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When she left the show in 2006, Mischa Barton was one of the most recognizable stars from The O.C., but she was never able to re-create the overnight success that she earned when she was on the hit series. She landed a lead role in Ashton Kutcher's short-lived CW show The Beautiful Life: TBL in 2008 and also had a memorable guest stint on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in which she played a pregnant hooker named Gladys. Barton's fall from grace was mostly due to her rocky personal life, which included a 2007 arrest for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana and a reputation for hanging out with the hard-partying Hollywood crowd. Nearly a year after competing in season 22 of Dancing With the Stars, she was briefly hospitalized for voluntary mental evaluation. She is set to star in The Toybox alongside Denise Richards later this year.
Samaire Armstrong as Anna Stern
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Samaire Armstrong played Anna Stern, the quirky girl who harbored a crush on Seth Cohen. After leaving the show after the first season, Armstrong had a brief role on Entourage and starred in ABC's short-lived series Dirty Sexy Money. Since then, she has starred in shows like The Mentalist and Resurrection. In 2017, she appeared on Arrow and Grey's Anatomy. Off screen, Armstrong gave birth to her first child, Calin, in December 2012.
Melinda Clarke as Julie Cooper
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Melinda Clarke continued her notable TV career after The O.C. ended in 2007. She had a guest stint as Lady Heather on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and played a version of herself in Entourage. Like her former costar Rachel Bilson, Clarke found success on The CW, with a major role in Nikita and a guest stint on The Vampire Diaries. She also had a mini reunion with McKenzie when she appeared on Gotham.
Peter Gallagher as Sandy Cohen
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Peter Gallagher was already an established actor by the time he landed the role of Sandy Cohen on The O.C., and he's maintained his career since the show came to an end. He landed minor stints on Californication and Rescue Me, as well as a small role in Burlesque, which starred Christina Aguilera and Cher. Gallagher also had a recurring role on HBO's Togetherness before it ended in 2016 and appeared on New Girl recently. He currently stars on Netflix's Grace and Frankie.
Autumn Reeser as Taylor Townsend
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Autumn Reeser portrayed brown-noser Taylor Townsend on The O.C., and since the end of the show, she has stuck to the world of television. She had roles in a few unsuccessful shows, including a starring role in The CW's Valentine in 2009. However, she did find success with several hit TV series, including Hawaii Five-0, Necessary Roughness, and E!'s The Arrangement, and she appeared in 2016's Sully. On a happy personal note, she is a mother to two sons, Finneus James Warren and Dashiell Ford Warren.
Chris Carmack as Luke Ward
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Chris Carmack embodied the stereotypical jock when he portrayed Luke Ward on the first season of The O.C., and he's landed various handsome-guy roles since then. He had guest spots on NCIS, CSI: NY, and Desperate Housewives before landing a starring role on Nashville. He is set to appear in the upcoming season of Grey's Anatomy. Chris also got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Erin Slaver, in March 2016, and the two welcomed a baby girl named Kai six months later.
Alan Dale as Caleb Nichol
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Alan Dale had an impressive career before he ended up on The O.C., so it's no surprise that he has continued to succeed after the show went off the air. He has landed supporting roles in an impressive list of hit TV shows, including Lost, Ugly Betty, NCIS, and Once Upon a Time, just to name a few. He currently stars on The CW drama Dynasty.
Kelly Rowan as Kirsten Cohen
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Kelly Rowan played Kirsten Cohen, Seth Cohen's mother and the adoptive mother of Ryan. After The O.C. went off the air in 2007, Rowan made a cameo in CSI: Miami in 2009 and starred in shows like Perception, Castle, and Murdoch Mysteries.
Rowan gave birth to her first child, a daughter, in 2008.
Tate Donovan as Jimmy Cooper
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After leaving The O.C. in 2006 shortly before it went off the air, Tate Donovan landed a role in Damages in 2007 alongside Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. While his character was killed off after three seasons, Tate managed to get back into the public eye again when he landed a small role in 2012's Argo, which went on to win best picture at the 2013 Oscars. He was also featured on the TV series Limitless, The Mysteries of Laura, and recently starred on The Man in the High Castle.