The Cast of 'The O.C.,' Then and Now

2:15 PM 8/4/2017

by Sydney Odman

The show, which premiered 14 years ago this month, ran for four seasons on Fox.

Set in the affluent, upper-class neighborhood of Newport Beach, Calif., The O.C. followed the melodramatic lives of the Cohen family as they navigate through the materialistic world of Orange County's finest.

During its 2003-07 run on Fox, The O.C. gained a large following of dedicated fans, turning the modern-day soap opera into a pop culture phenomenon. The show carried on for four seasons, with a cast that included Peter Gallagher, Ben McKenzie, Kelly Rowan, Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody.

The beloved teen drama premiered on Aug. 5, 2003, exactly 14 years ago. In celebration of the anniversary, The Hollywood Reporter checks in on the stars of The O.C. and where they are now in their careers. 

  • Ben McKenzie

    Ryan Atwood

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    Ben McKenzie starts his journey on The O.C. as Ryan Atwood, a troubled 16-year-old with a criminal record and a broken home. After being kicked out of the house by his alcoholic mother, Ryan is taken in by the Cohens, a wealthy family from Newport Beach, where he struggles to adjust to his new posh surroundings. Since his time as a teen outcast on The O.C., McKenzie has continued his work in television. He appeared as Officer Ben Sherman in Southland and currently stars as Detective James Gordon in Gotham, a crime drama following Gotham City prior to the rise of Batman. 



  • Mischa Barton

    Marissa Cooper

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    Mischa Barton portrays Marissa Cooper, the love interest of Ryan Atwood throughout the show. At the end of the third season, Marissa is killed in a car accident, as a result of Barton's choice to leave The O.C. At a young age, Barton got her start working in theater, having appeared in Tony Kushner's Slavs! and James Lapine's Twelve Dreams. Later this year, the actress is set to appear in The Toybox alongside Denise Richards. 

  • Adam Brody

    Seth Cohen

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    Seth Cohen is a socially awkward and eccentric teenager who quickly forms a bond with Ryan Atwood upon the newcomer's arrival in the Cohen household. Seth, played by Adam Brody, is known for his quick-witted attitude and particular interest in comic books. Brody won four Teen Choice Awards for his performance on The O.C. and has since appeared in films such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Sleeping With Other People, Scream 4 and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. The actor is set to appear in upcoming comedy film Big Bear later this year. 

  • Rachel Bilson

    Summer Roberts

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    Although Summer Roberts was originally intended to be a small supporting character, Bilson's popularity among viewers led to her pivotal role in The O.C. throughout all four seasons. Summer is Seth's main love interest on the show, with the two characters ultimately getting married in the final episode. Despite her spoiled and materialistic attitude, Summer later proves to be much more intelligent than she initially lets on. Since her time as a Newport socialite, Bilson has appeared in films such as The Last Kiss and Jumper. She also starred in the television series Hart of Dixie and currently portrays Alyssa Greene on CMT's Nashville

  • Peter Gallagher

    Sandy Cohen

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    Before he was idealistic lawyer Sandy Cohen, Peter Gallagher appeared in American Beauty, While You Were Sleeping and the television series The Secret Lives of Men. Currently, Gallagher plays the recurring role of Deputy Chief William Dodds on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Throughout his time on The O.C., Gallagher's character Sandy often played an influential fatherly role to both Ryan and Seth (Adam Brody).



  • Kelly Rowan

    Kirsten Cohen

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    Canadian-born actress Kelly Rowan plays Kirsten Cohen, Sandy's wife. Unlike her husband, Kirsten is a conservative Newport native fully immersed in the high-society lifestyle she was raised in. Despite her upbringing, Kirsten quickly proves her loyalty to her work and to her family, as she comes to accept Ryan Atwood as one of her own. Rowan has made appearances on a variety of television shows including CSI: Miami, Dallas, Growing Pains and the television film Cyberbully

  • Melinda Clarke

    Julie Cooper

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    Melinda Clarke portrays the devious Julie Cooper, mother to Marissa and Kaitlin Cooper. In addition to her work on The O.C., Clarke is known for her television appearances in Days of Our Lives, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Nikita. In 2016, the actress appeared in Fox's Gotham, alongside former co-star Ben McKenzie. 

  • Tate Donovan

    Jimmy Cooper

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    Tate Donovan, known for his roles in television series Damages and critically acclaimed film Argo, portrays Jimmy Cooper on The O.C. Jimmy is a loving father who gets caught up in an embezzlement scandal that sends his life into a tailspin. Donovan is also famously recognized for voicing the title character in Disney's animated film Hercules




  • Alan Dale

    Caleb Nichol

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    Alan Dale plays Kirsten's father Caleb Nichol, a powerful real estate owner. Since his time as a Newport Beach businessman on The O.C., Dale has appeared in a variety of television shows including Ugly Betty, N.C.I.S., The West Wing, Entourage and Once Upon a Time. The New Zealand-born actor also appeared in films such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Captain America: Winter Soldier. He is also set to star in the upcoming CW drama Dynasty, set to premiere in October

  • Willa Holland

    Kaitlin Cooper

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    Willa Holland plays Kaitlin Cooper, Marissa's younger sister. Originally portrayed by Shailene Woodley in The O.C.'s first season, Kaitlin spends of much of the show's beginnings away at boarding school. In the third season, Holland appears as Kaitlin on a recurring basis, to be later added as a cast regular in the final season of the show. Holland also appeared as Agnes Andrews in hit TV drama Gossip Girl and currently stars as Thea Queen in The CW's Arrow.

  • Autumn Reeser

    Taylor Townsend

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    Taylor Townsend, portrayed by Autumn Reeser, first appears on The O.C. in the show's third season. Taylor is a very intelligent and slightly neurotic overachiever who is identified as the nemesis of Summer Roberts and becomes a love interest to Ryan. Reeser has since appeared in HBO's Entourage as Lizzie Grant, as well as in Clint Eastwood's critically acclaimed film Sully

  • Chris Pratt


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    Although today he is more popularly known as Star-Lord within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Pratt appeared in The O.C.'s final season as Ché, one of Summer's classmates at Brown University. Soon after his stint as a recurring cast member of The O.C., Pratt starred in NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation as the beloved Andy Dwyer. Since then, Pratt has appeared in films such as The Five-Year Engagement, Zero Dark Thirty, The Lego MovieJurassic World and the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise


  • Olivia Wilde

    Alex Kelly

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    Olivia Wilde plays Alex Kelly, a recurring character in The O.C.'s second season. Alex is the Newport Beach resident bad girl, dating both Seth Cohen and Marissa Cooper during her time on the show. Since her performance on The O.C., Olivia Wilde has made a name for herself starring in films such as Tron: Legacy, Cowboys & Aliens, Her and Rush. She is perhaps best known for her role as Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley in another former Fox series, the critically acclaimed medical drama House