The O.C original cast – where are they now?

The OC

by Marianna Manson |
Updated on

The O.C was one of the best television series of all time – fact

If, like us, the opening credits instil a sense of dreamy nostalgia unrivalled by anything since, then you’ll be only too happy to take a trip down memory lane with us to revisit the lives and loves of Newport Beach.

A wealthy town on the southern Californian coast, the lives of its’ glamorous, rich residents are rocked when local attorney Sandy Cohen picks up a misunderstood juvenile delinquent, Ryan Atwood, and brings him home to their very expensive mansion, introduces him to his very privileged son, wife and next-door neighbour, and eventually signs official adoption papers, bringing him into the Cohen fold for good.

The OC
©College Hill Pictures

And so begun a thrilling four season’s worth of drama, drugs, romance, death – all the elements of a truly excellent teen drama.

CHECK OUT The O.C's most ICONIC cast - where are they now?


The O.C - then and now

The O.C - then and now1 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Ryan Atwood/Ben McKenzie

Ryan Atwood was the troubled kid from Chino, the outsider in Newport who brought everyone together and launched four season's worth of California-grown TV gold.His on/off relationship with girl next door Marissa Cooper was the crux around which plenty of the drama revolved, and his brooding, bad-boy-gone good charisma and fierce loyalty earned him legions of teenaged girl fans.

The O.C - then and now2 of 26

Ben McKenzie/Ryan Attwood

Ben has been in his current role as Jim Gordon in Gotham since 2014, and prior to that starred as Ben Sherman in Southland for 43 episodes. He also dabbles in screenwriting and directing, making his directional debut on an episode of Gotham aired earlier this year. He married actress Morena Baccarin in 2017 after they became involved while she was still married to her first husband and fell pregnant with Ben's child.

The O.C - then and now3 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Marissa Cooper/Mischa Barton

Marissa Cooper was the beautiful, rich, popular girl next door who always needed saving – the perfect romantic match for perpetual savior Ryan. Drug and alcohol abuse, fighting with her family, and abusive boyfriends, Marissa went through it all, and fell from grace when she was expelled from Harbor School for shooting Ryan's brother Trey.Her self-destructive streak eventually caused her demise at the end of series three, when she died in Ryan's arms in a dramatic car accident.

The O.C - then and now4 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram

Mischa Barton/Marissa Cooper

A true California girl, Marissa has recently signed up to a reality show inspired by The O.C, The Hills (a spin off of Laguna Beach, The Real Orange County). She's now starring along OG cast members Audrina Partridge, Justin Bobby and Stephanie Pratt. She's been consistently in the limelight since her time on the O.C as a socialite and fashion influencer as well as an actress, and in 2016 competed in America's answer to Strictly, Dancing with the Stars.

The O.C - then and now5 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Seth Cohen/Adam Brody

Seth Cohen was a loner at Harbour whose unrequited love for popular girl Summer Roberts was the stuff of high school nightmares – or indeed, teen dramas – when Ryan came along and changed his life. He eventually got the girl and made friends for life in Ryan and Marissa, without ever having to shed his nerd credentials.

The O.C - then and now6 of 26

Adam Brody/Seth Cohen

Adam Brody, who hasn't aged a day since his time on the show, is one of our favourite O.C success stories.After dating Summer Roberts actress Rachel Bilson in real life before meeting now wife Leighton Meester, who starred as Blair Waldorf in Josh Shwartz's other teen smash, Gossip Girl. The two share a son, Arlo. Careerwise, Adam's movie credits include productions like Lovelace and Jennifer's Body, as well as TV work in, among others, New Girl and House of Lies. He won four Teen Choice awards for his work on The O.C.

The O.C - then and now7 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Summer Roberts/Rachel Bilson

Summer Roberts was the best friend of Marissa Cooper, and was initially introduced as a secondary character who was only ever meant to star in a few episodes.But her blossoming romance with Seth proved to be as important and nuanced as Marissa and Ryan's, and we watched her grow from a vapid bimbo into a climate-conscious Brown University student.

The O.C - then and now8 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram

Rachel Bilson/Summer Roberts

Rachel Bilson is mum to daughter Briar Rose who she shares with ex-husband Hayden Christensen, who she split from in 2017. Since The O.C she's starred in Gossip Girl (as herself), How I Met Your Mother, Nashville and the film American Heist, but has most recently been turning her attentions to fashion design and lifestyle. Her most recent credit was in ABC drama Take Two, in 2018.

The O.C - then and now9 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Sandy Cohen/Peter Gallagher

Sandy Cohen, the hippy-at-heart-philanthropist who spared Ryan from jail when he was assigned as his lawyer during a petty crime trial and inviting him to live with his family in their prestigious Newport Beach neighbourhood, was one of the most important, and lovable, characters of The O.C.His love for his wife Kirsten was unwavering, even if they did seem mismatched, and he was a well of support for all his friends and family.

The O.C - then and now10 of 26

Peter Gallagher/Sandy Cohen

In case you couldn't tell, Peter was a BONA FIDE hotty back in his day, which has potentially contributed to his stellar career, including Grace and Frankie, The Good Wife and New Girl.But his biggest achievement is his family – he recently celebrated his 36th wedding anniversary with actress Paula Harwood and they have two grown up children together.

The O.C - then and now11 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Kirsten Cohen/Kelly Rowan

She may have been the polar opposite of her husband, but business minded Kirsten was the cornerstone of the Cohen household. The daughter of a billionaire property mogul who "owned half of Newport", Kirsten was constantly struggling with demands of her family legacy – which eventually lead to her battling alcoholism at the end of series two.She was the first real mother-figure to Ryan and Seth's biggest cheerleader. #momgoals.

The O.C - then and now12 of 26

Kelly Rowan/Kirsten Cohen

Kelly Rowan is another to have not aged a day since her time on The OC. She retired from acting in 2016 after a 30 year career, starring in a number of small-scale productions.

The O.C - then and now13 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Jimmy Cooper/Tate Donovan

Jimmy Cooper, father to Marissa and childhood sweetheart of now best friend and next door neighbour Kirsten, was a successful financial advisor – until he lost the millions of a number of Newport high-fliers, left his family broke and skipped town in a boat. Despite his considerable misdemeanors, Jimmy always tried to do right by his daughters, even if that meant leaving for good, which he eventually did in season three.

The O.C - then and now14 of 26

Tate Donovan/Jimmy Cooper

Tate Donovan has been very busy in the last few years, most recently appearing as Doug Western in the Elton John biopic, Rocketman, alongside welsh HOTTIE Taron Egerton. He's also performed on Broadway and other stages across the world.

The O.C - then and now15 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Julie Cooper/Melinda Clarke

Julie Cooper was one of the most complex characters of The O.C. Best friend of Kirsten, mother to Marissa, and the wife of Jimmy Cooper Julie sure made her presence felt. An unlikely kindred spirit of Ryan's having come from humble beginnings herself, Julie was left devastated after Jimmy bankrupt them and they found themselves living in a trailer, before she went onto marry millionaire Caleb Nicol (thus becoming Kirsten's stepmother - yikes).

The O.C - then and now16 of 26

Melinda Clarke/Julie Cooper

Pictured here in her recent TV role, Gotham, Melinda has gone quiet since 2016, but that doesn't mean she isn't still living her absolute best life in LA with her dog Lucy and husband Adam.

The O.C - then and now17 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Caleb Nichol/Alan Dale

Caleb Nichol was the billionaire real estate tycoon who owned the Newport Group. A widower, his relationship with his daughter Kirsten (and her younger sister, Hailey) didn't come naturally to him, and by the time he married Kirsten's best friend Julie, tensions were at their peak.Caleb, never saw eye-to-eye with Seth and was thoroughly disapproving of Kirsten and Sandy's decision to formally adopt Ryan. He met his end when he had a heart attacked while filing for divorce from Julie.

The O.C - then and now18 of 26

Alan Dale/Caleb Nichol

Australian actor Alan begun his high profile acting career playing Jim Robinson on Neighbours, before moving on to crack the American market with his roles on The O.C Ugly Betty, and his current role as Joseph Anders in Dynasty.

The O.C - then and now19 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Taylor Townsend/Autumn Reeser

Taylor Townsend was another Harbor student initially introduced as a secondary character. She was the interfering goody-two shoes intent on stealing Marissa's crown as the social chair and star student, despite her unlikelability. After Marissa's death, Taylor gradually became more intergral to the lives of Seth, Summer and particularly Ryan. By Christmukkuh that year, she and Ryan were beginning to develop a romantic relationship, although Ryan never truly gets over Marissa.

The O.C - then and now20 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram

Autumn Reeser/Taylor Townsend

Now a mum of two, Autumn has expanded her acting repertoire to include theatre since joining The WorkJuice Players theatre troupe in 2006 playing Amelia Earhart in their popular production of The Thrilling Adventure Hour.She's also got plenty of film and TV credits under her name, including Star Trek, CSI and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

The O.C - then and now21 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Kaitlin Cooper/Willa Holland

Kaitlin Cooper is the younger sister of Marissa an the only surviving daughter of Jimmy and Julie Cooper. She's played by two actress during her time on the show, but it's only when she returns from boarding school in series two that she becomes a major character.Like her sister, Kaitlin is destined for trouble but is far less of a victim.

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Willa Holland/Kaitlin Cooper

So turns out Willa isn't a million miles away from her O.C character. Her Instagram is full of cheeky pictures and rude language, and pure DGAF sass. She's had a successful career too, appearing in another Josh Shwartz teen drama, Gossip Girl, playing troubled sociopath Agnes Andrews. She's done a number of indie films and won a Best Actress award for her role in Tiger Eyes, and voiced the character Aqua on the Kingdom Hearts video game series.

The O.C - then and now23 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Trey Atwood/Logan Marshall-Green

The bigger, badder brother of Ryan, the explosive first ever episode opened with Trey stealing a car, and going to jail. When he returns in series two, he's got a new face, but the same bad temper and penchant for danger. Arriving in Newport after his release from prison, Trey tries to make a fresh start with the help of Ryan and the Cohens, but soon becomes involved in crime again. After he tries to rape Marissa, he's confronted by Ryan and ends up getting shot by Marissa in the tussle. He survives, but leaves Newport for good after he wakes up from his coma.

The O.C - then and now24 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram

Logan Marshall-Green/Trey Atwood

Logan Marshall-Green is, contrary to popular belief, not Tom Hardy. They are in fact two separate people. A father of two, Logan is still acting, most recently in the Netflix series When They See Us and a film called Telling Lies, and he's also a keen photographer.

The O.C - then and now25 of 26
CREDIT: College Hill Pictures

Kevin Volchock/Cam Gigandet

Another bad boy, Volchock is introduced into the high class Newport circles after Marissa starts at a public school and becomes involved with regular people. He is Ryan's love rival, after Marissa falls for him following the death of her friend, Johnny, but eventually causes her death when he smashes into Ryan's car drunk as she tries to eave him.

The O.C - then and now26 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram

Cam Gigandet/Kevin Volchock

Cam didn't play a major character, but we've included him because he's JUST SO HOT.After his time on The O.C he's gone onto play another bad boy in another smash hit teen drama, Twilight, and has a glittering career, including roles in The Magnificent Seven and Burlesque, which also starred Christina Aguilera and CHER. He's now a dad to two kids, and is still VERY HOT.

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We were gripped by Ryan and Marissa’s ill-fated romance from the start, and wept when she was killed in a car accident caused by her ex-boyfriend.

And we were rooting for Adam and Summer’s relationship the whole time – even when comic book fan Anna got involved and looked as though she was going to muck it up for them.

And Sandy and Kirsten’s marriage was absolute #marriagegoals, tbh.

The show wrapped after four seasons due to declining viewing figures, despite a petition to save it gaining nearly a million signantures. Since then we’ve been waiting for it to land on Netflix (alongside Gossip Girl, another of Josh Shwartz’s smash hit teen dramas, which stars a number of O.C cast members), but so far, no such luck.

Where can we sign a petition for that?

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