Josh Schwartz is an American screenwriter and television producer best known for creating the teen drama series ‘The O.C’. Aged just 26 at the time he created and ran the drama series, he became one of the youngest people in network history to create a network series and run its day-to-day production. He was born into a creative family; both his parents were toy inventors and he undoubtedly inherited their ingenuity and artistic abilities. He dreamed of becoming a writer from a young age and was fascinated by movies. He used to watch a lot of films as a youngster and decided to pursue a profession that would allow him to combine his passion for the films with his love for writing. After completing his high school he went to the University of Southern California (USC) to study screen and television writing. He won the prestigious Nicholson Award in Screenwriting while he was in his sophomore year and was overjoyed at this achievement. However, the prize was revoked as he had to be in his junior year at the time in order to be eligible for the award. He was disappointed, but nonetheless he realized his potential and decided to try his fortunes in Hollywood. He got his big breakthrough a few years later when he created the drama series ‘The O.C.’ which made him a famous name in the television world
Childhood & Early Life
He was born as Joshua Ian "Josh" Schwartz on August 6, 1976, Providence, Rhode Island to Jewish parents. Both his parents, father Stephen Schwartz and mother Honey were toy inventors and had worked on the development of toys such as Transformers and My Little Pony before opening their own company.
He is the eldest among three siblings and has one younger brother and one sister.
From a young age, Josh loved to watch movies, and was fascinated by Hollywood. Another one of his loves was writing. As a little boy he often dreamed of becoming a writer.
Josh Schwartz went to Providence's private Wheeler School and graduated in 1994. As a student he began writing scripts that focused on the lives of his friends. He was also a good actor and often impersonated the characters he saw on television. He also actively participated in school plays.
He entered the University of Southern California (USC) in 1995 to study screen and television writing. There he became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. During this time he tried his hand at stand-up comedy but soon realized that this was not his forte.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
He developed into a skilled scriptwriter while still in the university and sold his first screenplay to Sony's TriStar Pictures in 1997. However, the movie was never made.
He wrote a TV pilot called ‘Brookfield’ ABC/Disney while he was still studying at USC. The story which was about a group of wealthy kids in a boarding school was sold just a few months after the sale of his first script. This too was never aired.
Josh Schwartz decided to drop out of USC in order to concentrate on his career. He wrote a pilot called ‘The O.C.’ for Warner Bros. TV and Wonderland Sound and Vision in 2003. The TV show was produced with him as creator and executive producer.
’The O.C.’ was a teen drama, revolving around a group of teenagers and their families living in the wealthy seaside community of Newport Beach in Orange County, CA. It debuted on the Fox Network in August 2003.
The show became an instant hit with the teenagers who could easily connect with the characters of Ryan Atwood, his brother Seth, and their neighbor Marissa Cooper who were portrayed in the series. The show became popular rapidly and soon gained a following among not just teenagers, but also older adults.
Another reason for the show’s success was its music which Schwartz had personally selected according to his musical sensibilities. The show’s music helped create an awareness of indie rock bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Bloc Party and Rooney.
The show ran for a total of 92 episodes spread over four seasons. The last episode of the show was aired in February 2007.
In 2007, he collaborated with Chris Fedak to co-create the action-comedy/spy-drama TV series, ‘Chuck’. The series was about a computer-whizz named Chuck who worked at a dead-end job as a computer service expert at a Burbank, California. It was a successful series that ran for five seasons till 2012.
He served as the series co-creator, writer and executive producer, of the TV series ‘Gossip Girl’ which was based on the ‘Gossip Girl’ series of books by Cecily von Ziegesar. The popular series aired from 2007 to 2012.
His claim to fame was the teen drama series ‘The O.C.’ which became one of the most popular new dramas of the 2003–2004 television season. The series premiered with high ratings and is regarded as a as a pop cultural phenomenon, and has been broadcast in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Awards & Achievements
Schwartz was nominated for the 2004 Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama (for ‘Premiere’) for ‘The O.C.’ He was also nominated for a People's Choice Award for the same series.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married Jill Stonerock on September 20, 2008. He is good friends with the actress Rachel Bilson who was the maid of honor at his wedding. The couple has one daughter.
Josh Schwartz has an estimated net worth of $70 million