A native of La Jolla, CA, actress Autumn Reeser grew up in nearby Oceanside and Carlsbad and gravitated to drama as a young girl; she reportedly discovered her life's calling when she felt inspired by a child's portrayal of a mouse in a local stage version of Cinderella. Reeser commenced tryouts for local theatrical productions not long after her sixth birthday and continued to appear in a variety of plays and musicals through her late teens, then enrolled in the University of Southern California at the age of 17 and studied acting while supporting herself by waiting tables on the side.
The thespian scored her first major acting coup in 2001, with a bit part on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, then signed for a series of guest roles on programs including Cold Case, George Lopez, and Grounded for Life, in addition to films such as the independent drama Americanese (2006) and the collegiate-themed ensemble film Palo Alto (2007). She only came into her own, however, with a portrayal of backward and maladroit Taylor Townsend on seasons 3 and 4 of the prime-time teen-oriented soaper The O.C. (2005-2007). In 2008, Reeser signed on to play Phoebe Valentine, one of a family of Greek immortals whose collective mission involves bringing human soulmates together, on the Kevin Murphy-produced romantic comedy series Valentine. The show was quickly cancelled, and Reeser joined the HBO series Entourage, playing the recurring role of junior agent Lizzie Grant for a handful of episodes. She was next cast in two more short-lived series: superhero dramedy No Ordinary Family (2010-11) and submarine drama Last Resort (2012-13).