Mischa Barton says it was better to be killed in a car wreck on "The O.C." than to leave the Fox teen drama in "one of those lame farewells."

Barton's character, Marissa Cooper, died in the arms of ex-boyfriend Ryan Atwood ( Benjamin McKenzie) after Ryan lost control of his sport utility vehicle and crashed. The third season's closer aired last week.

"Well, I was really excited that I get to die, to be honest," the 20-year-old actress tells Newsweek magazine in an interview. "I've done pretty much everything else with the character. It was better than one of those lame farewells."

Marissa had been central to "The O.C." since the show's debut in 2003. The Newport Beach teen had battled depression and drug and alcohol abuse, had a brief lesbian relationship and was expelled from her posh high school for shooting a man.

Although rumors flew in recent months that Barton was ready to leave the show, she says her departure was the producers' decision.

"But I really think it's best to do movies now," says Barton, who co-stars with Hayden Christensen in "Guilty Pleasures," slated for release next year.

"I was also thinking of spending a month in London, living there and taking a course in acting," she says. "Sometimes it's nice to go back to your roots."

Will she ever return to "The O.C." in a dream sequence?

"Oh, God. I hope not. That would be cheesy."