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Wentworth Miller Biography


Home > Actors > M > Miller, Wentworth > Biography


Birth Name: Wentworth Miller
Born: 06/02/1972
Birth Place: Oxfordshire, England, GB


Though Miller was born in Chipping Norton, England, where his father was a Rhodes Scholar, he grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, back when it was far less trendy. The cultural diversity of his neighborhood allowed him to ignore issues of race-with so many around and within him, Miller never really thought much about it. His family later moved to Sewickley, Pennsylvania where he attended Quaker Valley High School his senior year. After graduation, he attended Princeton and majored in English. Though he loved acting and appeared in school productions since he was in kindergarten, Miller blenched at the prospect of pursuing acting in the business-oriented climate of the Ivy League school. Upon graduation in 1995, Miller moved to Los Angeles and began his entertainment career as a lowly assistant at a development company, presumably to put his Princeton degree to good use.

Working at the development company rekindled his desire to act, however, and later, while working behind the counter at a Border's Bookstore, he began going on auditions. Three years after landing in Los Angeles., he got his first role on an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (WB-UPN, 1996-2003), then went on to a recurring role on the short-lived Fox series, "The Time of Your Life" (1999-2000), a spin-off from "Party of Five" (Fox, 1994-2000) starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. In a 2000 episode of "ER" (NBC, 1994- ), he played a high school quarterback injured in a student riot. After another recurring role on the teen comedy "Popular" (WB, 1999-2001) was cut short, Miller appeared as a waiter in "Room 302" (2001), a short film featured in Showtime's 9th annual Black Filmmaker Showcase. An appearance in the cliché-ridden miniseries, "Dinotopia" (ABC, 2002), a CGI fantasy about a lost continent where humans and dinosaurs co-exist peacefully, added a major-albeit cheesy-role to his resume.

In 2003, Miller was set to make a major breakthrough after being cast as a younger version of Anthony Hopkins in "The Human Stain." Miller had an intense personal connection to the racially ambiguous character-as a person of mixed racial make-up, he ran into trouble for making derogatory, though misconstrued, remarks about African-Americans, much like the character in the movie. While a junior at Princeton, he published a cartoon in the Daily Princetonian featuring Cornel West, then professor of African-American studies who was hired away by Harvard, as teaching white students a class called 'Rhythm - Why None of You Have It, and How You Can Get It." The cartoon also referred to West as "newly-purchased," an innocent academic term for newly hired that was taken as a reference to slavery. The New York Times ran a story, novelist Toni Morrison wrote an angry letter and Miller-despite his racial background-was considered a campus racist. And like Coleman Silk, Miller refrained from revealing his true nature.

After filming the movie, Miller wrote a letter to West apologizing for the cartoon, but it went unanswered. West was, however, a friend of actress Anna Deveare Smith, who played Silk's mother, and showed up at the premiere. He unexpectedly gave Miller a bear hug and all was well. The film, on the other hand, did not fair so well-it made a paltry $5 million at the box office despite the star power of Hopkins and Nicole Kidman. Meanwhile, Miller had a small supporting role in, "Underworld" (2003), a sci-fi thriller about a secret war between vampires and werevolves. But the weak showing of "The Human Stain" forced Miller to take a step back to reevaluate his life and career, leaving him without an appearance in 2004. He did make a strong comeback in 2005, starting with the music video for Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together," in which he steals the singer away from Eric Roberts at the alter. Not exactly a shining moment, but it got him back into circulation-repeatedly on VH1, at least.

After a couple of episodes on "Joan of Arcadia" (CBS, 2003-2005), he gave his best HAL impression in the big budget bomb, "Stealth" (2005), voicing EDI, the onboard computer of a runaway aerial combat plane equipped with nuclear weapons and artificial intelligence gone haywire. Miller then landed the role of Michael Scofield on the Fox series, "Prison Break," playing a structural engineer who robs a bank in order to get arrested and placed in the same prison as his brother (Dominic Purcell), a wrongly-accused death row inmate. Despite criticism for stretching the boundaries of plausibility, the show was hailed for its suspense and excitement. The show made an impressive debut, pulling 10.5 million viewers its first night and holding 8.5 million its second episode. Meanwhile, he appeared in the pilot episode of "The Ghost Whisperer" (CBS, 2005), which was set to air late September.




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