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“I think the main surprise for me was how sad the place was,” Wentworth Miller told Dish just before the Series Premiere of “Prison Break”, the hit show on Fox in which he stars as Michael Scofield. He’s referring to the actual location where the show’s primary action takes place, the 150 year old Joliet Prison near Chicago, once home to the infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy. “You’ve got 150 years of fear and violence and pain soaked into those walls, but the overall mood there is one of despair, which helps immeasurably when you’re trying to pretend you’re in prison.”

He adds, “I’m not going to pretend that I have any idea what that’s actually like, what it is to be in prison.”

This is definitely true, since the 33 year old Wentworth Miller was born in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, in England, where his father, a Rhodes scholar, was living as a student. A short time later, the family moved to Brooklyn, where he grew up with a multi-cultural heritage. Miller is reputed to have African-America, Jamaican, English, German, French, Dutch, Syrian, and Lebanese blood flowing in his veins. “The beautiful thing about having grown up in Brooklyn,” he says, “is because of the rich cultural and racial diversity there, no one seemed to give too much thought to where I fit on the racial spectrum. But there were times when I would run up against someone who was interested in figuring out what race I was. That would come as a surprise, and in some cases, like a slap in the face.”

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 52 - September 9256
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