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‘Prison Break’ Star Wentworth Miller Once Spoke Out about His Experiences as a Biracial Person - Here’s What He Said

Gracious Egedegbe
Sep 30, 2021
07:00 A.M.
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Wentworth Miller is a globally recognized superstar thanks to his remarkable performance in "Prison Break." However, he once revealed his experiences as a biracial person in a revealing interview.

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American actor Wentworth Miller is widely known for his role as Michael Scofield in "Prison Break." He was undoubtedly the star of the series and was once nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a TV Series Drama.

Besides being an actor, Wentworth is also a screenwriter and made his writing debut in the 2013 thriller "Stroker." He also starred in the CW series "The Flash," where he played Leonard Snart/Captain Cold.

Actor Wentworth Miller attends the screening of Open Road Films' 'The Loft' at Directors Guild Of America on January 27, 2015. | Photo: Getty Images

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The actor was born in Oxfordshire, England. His father, Wentworth Miller II, and mother, Joy Marie-Palm-Miller, are both educationists.

In 2003, Wentworth revealed his parents are people of color. According to him, his father is of African-American, Jamaican, German, and English ancestry, while his mom is of Russian, Dutch, French, Syrian, and Lebanese origin.

He has two younger sisters, Leigh and Gillian. When Wentworth was born, his father was studying at the University of Oxford. His family moved to Brooklyn, New York when he turned a year old.

Actor Wentworth Miller attends the "Prison Break" screening and conversation at The Paley Center for Media on March 29, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images

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Wentworth attended Millwood High School in Brooklyn. In 1995, he graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in English. During his days at Princeton, he performed with the acapella group called the Princeton Tigertones.

"Prison Break" ended after four seasons with fans thinking Wentworth's character had died.

Wentworth Miller arrives at the 2017 PaleyLive LA Spring Season - "Prison Break" Screening And Conversation at The Paley Center for Media on March 29, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images

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After graduating from the university, Wentworth relocated to Los Angeles in pursuit of an acting career. He faced many setbacks and challenges but never walked away from pursuing his career.

He made his first television appearance when he starred as a student-turned-sea monster Gage Petronzi on a 1998 episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" titled "Go Fish."

In 2002, he bagged his first starring role when he played the sensitive and introverted David Scott in the miniseries, "Dinotopia." In 2003, he co-starred in the film "The Human Stain," where he played the younger version of Coleman Silk.

Actor Wentworth Miller attends SiriusXM's Entertainment Weekly Radio Channel Broadcasts From Comic-Con 2016 at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 22, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images

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In 2005, Wentworth was cast to portray Michael Schofield in "Prison Break." He enjoyed global fame and fanfare due to his starring role in the series.

In 2009, "Prison Break" ended after four seasons with fans thinking Wentworth's character had died. However, a new nine-episode fifth season of the show was released in April 2017, with the actor reprising his role.

Wentworth said the beautiful thing about growing up in Brooklyn is the city's rich cultural and racial diversity.

Wentworth Miller attends the Fox Action Showcase: "Prison Break" And "24: Legacy" at San Diego Convention Center on July 24, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images

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Before the release of the series' fifth season, Interview Magazine reprinted its 2005 chat with Wentworth. During the interview, he spoke with Rebecca Walker and shared details about his life and personality.

One of the topics Wentworth discussed was his identity as a biracial person. Walker asked him how he was led to fully grasp the reality of his identity. The actor replied:

"I think is what college is all about: self-examination and dealing with those questions of 'Who am I?'"

Wentworth Miller attends the Fox Action Showcase: "Prison Break" And "24: Legacy" at San Diego Convention Center on July 24, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images

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Walker further asked him if it threw him into any anxiety, and he replied saying that if it did, it came from other people trying to define him and his journey.

Wentworth explained he always refers to a quote from Toni Morrison's "Beloved," which is about definitions and definers, that "Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined."

Wentworth said the beautiful thing about growing up in Brooklyn is the city's rich cultural and racial diversity. No one really bothered about where he belonged racially.

Wentworth Miller attends SiriusXM's Entertainment Weekly Radio Channel Broadcasts at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 22, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images

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However, there were times when he would run up against someone interested in figuring out his race. He said that would come like a surprise and, in some cases, a slap in the face.

Wentworth stated people of mixed race have the same story of being incorrectly perceived and deciding whether or not to allow that perception to continue or to correct it.

During his speech, he revealed that when he was a teenager, he tried taking his own life several times.

Actor Wentworth Miller attends the 2016 Fox Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 16, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images

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Wentworth understands that identity and race are much more fluid than defining one particular thing. Wentworth concluded that acting challenges him to address those particular issues.

Besides "Prison Break," Wentworth also guest-starred in the Season 11 of "Law & Order: SVU," where he portrayed Nate Kendall. He also featured in "Resident Evil: After Life."

In August 2013, the actor came out as gay after previously denying he was in 2007. He spoke at the 2013 Human Rights Campaign Dinner held in Seattle, Washington.

Wentworth Miller attends the press conference for 'Resident Evil: Afterlife' at Grand Hyatt Tokyo on September 3, 2010. | Photo: Getty Images

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During his speech, he revealed that when he was a teenager, he tried taking his own life several times before he eventually came out as a homosexual. He said:

"When someone asked me if that was a cry for help, I said no, because I told no one. You only cry for help if you believe there's help to cry for."

Wentworth also discussed struggling in his line of work as an actor who hadn't owned his sexuality in the public and he revealed how his involvement in the Mankind Project helped him learn about being a member of a community.

Wentworth Miller attends the "Prison Break" press conference at Park Hyatt Tokyo on December 17, 2008. | Photo: Getty Images

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In a 2014 interview, he opened up about his decision to come out as gay, saying he feels more fully expressed. Then, last year, he announced he was no longer interested in playing film or television roles that portrayed him as a straight person.

Hence, Wentworth revealed he would not star in the next season of "Prison Break" if it were ever going to be produced. Wentworth apologized to fans who might be hurt by his decision.

On July 27, 2021, Wentworth revealed via a lengthy Instagram post that he was diagnosed with autism in 2020. He called his diagnosis a gift and thanked those who supported him throughout his journey.

The star actor said his diagnosis is not something he would change and added that being autistic is central to his identity and everything he has achieved or articulated.

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