By People Staff
August 28, 2006 12:00 PM

AGE: 36


HOW YOU KNOW HIM: As Lincoln Burrows, the recently escaped death row inmate on FOX’s Prison Break, which returns for its second season on Aug. 21


As a rowdy teenager back in Australia, Purcell had first-hand experience with law enforcement. “I was drunk and disorderly,” he says of his night in jail. “I woke up the next morning, and I wasn’t charged. The cops who put me in the slammer were my surfing buddies.”


His very first acting job after drama school was playing the Marlboro Man—in the Philippines. “They wired a cigarette to my finger and I was paddling down these huge rapids,” he says. “I loved it!”


After Purcell moved to the U.S. in 2000 and landed the lead role in the short-lived TV show John Doe, his Aussie accent went MIA. “I was working 16-hour days speaking American all the time, and it just started creeping into my everyday life,” says Purcell, who will become a U.S. citizen at the end of the year. “At first it was difficult for my wife because all of a sudden she’s married to an American kind of guy.”


While Prison Break is shooting in Dallas, Purcell flies back to L.A. every weekend to be with his wife and four children. “I don’t want my kids to forget me,” says Purcell. “It can be crazy sometimes. The Purcells are a force of nature. My kids are very opinionated, very strong-willed, stubborn. Where do they get that from?”