HOMETOWN: Echuca, Australia
LATEST GIG: The WB’s Tarzan
•Why you know him: The former Calvin Klein underwear model now wears pants—though he still goes bare-chested at times—as the wild boy lost in the concrete jungle of Manhattan.
•In the beginning: The youngest of three sons of Chris, a dairy and beef farmer, and his wife, Jennie, a recreation officer for the disabled, Fimmel grew up milking cows. “I’m from such a little place, most people live and work there their whole lives,” he says.
•Big break: Dropping out of architecture school to travel, Fimmel ended up in L.A. in 2001. He quickly landed modeling work—with a little help from Photoshop. “My friends took pictures of me, slapped them on top of magazine articles and then made them look like tear sheets on the computer,” he confesses. Tarzan executive producer Laura Ziskin spotted his Calvin Klein ad in a magazine and invited him to audition. “In typical Travis style he came in bare feet. Could he act? I didn’t know. But something twigged in me,” says Ziskin. Jokes costar Mitch Pileggi (X-Files): “I’m sick of how cute he is. I put up with this for nine years with David Duchovny, and now I got a Travis Fimmel.”
•Perks of fame: “I’m not into ‘things,’ ” says the single Fimmel, who lives in modest rentals, sends some of his Tarzan earnings to his family and only recently upgraded to a new truck. “If I went on vacation, I’d rather go camping than stay in some four-star hotel…. My friends treat me the same at home. They just want to sit down with you and have a beer.”