After parts on Days of Our Lives and ER, former Army lieutenant Mark Valley, 38, bags a starring role: Eddie Arlette, a rough-edged Manhattan cop transplanted to London in the new FOX series Keen Eddie
. At first the out-doorsman wasn't keen on spending six months in England shooting: "It's raining. People are smoking all the time. But it was great."
•Go West Point, young man.
Son of math teacher Mike Valley, 60, and Martha, 60, who ran a nursery school, the Ogdensburg, N.Y., native graduated from the military academy in 1987. "I needed the discipline. I didn't think I'd be General MacArthur, but I thought, 'Who knows?' "
Valley served as a transport driver in the 1991 Gulf War. "It was dangerous," he recalls. "Most of the casualties were on the road." While stationed in Berlin postwar, he took a bit part in The Innocent, a '93 movie starring Anthony Hopkins. "Watching Hopkins planted a seed that maybe I should join this circus." He was right to enlist, says costar Julian Rhind-Tutt: "He's a good actor because he's got the life experience, the intelligence and the know-how to back him up."
Living in L.A. since 1997, he shares a rented apartment with cats Cairo and Gooey. Currently unattached, he has a daughter, Sherri, 15, by an old girlfriend. "She lives with her mom and stepdad. She was just here for a visit."
•Soldier, you've earned your R & R.
The man who learned to skydive in the Army is planning a relatively safe hiking vacation in Washington State. "I don't really need to be risking my life anymore," he says. "I've got a pretty good one going here."