Bacon at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
|Born||Kevin Norwood Bacon
July 8, 1958
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer, musician|
|Spouse(s)||Kyra Sedgwick (m. 1988)|
|Children||2, including Sosie Bacon|
|Relatives||Michael Bacon (brother)|
Kevin Norwood Bacon (born July 8, 1958) is an American actor and musician. His notable films include musical-drama film Footloose (1984), the controversial historical conspiracy legal thriller JFK (1991), the legal drama A Few Good Men (1992), the historical docudrama Apollo 13 (1995), and the mystery drama Mystic River (2003). Bacon is also known for taking on darker roles such as that of a sadistic guard in Sleepers and troubled former child abuser in a critically acclaimed performance in The Woodsman. Also on television, he starred in the Fox series The Following from 2013 to 2015. Bacon has won a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. The Guardian named him one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination. In 2003, Bacon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Bacon has become an icon for the concept of interconnectedness (as in social networks), having been popularized by the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon". In 2007, he created SixDegrees.org, a charitable foundation.
Early life and education
Bacon, one of six children, was born and raised in a close-knit family in Philadelphia. His mother, Ruth Hilda (née Holmes; 1916–1991), taught at an elementary school and was a liberal activist, while his father, Edmund Norwood Bacon (May 2, 1910 – October 14, 2005), was a well-respected architect and a prominent Philadelphian who had been Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission for many years.
At age 16, in 1975, Bacon won a full scholarship to and attended the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts at Bucknell University, a state-funded five-week arts program at which he studied theater under Dr. Glory Van Scott. The experience solidified Bacon's passion for the arts.
Bacon left home at age 17 to pursue a theater career in New York City, where he appeared in a production at the Circle in the Square Theater School. "I wanted life, man, the real thing", he later recalled to Nancy Mills of Cosmopolitan. "The message I got was 'The arts are it. Business is the devil's work. Art and creative expression are next to godliness.' Combine that with an immense ego and you wind up with an actor." Bacon's debut in the fraternity comedy National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) did not lead to the fame he had sought, and Bacon returned to waiting tables and auditioning for small roles in theater. He briefly worked on the television soap operas Search for Tomorrow (1979) and Guiding Light (1980–81) in New York.
In 1980, he had a prominent role in the slasher film Friday the 13th. Some of his early stage work included Getting Out, performed at New York's Phoenix Theater, and Flux, at Second Stage Theatre during their 1981–1982 season.
In 1982, he won an Obie Award for his role in Forty Deuce, and soon afterward he made his Broadway debut in Slab Boys, with then-unknowns Sean Penn and Val Kilmer. However, it was not until he portrayed Timothy Fenwick that same year in Barry Levinson's film Diner – costarring Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Tim Daly, and Ellen Barkin – that he made an indelible impression on film critics and moviegoers alike.
Bolstered by the attention garnered by his performance in Diner, Bacon starred in the box-office smash Footloose (1984). Richard Corliss of TIME likened Footloose to the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause and the old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland musicals, commenting that the film includes "motifs on book burning, mid-life crisis, AWOL parents, fatal car crashes, drug enforcement, and Bible Belt vigilantism." To prepare for the role, Bacon enrolled at a high school as a transfer student named "Ren McCormick" and studied teenagers before leaving in the middle of the day. Bacon earned strong reviews for Footloose, and he appeared on the cover of People magazine soon after its release.
Bacon's critical and box office success led to a period of typecasting in roles similar to the two he portrayed in Diner and Footloose, and he had difficulty shaking this on-screen image. For the next several years he chose films that cast him against either type and experienced, by his own estimation, a career slump.
In 1990, Bacon had two successful roles. He played a character who saved his town from under-the-earth "graboid" monsters in the comedy/horror film Tremors, and he portrayed an earnest medical student experimenting with death in Joel Schumacher's Flatliners.
In Bacon's next project he starred opposite Elizabeth Perkins in He Said, She Said. Despite lukewarm reviews and low audience turnout, He Said, She Said was illuminating for Bacon. Required to play a character with sexist attitudes, he admitted that the role was not that large a stretch for him.
By 1991, Bacon began to give up the idea of playing leading men in big-budget films and to remake himself as a character actor. "The only way I was going to be able to work on 'A' projects with really 'A' directors was if I wasn't the guy who was starring", he confided to The New York Times writer Trip Gabriel. "You can't afford to set up a $40 million movie if you don't have your star."
He performed that year as gay prostitute Willie O'Keefe in Oliver Stone's JFK and went on to play a prosecuting attorney in the military courtroom drama A Few Good Men. Later that year he returned to the theater to play in Spike Heels, directed by Michael Greif.
In 1994, Bacon earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role in The River Wild, opposite Meryl Streep. He described the film to Chase in Cosmopolitan as a "grueling shoot", in which "every one of us fell out of the boat at one point or another and had to be saved".
Bacon made his debut as a director with the television film Losing Chase (1996), which was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, and won one. Bacon again resurrected his oddball mystique that year as a mentally-challenged houseguest in Digging to China and as a disc jockey corrupted by payola in Telling Lies in America.
In 2000, he appeared in Paul Verhoeven's Hollow Man. Bacon, Colin Firth and Rachel Blanchard depict a ménage à trois in their film, Where the Truth Lies. Bacon and director Atom Egoyan have condemned the MPAA ratings board decision to rate the film "NC-17" rather than the preferable "R". Bacon commented: "I don't get it, when I see films (that) are extremely violent, extremely objectionable sometimes in terms of the roles that women play, slide by with an R, no problem, because the people happen to have more of their clothes on."
Bacon was again acclaimed for a dark starring role playing an offending pedophile on parole in The Woodsman (2004), for which he was nominated for best actor and received the Independent Spirit Award.
He appeared in the HBO Films production of Taking Chance, based on an eponymous story written by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, an American Desert Storm war veteran. The film premiered on HBO on February 21, 2009. Bacon won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie for his role.
In March 2012, Bacon was featured in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play, 8 – a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage – as Attorney Charles J. Cooper. The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
In 2015, he said in a Huffington Post interview and several magazines reported he would like to return to the Tremors franchise. However, Bacon doesn't appear in Tremors 5: Bloodline (2015).
From 2012, Bacon has appeared in a major advertising campaign for the EE mobile network in the United Kingdom, based on the Six Degrees concept and his various film roles. In 2015, Kevin Bacon became a commercial spokesperson for the U.S. egg industry.
Bacon has been married to actress Kyra Sedgwick since September 4, 1988; they met on the set of the PBS version of Lanford Wilson's play Lemon Sky. He has said: "The time I was hitting what I considered to be bottom was also the time I met my wife, our kids were born, good things were happening. And I was able to keep supporting myself; that always gave me strength." Bacon and Sedgwick have starred together in Pyrates, Murder in the First, The Woodsman, and Loverboy.
They have two children, Travis Sedgwick (b. 1989) and Sosie Ruth (b. 1992). The family resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Bacon was previously in a five-year relationship with actress Tracy Pollan, in the 1980s.
Bacon and Sedgwick appeared in will.i.am's video "It's a New Day", which was released following Barack Obama's 2008 presidential win. The pair lost part of their savings in the Ponzi scheme of infamous swindler Bernard Madoff.
Bacon and Sedgwick learned in 2011, via their appearance on the PBS TV show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, that they are ninth cousins, once removed. They also appeared in a video promoting the "Bill of Reproductive Rights," supporting among other things a woman's right to choose and access to birth control.
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
Bacon is the subject of the trivia game titled Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, based on the idea that, due to his prolific screen career covering a diverse range of genres, any Hollywood actor can be linked to another in a handful of steps based on their association with Bacon. The name of the game derives from the idea of six degrees of separation. Though he was initially dismayed by the game, the meme stuck, and Bacon eventually embraced it, forming the charitable initiative SixDegrees.org, a social networking site intended to link people and charities to each other.
The measure of proximity to Bacon has been mathematically formalized as the Bacon Index and can be referenced at websites including Oracle of Bacon, which is in turn based upon Internet Movie Database data. Google even added a feature to their search engine, whereby searching for an actor's name followed by the words "Bacon Number" will show the ways in which that actor is connected to Kevin Bacon.
A similar measurement exists in the mathematics community, where one measures how far one is removed from co-writing a mathematical paper with the famous mathematician Paul Erdős. This is done by means of the Erdős number, which is 0 for Paul Erdős himself, 1 for someone who co-wrote an article with him, 2 for someone who co-wrote with someone who co-wrote with him, etc. People have combined the Bacon Index and the Erdős number to form the Erdős–Bacon number, which is the sum of the two.
Awards and nominations
- Gary Boyd Roberts. "Ten Further Hollywood Figures (or Groups Thereof)". New England Historic Genealogical Society. Retrieved January 2, 2008.
- "Kevin Bacon". Biography.com. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Singer, Leigh (February 19, 2009). "Oscars: the best actors never to have been nominated". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Kevin Bacon biography". biography channel. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon: 6 Things You Didn't Know". biography.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "ABOUT KEVIN BACON". yahoo movies. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
- Cosmopolitan. March 1991, p. 92.
- "Happy Halloween: Stars who got their start in horror flicks". nydailynews.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon". pbs.org. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon biography". TV Guide. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Diner' 30th Anniversary: 25 Things You Didn't Know About The Guys-and-Fries Classic". moviefone. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Richard Corliss (February 20, 1984). "Revel Without a Cause". TIME.
- "Kevin Bacon Got Bullied By High Schoolers While Prepping For 'Footloose'". huffington post. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon". Biography Channel.
- "A Second Wind Is Blowing For Kevin Bacon". new york times. September 25, 1994. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Vincent Canby (January 19, 1990). "Tremors Review". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Trip Gabriel (September 25, 1994). "A Second Wind Is Blowing For Kevin Bacon". The New York Times.
- "Kevin Bacon". Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "A few good men". tcm. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon Reprises His Roles from FOOTLOOSE, A FEW GOOD MEN, APOLLO 13, and More in UK Commercials". collider. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Ebert, Roger. "Sleepers". Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Macor, Alison (February 7, 1997). "Losing Chase". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
- "Under the Radar—Horror Movies You May Have Missed: Stir of Echoes". criminal element.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Ebert, Roger. "The hollow man". Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon Talks About "Where the Truth Lies"". about.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Bruce Kirkland (September 14, 2005). "Kevin Bacon irked over movie rating". Toronto Sun.
- "The Woodsman' (2004)". la times. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon 'Taking Chance' body of fallen Marine home". nydailynews. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Kit, Borys (July 15, 2010). "'Winter's Bone' star cast in 'X-Men: First Class' (exclusive)". Heat Vision. Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
- "KEVIN BACON Playing SEBASTIAN SHAW in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS". forcesofgeek.com. July 16, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
- "'Glee' Stars 'Touched' By Pitt & Clooney's Support Of '8'". Access Hollywood. accesshollywood.com. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- ""8": A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality". YouTube. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- "YouTube to broadcast Proposition 8 play live". pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- "The Following". Fox. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon Gives Millennials a History Lesson About the '80s". yahoo news. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon rides UK's biggest rollercoaster in EE spot". Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- "Kevin Bacon Reprises His Most Iconic Film Roles in British Commercial". parade.com. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
- Katie Lobosco (March 13, 2015). "New egg ad comes with a side of Kevin Bacon". CNN. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
- "Kevin Bacon has loyalty to NYC despite Philly origins, says he's 'most at peace' in bustling city". New York Daily news. May 30, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
- Deirdre Donahue (February 24, 1986). "America's Sweethearts". Retrieved May 17, 2015.
- "Media & Press | Americans United". Au.org. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- "Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts". The washington post. March 26, 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- "I think there is a puritanical wind that is blowing. I have never seen such a lack of separation between church and state in America. I don't believe in God, but if I did I would say that sex is a God-given right." Wendy Ide, "The Outsider Wants In", The Times (London), December 1, 2005.
- "The Bacon Brothers Go 'On the Record'". Fox News. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- "'May God spare you no mercy', victim tells Madoff". Economic Crisis. June 30, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
- Bacon confirmed this on Late Show with Craig Ferguson, June 8, 2009
- Smolenyak, Megan (July 18, 2011). "6 Degrees of Separation: Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon Are Cousins". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
- "Watch Stuff – Bill of Reproductive Rights". Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- "Bill of Reproductive Rights". Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Six Degrees". Retrieved January 2, 2008.
- Gilbertson, Scott (September 13, 2012). "Easter Egg: Google Connects the Dots for 'Bacon Number' Search". webmonkey. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
- "And the winner tonight is". Telegraph. May 1, 2002. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
- "The Bacon Brothers". Retrieved October 11, 2014.
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