Bacon at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
|Born||Kevin Norwood Bacon
July 8, 1958
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Kyra Sedgwick (m. 1988)|
|Relatives||Michael Bacon (brother)|
Kevin Norwood Bacon (born July 8, 1958) is an American actor and musician whose 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). He currently stars on the Fox television series The Following. Bacon has won a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. He was named by The Guardian as one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination.
Bacon has also 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. In 2003, Bacon received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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 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, 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 in 1978 did not lead to the fame for which he had hoped, 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 now iconic slasher film Friday the 13th. Some of his early stage work included Getting Out performed at New York's Phoenix Theater, and Flux which he did at Second Stage Theatre during their 1981–1982 season.
In 1982, he won an Obie Award for his role in Forty Deuce, and soon after 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 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 1984 box-office smash Footloose. 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 did earn 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. Bacon would have 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 1988, he starred in John Hughes' comedy She's Having a Baby and the following year he was in another comedy called The Big Picture.
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 portrayed an earnest medical student experimenting with death in Joel Schumacher's Flatliners. Bacon's next project was to star 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. He 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." His next film, Murder in the First, earned him the Broadcast Film Critic's Association Award in 1995, the same year that he starred in the blockbuster hit Apollo 13.
Bacon reverted to his trademark dark role once again in Sleepers in 1996. This role was in stark contrast to his appearance in the lighthearted romantic comedy, Picture Perfect the following year. Bacon also made his debut as a director in 1996 with the television film Losing Chase, which was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, winning 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. As the executive producer of 1998's Wild Things, Bacon reserved a supporting role for himself, and went on to star in Stir of Echoes (directed by David Koepp) in 1999.
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 give the film their "NC-17" rating over the preferable "R". Bacon decried the decision, commenting: "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 2004 film The Woodsman; he was nominated best actor receiving the Independent Spirit Award.
He appeared in the HBO Films production of Taking Chance, a film based on a story of the same name 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.
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 New York.
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 most of their savings in the Ponzi scheme of infamous fraudulent investor Bernard Madoff.
They learned in 2011 via their appearance on the PBS TV show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates that he and Sedgwick are 9th 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.
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 associations 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.
|1995||Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||The River Wild||Nominated|
|1996||Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actor||Murder in the First||Won|
|1996||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Apollo 13||Won|
|1996||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role||Murder in the First||Nominated|
|2001||MTV Movie Awards||Best Villain||Hollow Man||Nominated|
|2003||Boston Society of Film Critics Awards||Best Cast||Mystic River||Won|
|2004||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Mystic River||Nominated|
|2005||Satellite Awards||Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama||The Woodsman||Nominated|
|2005||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Sleazebag||Beauty Shop||Nominated|
|2009||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Taking Chance||Nominated|
|2009||Satellite Awards||Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Taking Chance||Nominated|
|2009||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Frost/Nixon||Nominated|
|2010||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film||Taking Chance||Won|
|2010||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Taking Chance||Won|
|2011||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Villain||X-Men: First Class||Nominated|
|2013||Saturn Awards||Best Actor on Television||The Following||Won|
|2014||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Dramatic TV Actor||The Following||Nominated|
|2014||Saturn Awards||Best Actor on Television||The Following||Nominated|
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