60 Facts About Kevin Bacon For Kevin Bacon's 60th Birthday
Believe it or not, Kevin Bacon is 60. Born the youngest of six on July 8, 1958, the theater major from Philadelphia has had a legendary career whose persona is both a punchline and revered at the same time -- there are very few people who can strike that confounding balance over 40-odd years of acting gigs. So in honor of his journey from dancing teen heartthrob to AARP-qualifying heartthrob and his delightfully eclectic Hollywood resume, here are 60 things you might not have known about Kevin Bacon. No matter how old Bacon is, he'll always be that spiky-haired twenty-something kickin' off his Sunday shoes to us.
1. His middle name Norwood
Kevin Norwood Bacon shares his middle name with his dad, the late Edmund Norwood Bacon.
2. His dad graced the cover of Time magazine
His shared middle name may have destined Kevin for great things. Norwood Senior was a famous architect and city planner who is often referred to as "The Father of Modern Philadelphia," which put him on the November 6, 1964 cover of Time magazine.
3. Early on, he was driven to outshine his dad
"Sons just want to kick their fathers' ass sometimes," he wrote a piece for The Guardian. "My dad … wasn't a rich guy, but in our little world in Philadelphia, he was famous. He loved to see his picture in the paper. I wanted to be more famous than him."
4. He spent his first movie paycheck in a week
At 18, he played uptight frat boy Chip Diller -- who gets literally flattened by a stampede of people -- in 1978's Animal House. "I shot the movie, came home, spent the money [I made] in a week, probably, then went back to waiting tables," Bacon told Entertainment Weekly.
5. In his waiter days, he was nicknamed "The Chip"
During his pre-Footloose days in New York, Bacon was a waiter at the now-closed, but then-beloved Upper West Side hangout All State Café. The place was like a real-life Cheers -- the show's co-creator James Burrows was a regular patron -- and everyone who worked there had nicknames. His coworkers carried over his Animal House character's name into the workplace.
6. He was briefly a soap opera star
From 1980-81, Bacon played Tim Werner on the CBS soap Guiding Light. Tim was a teen who had a drinking problem that became worse after he realized his girlfriend, Morgan, was in love with his best friend, Kelly, played by future star of The Flash (CBS, 1990-91) and The Flash (the CW, current), John Wesley Shipp.
7. Studio execs didn't think he was sexy enough for Footloose
Though Ren McCormack, the defiant, dancing teen in Footloose, remains one of his defining roles, Bacon almost didn't get the part. Studio exec Dawn Steel didn't think he was "fuckable," and wanted Tom Cruise or Rob Lowe to play Ren. The movie's producer and director wanted Bacon, though, and after putting him through a screen test, a dance class, multiple wardrobe stylings, and an expensive haircut, Bacon became the leading man.
8. Footloose didn't immediately put him on a fulfilling career path
Bacon moved to New York at age 17 with a plan to become a serious actor. Footloose brought stardom, but not the meaty follow-up leading man roles he'd hoped for. "When I came to New York, I already considered myself a man of wisdom and experience. I had an idea of this kind of actor that I should be. Someone who should be respected, serious, versatile, like Meryl Streep," he told The Guardian. "Then all of a sudden I was like a pop star. I was on the cover of Seventeen, People, Us. But the choices that I started to make after Footloose were ill-advised. I didn't have a manager, I wasn't going to pay someone another 15 percent to tell me what to do -- I know what to do. As a result, it was almost like self-sabotage." Among his post-Footloose movie roles: the forgettable Quicksilver, White Water Summer, and Pyrates, in which he and real-life wife Kyra Sedgwick star as a couple whose sexual chemistry literally sets things on fire.
9. He credits one particular line for turning his career around
With quality leading man gigs eluding him after Footloose, Bacon turned his focus to interesting character roles, and he credits a brief, but memorable, role as a gay hustler in Oliver Stone's JFK for saving his career. "You don't know shit, ‘cause you've never been fucked in the ass," Bacon's Willie O'Keefe tells Kevin Costner's district attorney Jim Garrison in the 1991 bravado-filled, scene-stealing performance. "The years between Footloose and JFK, there's not a successful movie in there," Bacon said. "This one came out, and the phone started ringing, literally."
10. He and his wife Kyra Sedgwick celebrate a major milestone this year
Not only does Bacon turn 60, but he and Sedgwick will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary on September 4.
11. He likes to keep his secret to a successful marriage to himself
"Every time I go there, this thing that's so important to me gets boiled down to a one-liner, and that sort of cheapens it," he said. "So I'm like, you know what? I'm done."
12. You can win a double date with the Bacons
Bacon and Sedgwick have teamed up with Omaze so that fans can buy an entry for a chance to win a trip to New York City, with a swanky hotel stay and a double date night of dinner and dancing with the couple. Proceeds go to Bacon's charity, Six Degrees.
13. Jeff Daniels and Cynthia Nixon were accidental matchmakers for the Bacons
Daniels and Nixon starred in an off-Broadway adaptation of Lanford Wilson's Lemon Sky in 1985. When PBS wanted to film the production for a 1988 installment of American Playhouse, Daniels and Nixon passed on the project. "And my wife took Cynthia's part, and I took Jeff's part, so I really have him to thank for my marriage," Bacon told The Hollywood Reporter in a roundtable discussion that included Daniels. "It wasn't really a career decision of mine; it was more a career decision of his that was pivotal for me."
14. He's a friendly New Yorker
He likes to promote New Yorkers as a kind people, so he frequently stops and offers help when he spots tourists looking at maps of Manhattan.
15. He once invited a musical group he met on the subway to his house
Bacon also likes riding the NYC subway, because "it's the fastest way between point A and point B," and because it's a good place to meet your next favorite band, apparently. "I heard an amazing a cappella band," he told amNewYork. "They came on the train and started a fake fight, then broke into song. I invited them to my house for Thanksgiving and surprised my family."
16. His kids have joined the family business
His 29-year-old son Travis plays guitar for the metal band Black Anvil, and his 26-year-old daughter Sosie is an actress, best known for playing Skye in 13 Reasons Why.
17. The Bacon family is now bicoastal
After spending decades dissing life in Los Angeles, Bacon and Sedgwick found that the city grew on them as they spent extended periods of time there while she made seven seasons (and won an Emmy and Golden Globe for it) of The Closer. As the show was ending, they bought a home in the Los Feliz neighborhood in 2011.
18. He is pro-Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, despite a rocky start
Three Albright College students saw a TV commercial for Bacon's 1994 comedy The Air Up There and started talking about how many movies, and how many different kinds of movies, he'd been in. With help from a bottle of Southern Comfort, they concluded that Bacon was the center of the entertainment universe, and that any other actor or actress could be linked back to him with just a few steps. The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game was born. The actor was not immediately a fan: he thought it was poking fun at him and his efforts to be taken seriously. But after meeting the game's creators on The Jon Stewart Show, and seeing how popular the game had become, Bacon realized it was all in good fun. He even wrote a forward for the book Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon by the game's creators, Craig Fass, Brian Turtle, and Mike Ginelli.
19. Sedgwick's Bacon Number is one
In the Six Degrees game, his wife has a score of one, because they've worked together more than a dozen times, including him directing her in episodes of The Closer and her directing him in the Lifetime movie Story of a Girl. But in genealogy, their number is nine: Sedgwick is Bacon's ninth cousin once removed, which they learned when they appeared on the PBS ancestry series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.
20. Britney Spears is also one degree from Bacon
She co-starred with him in a 2016 Apple Music UK commercial where she catches him dancing to "Oops! I Did It Again" in the iconic red bodysuit from her video. Other celebrities with a Bacon Number of 1: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cindy Crawford, Dakota Johnson AND Fanning, Fran Drescher, Harry Connick, Jr., Jimmy O. Yang, Josh Groban, Peter Sarsgaard, Kimora Lee Simmons, Laura Dern, Lawrence Fishburne, Phil Collins, Viola Davis, Wilford Brimley, and a whole bunch of other people you can read through here.
21. Plenty of New York politicians have numbers on the Bacon Board
Look for yourself: Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill de Blasio can all be connected to Bacon in two steps.
22. He abides to the strict rules of the Six Degrees game
Which means that simply meeting Bacon does not count. "A lot of people have a misconception," he told the Los Angeles Times. "They come up to me on the street and say, ‘I'm one degree now, right?' And I just say, ‘Sure.'"
23. He parlayed the game's popularity into a charity
"Kevin Bacon turned the Six Degrees game connecting him to other Hollywood actors into a game-changing nonprofit aimed at using everyday activities to connect people and causes." That's the philosophy behind Six Degrees, which has raised more than $5 million since Bacon created it in 2007 to help fund efforts for human rights campaigns, community development, education, health, arts, environment, and animal services.
24. Brooklyn Decker thinks she's Bacon's doppelganger
Actress and Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue model Brooklyn Decker Instagrammed a makeup-free selfie beside a photo of Bacon and proclaimed, "We're f*cking twins."
25. So does Denis Leary
Leary told Jimmy Fallon he once nabbed an Uber ride on a rainy day in New York City because the driver thought he was Kevin Bacon. Leary played along -- as anyone in their right mind would do in a NYC downpour -- but was busted and thrown out of the ride when the driver put him on the phone with his wife, a Bacon superfan who knew Leary wasn't the real deal.
26. He's played seven different characters named Jack
He's been "Jack" in Friday the 13th, Quicksilver, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, My Dog Skip, Frost/Nixon, and Super (OK, he's actually Jacques in that last one, but it still counts).
27. He dated another famous actress
Bacon and actress Tracy Pollan lived together in New York City for five years and even bought a Connecticut farmhouse together. Pollan went on to marry her Family Ties and Bright Lights, Big City co-star Michael J. Fox the same year Bacon and Sedgwick were married.
28. Having a good horror movie death was important to him
In the first Friday the 13th movie, Bacon's camp counselor Jack had sex with his girlfriend, sparked up a joint, and then got stabbed in the neck from underneath a bed with an arrow. "They built a fake neck and chest, and I was under the bed for hours [with my head sticking out through a hole]. It was absolutely awful," Bacon told Entertainment Weekly. "But I did have a classic horror movie death, which is, you fuck the girl, you smoke the joint, you're dead. So that was good."
29. He's been sculpted in bacon
"Bacon Kevin Bacon" was a bust created with bits of bacon on Styrofoam commissioned by a Seattle bacon-flavored condiment company in 2010 to celebrate. This masterpiece was later auctioned off for charity, which is obviously great, but we have to bring it up: Bacon Kevin Bacon kinda looks more like Bacon Conan O'Brien, right?
30. He's a spokesman for eggs
He's starred in multiple commercials for the American Egg Board touting eggs as a nutritious breakfast because, as he says, "nobody knows eggs better than Bacon." Egg stan Kevin Bacon is not, however, a fan of puns.
31. He is NOT a fan of cutting Footloose at weddings
Bacon says he often slips DJs a twenty so they won't play "Footloose" at weddings he attends because he knows everyone will look to him to dance, and he doesn't want to take attention away from the newlyweds.
32. …But he'll do it for late night talk shows
In 2014, Bacon rented Footloose to refresh his Ren McCormack dance moves for a Tonight Show sketch in which dancing had been outlawed, until guest Kevin Bacon made his entrance, complete with that maroon tuxedo and backup dancers.
33. …And also on popular sitcoms
In one of the best celebrity guest appearances of Will & Grace's many celebrity guest appearances, Bacon played himself -- or rather, a needy, cheapskate spoof of himself -- who wanted to hire a personal assistant to help him find his stalker. His stalker, of course, was Sean Hayes' Jack, who got hired as Bacon's assistant in hopes of getting a chance to dance with him. Alas, it was Eric McCormack's Will who was initially blamed for being Bacon's stalker, and it was Will who got to recreate the Footloose dance with Bacon, who had the soundtrack cued up in his living room in Season 5's "Bacon and Eggs" episode.
34. He's afraid of public speaking
He had to take half a Valium to get through the big Footloose scene where Ren makes a speech to the town council so they'll agree to let his class have a dance. Without the anti-anxiety medication, he broke out in hives.
35. …And mice
"I don't mind rats, just mice," he told Parade. "They're small. If I find a dead mouse, Kyra has to clean it up. It just grosses me out!"
36. He doesn't watch his own movies
Not unlike many actors, Bacon doesn't like watching himself in older productions. "I don’t really like it because I don’t really like what I did for the most part. I'm pretty critical," he admitted in an interview with the Independent.
37. He calls Oscar season "the bitter season"
"Because I sit around and watch everybody else get nominated for Oscars," he said in the Telegraph. Jokes aside, Bacon has won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 1996 for Apollo 13, and a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the 2009 HBO movie Taking Chance.
38. He lost millions of dollars in Bernie Madoff's schemes
He's never confirmed the exact figure, but Bacon and Sedgwick admit they lost millions of dollars as part of Madoff's Ponzi scheme scandal in 2008. "It was a bad day, an absolutely horrible feeling, but you roll up your sleeves and get back to work," he said. "There was nothing that I had at that point that my wife and I hadn't worked very hard for. We kind of said though, ‘Well, our families are OK, the kids are healthy, and we're healthy; we'll get back to work.' What else are you going to do? There are a lot of people who had it a lot worse than we did."
39. He would have considered taking a role in a movie about Madoff
HBO's Wizard of Lies featured Robert De Niro as the white collar criminal, and Bacon thought joining the cast might have been very satisfying. "If the part was good, if the gig was good. It would actually be sort of a great, full circle thing if I got paid to be in a Madoff movie -- that would be perfect," he said.
40. His nose is a touchy subject
Jim Carrey did a snarky impersonation of Bacon that poked fun at his nose on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, but he's not the only one to make an issue of the Bacon beak. He auditioned for a role in a Franco Zeffirelli-directed film, but was told he didn't land the gig because, "Franco didn't like your nose."
41. He's in a band called The Bacon Brothers
Since 1995, Bacon and his brother Michael have been recording music and performing live as The Bacon Brothers. Their newest album of country/folk rock tunes, which is supported by a summer tour across the U.S., is a self-titled collection featuring the sweet, infectious Kevin-penned "Tom Petty T-Shirt." "You want to step in and make everything right. Sometimes that's a little out of your skill set, at least I find for myself when it comes to me and my relationship with my wife, or even with my relationship with my kids," Bacon told the Associated Press about the song's inspiration. "I don't always say the right thing and do the right things exactly, to fix whatever that situation is. So it's a little bit like, ‘Well, I don't know if I can help, but here's my Tom Petty T-Shirt.'"
42. He's a reformed TV snob
"It might be hard for people to remember, but in the 1970s when I started, there were TV actors and movie actors; they weren't the same," he said. "You'd be in television until you'd be able to get a career in movies, and then you'd never look back. I wanted to do stage and movies, but I really didn't want to do television." But Sedgwick's success and positive experience starring in The Closer, and the proliferation of prestige TV, changed his mind enough that he signed on to play serial killer-chasing former FBI agent Ryan Hardy in the 2013-15 Fox drama The Following. "This is the golden age of TV," he said. "I love TV [now]."
43. He's tried turning some of his movie roles into TV shows
Well, one of his movie roles, anyway. Bacon turned down offers to star in TV series adaptations of Diner and Animal House, but earlier this year he filmed a pilot for a Syfy TV series reboot of the cult favorite Tremors. Sadly, in April, the network passed on taking Valentine McKee and his cohorts to series.
44. Tremors gave him a panic attack
Though he was excited about the prospect of reviving Tremors in 2018, Bacon has shared that the movie once brought on an existential panic attack. "I was once in a tailspin I'll never forget," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "I was standing on 87th and Broadway in New York with my wife, and we were talking about my career. I was running out of money, had a baby on the way, and I had a total anxiety attack. And I told her, ‘I can't believe I'm doing a fucking movie about underground worms.' I think that was probably a low point."
45. He's done an impersonation of himself
For a cheeky 2010 Logitech commercial, Bacon played a Kevin Bacon fan whose wife told him he might turn into Kevin Bacon if he kept watching so many Kevin Bacon videos. Fake-con -- whose home included a Tremors poster, Bacon's Footloose tuxedo, and an embroidered Bacon portrait -- crossed his fingers for good luck in making it happen.
46. He's going back to TV with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Bacon will star in Showtime's Damon and Affleck-produced drama City on a Hill, playing a respected, but corrupt, Boston FBI agent who teams up with a local district attorney (Aldis Hodge) to take down a family of armored car thieves. Bacon is also a co-executive producer on the series. And, he'll add another Jack to his resume: his character's name in the 2019 series is Jackie Rhodes.
47. He has played a Boston FBI agent before
In 2015's Black Mass, the biopic about notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), Bacon played Charles McGuire, the head of the Boston FBI office Bulger used to help facilitate his crimes.
48. A fan asked him to sign her leg
Her prosthetic leg. She was a Bacon Brothers fan, and had lost one of her legs in an accident. She asked both the siblings to sign her prosthesis, which they did after one of their concerts.
49. He spent weeks locked naked inside a tank
...for a movie. He also lost 20 pounds for the same role as Henri Young, a 1930s Alcatraz inmate locked naked inside a detention cell for three years in the 1995 thriller Murder in the First.
50. He was caught in an earthquake while filming a movie
When shooting Murder in the First, production hadn't yet moved to Alcatraz, instead filming just a few miles from the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles on January 17, 1994. Bacon was handcuffed to a large table for a courthouse scene, and when the earthquake began, he hid underneath the furniture while a large crystal chandelier swung overhead. The warehouse that held the studio was later condemned.
51. He spent days having giant buckets of glitter dumped on his head
Footloose, the prom dance sequence at the end. The scene was also re-shot in slo-mo six weeks before the film's theatrical release.
52. He made a (fake) PSA advocating for male nudity
Though the clip was obviously a spoof -- with the actor who famously appeared naked in Wild Things and Hollow Man campaigning for more full frontal male nudity in Hollywood -- Bacon told Business Insider in 2015 that some viewers thought it was a real PSA. "The amount of people that saw it seriously blows my mind," Bacon said. "They said, ‘You said it in that thing,' and it's so clearly a joke. I mean, I'm so clearly being a smartass. It's strange."
53. He once spoiled a major twist in The Following
During the show's first season, a producer tweeted congratulations to Bacon after a major twist was revealed about his character. He retweeted it, which meant his followers -- more than 234,000 at the time -- saw it, but not all of them had seen the episode yet. He tweeted apologies, and even made an apology Vine after learning his lesson about spoiler rules on social media the hard way.
54. He didn't mind being objectified in I Love Dick
"At my age, it feels great! It made me think that for the most part, art has been from the male point of view; from the male gaze," Bacon told GQ in 2017 about his role in the Jill Soloway adaptation of Chris Kraus's novel I Love Dick. "Even when we look at female characters that we think are strong, tough, or independent -- not just objectified -- they're often still from a male point of view. So being part of a show that has only women in the writers room, besides even just being the object, is exciting as an actor."
55. He's down to take on almost any part
"He's not afraid to take even what you would consider a tiny supporting part as well as a leading role," says Bacon's longtime friend and My Dog Skip director Hay Russell. "What that means is that he can go from part to part and literally become a new person. That's why I think he's had this long and varied career that he has had."
56. …Though he turned down the chance to be a talking M&M
The candy company wanted him to star in a commercial where he would play a giant peanut M&M version of himself that would have sung and danced to "Footloose." The glitch: his wife hates anthropomorphic food on TV. "I had to turn it down without even thinking about it," he said. "I can't come home and say, ‘Honey, I'm now a talking M&M.'"
57. He has no qualms about playing villains
He's played child molesters twice (Sleepers and The Woodsman), he's been a Marvel supervillain (X-Men: First Class), and he's stalked Meryl Streep (The River Wild) and Meg Ryan (In the Cut). Bacon is OK with taking on unsavory characters or bad men. "I've played a lot of bad guys," he said, "and I'm good at leaving my work at the office."
58. He has at least one dish named after him
The Hungry Bros. food truck, which operates in Cincinnati from a converted potato chip delivery vehicle and has won three Best of Taste of Cincinnati awards, features a waffle fries dish called the Kevin Bacon. The fries are covered with grilled chicken breast, bacon (duh), and buttermilk ranch dressing.
59. His life philosophy can be summed up in football metaphors
"I'm more of a ‘What am I going to do today when this finishes?' kind of guy," he told Haute Living. "In my day-to-day life, I'm thinking less about winning the Super Bowl and more about moving the ball down the field."
60. He still digs being famous
He ordered a prosthetic disguise and wore it to The Grove, a busy outdoor mall in Los Angeles. He got his money's worth: no one recognized him, and he didn't like it. "It sucked!" he said during a Hollywood Reporter roundtable. "It was fucking weird. I'm just not used to this," he added, pretending to fight his way through a crowd. Fellow actor Anthony Anderson asked him if that was the first and last time he wore the disguise. "First and last," Bacon answered.