Kevin Norwood Bacon (born July 8, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a name you will hear not because breakfast is being served, but because he has been a film actor since the 1970s. Known for being in a lot of famous films, but seldom the lead role, unfortunately. This may make him even more famous.
His first role was in Animal House, as the student who says "Thank you sir, may I have another?" According to an interview on the film's DVD release, he couldn't enter the premiere with his castmates because no one recognized him as a cast member.
Trope Namer for the Bacon Number phenomenon, a.k.a. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a mathematical calculation of a celebrity's closeness to Kevin Bacon. Regarding the popularity of this, he's said that people like to meet him to reduce their "Bacon Number" to one, misunderstanding that they have to be in a movie with him for that. He seems to be a pretty good sport about it, given that he's expressed a fear that his obituary will read "Inspired a game, also acted." He also took the concept and weaponised it for a good cause, creating the charitable foundation SixDegrees.org who've raised over $12 million for various causes since their inception in 2007.
Bacon has been married to Kyra Sedgwick, star of The Closer, since 1988; they have two children, Travis and Sosie. In 2011, the pair learned through a genealogy show that they are actually ninth cousins, once removed.
He's also a singer, being part of "The Bacon Brothers" duo with his brother Michael since 1995. They have released six albums.
Some of the films he has appeared in include:
- Animal House (1978) as Chip Diller
- Hero At Large (1980) as 2nd Teenager
- Friday The 13th (1980) as Jack Burrell
- Diner (1982) as Timothy Fenwick Jr.
- Footloose (1984) as Ren McCormack
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) as Taxi Racer (cameo)
- The Big Picture (1989) as Nick Chapman
- Tremors (1990) as Val McKee
- Flatliners (1990) as David Labraccio
- Queens Logic (1991) as Dennis
- He Said, She Said (1991) as Dan Hanson
- JFK (1991) as Willie O'Keefe
- A Few Good Men (1992) as Capt. Jack Ross
- The Air Up There (1994) as Jimmy Dolan
- The River Wild (1994) as Wade
- Murder in the First (1995) as Henri Young
- Apollo 13 (1995) as Jack Swigert
- Balto (1995) as Balto (voice)
- Sleepers (1996) as Sean Nokes
- Wild Things (1998) as Sgt. Ray Duquette
- Stir of Echoes (1999) as Tom Witzky
- My Dog Skip (2000) as Jack Morris
- Hollow Man (2000) as Sebastian Caine
- Novocaine (2001) as Lance Phelps (uncredited cameo)
- Mystic River (2003) as Sean Devine
- In the Cut (2003) as John Graham
- The Woodsman (2004) as Walter
- Loverboy (2005) as Marty Stoll
- Beauty Shop (2005) as Jorge Christophe
- Where the Truth Lies (2005) as Lanny Morris
- Death Sentence (2007) as Nick Hume
- The Air I Breathe (2008) as Love
- Frost/Nixon (2008) as Jack Brennan
- Super (2010) as Jacques
- X-Men: First Class (2011) as Sebastian Shaw
- Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) as David Lindhagen
- R.I.P.D. (2013) as Bobby Hayes
- Cop Car (2015) as Sheriff Kretzer (also executive producer)
- Black Mass (2015) as Charles McGuire
- Patriots Day (2016) as Richard DesLauriers
- Tour de Pharmacy (2017) as Ditmer Klerken
- You Should Have Left (2020) as Theo Conroy
- They/Them (2022) as Owen Whistler (also executive producer)
Tropes associated with this actor:
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Just peep this meta Logitech commercial where he plays a rabid Kevin Bacon fan. Hearing him imitate his own accent from Tremors is something to behold.
- I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: A rare case where both are averted. He's had some famous parts but none of them have been so iconic that it eclipsed the man's career, and likewise he plays so many types of characters so well that you buy him in each part and don't just see Kevin Bacon. However, on the DVD commentary for Footloose, Bacon notes that when attending weddings or other DJ'd social events, he'd have to slip the DJ $20 to avoid having to dance for the partygoers and becoming a one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
- Male Frontal Nudity: In Wild Things. He apparently jokes that he loves doing this, and that he has a clause in all film contracts requiring at least one scene, but that the studios remove it in post production. He also apparently wants to play a naked wizard on Game of Thrones, as seen here
- Money, Dear Boy: He started working a lot more frequently, even taking on TV roles, after losing all his money to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
- Old Shame: The first Tremors movie was this at first. (Before the film's release, Bacon had a public breakdown in which he ranted to anyone who approached that his career was over because he was starring in a "stupid movie about killer worms".) He's since lost this attitudenote , especially given that Tremors is now seen as something of a classic (and has an 89% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but it was his embarrassment at being in a "stupid worm movie" that kept him out of any of the sequels.
- One Degree of Separation: As mentioned, the Bacon Number phenomenon, a.k.a. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Bacon is a prolific actor and can be connected to a large number of other celebrities by at most six degrees of separation (Bacon starred in a movie with X, X starred in a movie with Y, Y starred in a movie with Z, etc).
- Playing Against Type: Has played so many different archetypes that his exact performer persona is difficult to pinpoint. He's done everything from hamming in light-hearted comedies (Beauty Shop) to going to dark places few actors can go (The Woodsman).
- Romance on the Set: Met his wife Kyra Sedgwick on the set of the 1988 film Lemon Sky and she says that he was so obviously attracted to her and unsubtle about wooing her that she agreed to go out with him almost out of pity.
- Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: The trope namer, for the One Degree of Separation game.