Let’s hear it for Bacon; don’t you wish you had some eggs, yeah? No matter where he goes or what movies he makes, when you say Kevin Bacon, most people of a certain age say, Footloose. That’s how we know him. Anything else is a minor coincidence.
Nevertheless before the world’s greatest dance movie, there was another Kevin Bacon, one who was born in Philadelphia, PA, on July 8, 1958, the youngest of six children. His father was a popular architect, and his mother was a liberal activist and school teacher.
When he was 16, Bacon attended the Pennsylvania Governors School for the Arts. This is a state-funded, five-week arts program which cemented Bacon's passion for performing. After he left home at 18, Kevin received additional education at The Circle in the Square and Manning Street Actor's Theater.
In 1978, Bacon appeared in his first movie, the cult classic Animal House in 1978 which starred John Belushi and Tim Matheson. Unfortunately this movie did not make him a star (Was he really in that?), and he went back to work as a waiter and continued auditioning for minor theater parts. In time, Kevin earned small, temporary spots on the soap operas, Search For Tomorrow in 1979 and The Guiding Light from 1980 – 1981 in New York City.
In 1980, Kevin had films roles that he probably denies to this day; they were bit parts in films like Hero at Large and Friday the 13th. Later, he would re-create his off-Broadway portrayal of a male prostitute in Forty Deuce. In 1982, Kevin took on the role of another troubled man as Timothy Fenwick in Barry Levinson's Diner.
Though Bacon was scoring major films and revealing his talent for acting, he didn’t have his breakthrough performance until he appeared in 1984's Footloose as a city boy who fights to bring dancing back in small town. With this movie, Kevin became America’s favorite, rebellious teenager and the dream of every young girl who wanted to let her hair down and dance.
Unfortunately, Bacon’s success at the box office did not continue right away. He appeared in such forgettable films as Quicksilver in 1986 and White Water Summer in 1987. When he made Lemon Sky, Bacon met his future wife Kyra Sedgwick of television’s hit drama, The Closer.
Kevin is not one to shy away from thrillers either. In 1989, he played in the desert with Tremors and challenged death in 1990’s Flatliners alongside Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts. Bacon restored his acting career when in 1991 he played a gay prostitute in Oliver Stone’s JFK.
Liking what you’re learning about Kevin Bacon so far? Do you like it? Can you handle more information? I think not. You Cannot Handle the Truth!
In later years, Bacon would play a prosecuting attorney in Reiner’s acclaimed, military courtroom drama, A Few Good Men. This movie would have him working once again with Kiefer Sutherland and allow him to shine alongside three time Oscar winner, Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, and Demi Moore. For his outstanding performance opposite Meryl Streep in The River Wild, Kevin earned a Golden Globe nomination.
In 1995’s Murder in the First Bacon would bring the true story of a brutalized prison inmate to the big screen. Kevin followed this movie with a role in the blockbuster movie, Apollo 13.
After doing several other unsuccessful movies, Bacon resurfaced in Clint Eastwood’s Academy Award Winning Mystic River in 2003. In February of 2009, he appeared in an HBO movie called Taking Chances and won two awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie and a Golden Globe Award for his mesmerizing contributions to the film. Kevin has also been confirmed as a star of the upcoming feature, X-Men: First Class. He will play the mutant villain, Sebastian Shaw.
Kevin has many talents. In 1994, he and his brother, Michael, put together a band which they named the Bacon Brothers. They play rhythm and blues and perform in coffee shops, clubs, and on the occasional television variety shows. Together, they have released six records.
On an interesting side note, Bacon’s huge movie career has been used as the foundation of a trivia game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Because Bacon has worked with so many people in Hollywood, it is assumed that any actor can be linked with another through their experiences with Kevin. Not one to embrace undue attention, Bacon was at first not happy about the game. Later, he turned it into something positive by creating SixDegrees.org, a social networking website that can help charities and individuals find each other.