Hard to believe that Kevin Bacon turns 55 today! He may have worked with everyone in Hollywood (or perhaps just six degrees away from them), but we’re betting there’s a lot you don’t know about this prolific actor. Check out these Bacon Bits…
1. He’s classically trained.
At 16, Kevin Bacon won a full theatre scholarship to and attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts at Bucknell University, where he built a foundation of how important it was to be true to your craft—not fame. “I wanted life, man, the real thing”, he said in an interview with 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.”
2. National Lampoon’s Animal House was his first film.
You probably don’t remember Bacon as greasy Chip Diller in John Landis’s 1978 frat comedy, but it’s no sweat off his back. His film debut didn’t launch his career the way he had hoped, so he went back to waiting tables and popping up in a few daytime soaps. Bacon was later offered a role in a television series based on the movie that was being filmed in California but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave New York.
3. He’s a great student… sort of.
To prepare for his iconic role in Footloose, Bacon enrolled at a high school as a transfer student named “Ren McCormick” and studied teenagers for a few periods before exiting through the double doors.
4. He can take a joke — and run with it.
Though he was initially mortified by the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, Bacon eventually embraced the meme and turned it into a force for good when he formed the charitable initiative SixDegrees.org, a social networking site intended to link people and charities to each other.
5. He’s not just an actor.
In 1995 Kevin formed a band called The Bacon Brothers with his brother, Michael, and the duo have released six albums. Among their TV performances, the brothers jammed out on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy… after Michael became the subject of a much-needed makeover.
6. He’s got musical friends.