We Are All Six Degrees From Someone Who Needs Our Help
Harnessing the phenomenon of the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, in which any celebrity could be traced back to Bacon in six steps or fewer, Bacon formed the nonprofit SixDegrees.org to develop empathy and raise funds to support those in need who are, after all, only a few degrees separated from us. In this talk, Bacon discusses the Six Degrees philosophy, and how he turned a light hearted game into a game changing movement reaffirming global intimacy.
Kevin Bacon is one of the foremost actors of his generation. His talent for balancing starring roles with powerful supporting characters in film, television and on stage has allowed him to build a varied and critically acclaimed body of work.
With the support of his parents, Bacon left his native Philadelphia to become the youngest student at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York, where he studied until he made his film debut as “Chip” in National Lampoon’s Animal House. This led to roles in Diner and Footloose, the latter of which propelled him to stardom.
Bacon has starred in a wide range of film genres, from action thrillers to romantic comedies to heavy dramas, and even the occasional musical. Just some of Bacon’s film credits include John Hughes’ She’s Having a Baby, The Big Picture, Tremors, Flatliners, Oliver Stone’s JFK, Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men, The River Wild for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination, Murder in the First for which he was named Best Actor by The Broadcast Film Critics Association and received Best Supporting Actor nominations from The Screen Actors Guild and the London Film Critics Circle, Ron Howard’s award-winning Apollo 13, Clint Eastwood’s Academy Award nominated film Mystic River and The Woodsman for which he received an IFP Spirit Award nomination.
Additional film credits include Barry Levinson’s Sleepers, with Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro; Balto, Picture Perfect, with Jennifer Aniston; Telling Lies in America; Wild Things; David Koepp’s Stir of Echoes; the sleeper hit My Dog Skip; Hollow Man; Trapped, with Charlize Theron; Beauty Shop; Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies; The Air I Breathe; Death Sentence; Rails & Ties; My One and Only, with Renée Zellweger; James Gunn’s Super; and Frost/Nixon, which reunited him with Apollo 13 director Ron Howard, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Jayne Mansfield’s Car by director Billy Bob Thornton, and Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class.
More recently, Bacon starred in Greg McLean’s horror film The Darkness. He also appeared in Scott Cooper’s Black Mass opposite Johnny Depp; he starred in the indie thriller Cop Car from Jon Watts, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and he co-starred in Patriots Day alongside Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman and J.K. Simmons.
In 2017, Bacon starred in Jill Soloway’s Amazon series I Love Dick alongside Kathryn Hahn. Based on Chris Kraus’ 1997 novel of the same title, I Love Dick centers on a struggling married couple and their mutual obsession with a charismatic professor, Dick (Bacon). His portrayal earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy. Later that year, Kevin also starred in the television movie Story of A Girl which marked the directing debut of his wife Kyra Sedgwick.
Last year, Bacon was seen in the new Showtime series, City on a Hill opposite Aldis Hodge, which was renewed for a second season. This year he starred in the thriller movie, You Should Have Left alongside Amanda Seyfried. Bacon also ventured into the world of podcasts with Spotify and Funny or Die this year, releasing “The Last Degree of Kevin Bacon,” a scripted comedy podcast series in which Kevin satirized himself.
Bacon starred for three seasons on the hit Fox series The Following. In 2009, he starred in the cable movie Taking Chance, for which he won a Golden Globe Award and a SAG Award. His other television credits include the public television staging of Lanford Wilson’s play, Lemon Sky, a production that teamed him with his then-future wife, Kyra Sedgwick; The Gift, the cable film Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Will & Grace, HBO’s Bored to Death and he got his start on The Guiding Light.
In 1996, Bacon made his directorial debut with Losing Chase, starring Kyra Sedgwick, Beau Bridges and Helen Mirren. The film was honored with three Golden Globe Award nominations. Bacon directed his second film, Loverboy, which he also produced. Bacon also directed several episodes of Sedgwick’s hit show, The Closer.
Bacon’s stage work includes off-Broadway productions such as “Album,” “Poor Little Lambs” and “Getting Out.” He made his Broadway debut in 1983 with Sean Penn in “Slab Boys,” and starred in the 1986 production of Joe Orton’s “Loot.” He also starred in Theresa Rebeck’s comedy “Spike Heels.” In 2002, he starred in the one-man show “An Almost Holy Picture,” written by Heather McDonald.
Bacon was seen onstage in the celebrated Los Angeles reading of Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black’s play, “8.” The reading was a benefit for the American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact to raise funds to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. Bacon starred alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly amongst others.
With his musician brother, Michael, Bacon is the other half of The Bacon Brothers, a successful band with a sound that he describes as “Forosoco” (which is the title of their first album) – Folk, Rock, Soul and Country. Already highly regarded and hugely successful on the national club circuit, they have recorded eight CDs and a concert DVD.
At the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Bacon launched SixDegrees.org, a social networking site with a social conscience. The foundation harnesses the kindness that connects us to make the greatest positive impact.
Bacon received the 2010 Joel Siegel Award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association in recognition of his outstanding film career and his charitable work with SixDegrees.org. In 2000, the Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Bacon for his extraordinary career in the film industry.