Kevin Bacon – From Chip Diller to Worldwide Fame

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When Kevin Bacon got his start in National Lampoon’s Animal House, he probably didn’t know how right he was when he yelled, “All is well!” as Chip Diller while being trampled. But his career, spanning over 40 years, has been exceptionally good for him. Like his role as Chip, Bacon’s films have been a starting point for numerous performers, a veritable “One Degree of Separation” from Kevin Bacon.

An Inconceivable Pairing

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Some might find it inconceivable, but Wallace Shawn had higher credit than Kevin Bacon in Starting Over. Bacon’s scene in the Burt Reynolds film about a man whose wife leaves him because she’s both having an affair and wants to start a singing career didn’t even make the final cut! Still, 1979 was early in their careers—nearly a decade before Shawn’s iconic role as Vizzini in The Princess Bride

Reising to the Occasion

Photo Credit: MGM.

In 1982, Diner splashed by introducing Kevin Bacon in his first leading role. Also getting their jump start in this film is Paul Reiser (Aliens), who was not only in his first leading role but also in his first role ever, and director Barry Levinson, who would go on to win the Academy Award for Rain Man. The film follows close-knit friends who reunite for their buddy Eddie’s wedding, gathering in a local Baltimore diner and longing for the days when life wasn’t something that required more than just waking up every day.

A Killer Voice

Photo Credit: Len Steckler Productions.

In 1983, Kevin Bacon starred in The Demon Murder Case, a made-for-television film about a boy possessed by a demon that makes another boy (played by Bacon) commit murders. The demon was voiced by Harvey Fierstein years before his success in Torch Song Trilogy and Mrs. Doubtfire.

Dancing Her Way to the City

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Footloose, released in 1984, made Kevin Bacon a star and a perpetual leading man. The film, about a small town with a religious leader dead-set against dancing, was just Sarah Jessica Parker’s second feature role after being on television’s Square Pegs long before her primetime Emmy win for Sex and the City.

Seven of None

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

A case of almost being in a movie with Kevin Bacon in 1987 is future Star Trek: Voyager actress Jeri Ryan. She was supposed to be in the bus scene in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, but Steve Martin and John Candy were so funny that she couldn’t stop laughing, and her scene was cut. Bacon is only at the beginning of this film, about two guys who try to work together to reach their destinations after being stranded.

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“Ben” There, or at Least His Brother

Photo Credit: American Playhouse.

1988’s Lemon Sky stars Kevin Bacon as Alan, a young man from Nebraska who goes to live with his estranged father in California, only to discover he’s abusive. Ben Affleck’s brother Casey has his first role here as Alan’s stepbrother Jerry. Lemon Sky is also the film where Bacon met his future wife, Kyra Sedgwick.

Not the Baby of the Brothers

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Also in 1988 was She’s Having a Baby, in which Kevin Bacon plays Jake Briggs, a writer struggling to succeed while working through settling down, buying a house, dealing with in-laws, and trying to start a family. Alec Baldwin’s first starring role is here, as Jake’s reckless best friend, Davis.

Open the Hatch

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

The 1989 film The Big Picture has Kevin Bacon as a filmmaker whose short film wins enough acclaim to send him to Hollywood, where he quickly learns that it takes more than an award to make it there. It is Teri Hatcher’s first film, years before starring in Lois & Clark and Desperate Housewives.

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Launching a Daughter’s Career

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

Kevin Bacon played real-life astronaut Jim Lovell in 1995’s Apollo 13, which tells the story of the race to rescue the crew of the ill-fated space mission. In a tiny role, Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of the director, Ron Howard) plays the “girl in the yellow dress.” This walk-on is a far cry from her leads in such films as Jurassic World and Argylle.

From the Far East to the West World

Photo Credit: Davis Entertainment Classics.

Evan Rachel Wood’s first film role was in the 1997 Kevin Bacon film Digging to China. In it, she plays a 10-year-old girl who befriends a mentally disabled man (Bacon). After her mother dies, the two become even closer despite his disabilities. Rachel would eventually star in Frozen II and have a lead role in Westworld.

Skipping to the Middle

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

My Dog Skip (2000), about Willie Morris growing up with his dog in Mississippi in the 1940s, was Frankie Muniz’s first feature starring role. He’d done some television before, but nothing compared to his upcoming role as Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle. Kevin Bacon plays Willie’s dad, Jack.

Some Love For the Family

Photo Credit: Millennium Films.

2005’s Loverboy, with Kevin Bacon directing and starring, is the story of a woman who was neglected as a child and now shelters her son due to that neglect. This film is a landmark for Bacon because it is the first movie for his daughter Sosie (Smile).

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Crossing Towards Fame

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Kendrick Cross plays a guard in Death Sentence, Kevin Bacon’s 2007 film about a husband and father out for revenge after his son is killed in a gas station robbery. This tragedy sets him against a gang of violent criminals who then target the rest of his family. Cross would later appear in recurring roles in Stranger Things and General Hospital.

Raising an Acting Career

Photo Credit: Carousel Productions.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) is popular musician Josh Groban’s first feature film. In this Kevin Bacon movie, Steve Carell plays Cal, a man with a perfect life that unravels around him. He must now learn how to pick up girls after his unfaithful wife asks for a divorce. Enter Jacob, a player who tries to show him the ropes.

Mutating Into Fame

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

While not his first role, Alex Gonzalez made his English-language debut in X-Men: First Class as Riptide, a mutant member of the Hellfire Club led by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). He later starred in the television series Unauthorized Living and 3 Caminos.

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19 Films Where the Main Character Discovers They’re Not the Good Guy in the End

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Through legitimate or illegitimate means, the main character doesn’t always end the film as a good person. Sometimes it comes through a shocking twist, sometimes we’ve known all along that this main character is not somebody we actually like.

19 Films Where the Main Character Discovers They’re Not the Good Guy in the End

20 TV Shows With the Strongest Pilot Episodes We’ve Ever Seen

Photo Credit: MRC Television.

It’s common knowledge among TV show buffs that the pilot episode of any new show is just a “warm-up.” That’s why you need to commit to watching at least two or three episodes before you decide if you really love it or not. But there are some TV shows that come out of the gate with a strong pilot episode—and you just know those shows will be binge-worthy.

We’ve got the 20 TV shows with the strongest first episodes ever. Do you have a favorite? Check out this list and see if it’s here!

20 TV Shows With the Strongest Pilot Episodes We’ve Ever Seen

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