Kevin Bacon first made a name for himself in the film Footloose in 1984, but who are his parents and how did they influence his decision to become an actor?
Kevin Bacon was born to his father, architect Edmund Norwood Bacon, and his mother, teacher Ruth Hilda Bacon (née Holmes).
Read more about Bacon’s parents and their influence on him as a youngster.
Kevin Bacon’s Father
Following his graduation from college, Bacon profited from a small inheritance to travel the world and found work as an architect in the office of Henry Murphy in Shanghai. Here, he successfully designed the Nanking airport and visited Beijing, a city that influenced him profoundly.
He later received a scholarship to study at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan under the architect Eliel Saarinen, whose theories about the city as a living organism inspired Bacon’s later work.
From 1949 to 1970, Bacon served as Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. During his tenure, he and his team conceived and implemented various design ideas that shaped the Philadelphia of today, leading some to describe him as “The Father of Modern Philadelphia”.
Bacon won several honors for his work, including the Frank P. Brown Medal, the American Institute of Planners Distinguished Service Award, the Philadelphia Award, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kevin Bacon revealed in an interview with The Guardian that his drive to succeed as a youngster likely stemmed from wanting to be more famous than his father. He said “I don’t think I was cognisant of it at the time, but I’d say that was probably a piece of it. Boys want to beat their dads at something.”
Kevin Bacon’s Mother
Holmes worked as an elementary school teacher and was a liberal activist.
Kevin Bacon seems to have followed in his mother’s footsteps in this respect, as both he and his wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick, are also political activists. They have previously teamed up with the grassroots organisation Swing Left, which supports Democratic candidates and facilitates volunteering in the run up to elections.
Kevin Bacon revealed in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune that he was very interested in music as a child, but that his mother pushed him into acting instead. He said “My mother definitely steered me towards a career in acting and got me into theater”.
Discussing how he first began acting in the same interview in the San Diego Union-Tribune, he said “She pushed me into whatever theater options she could find in Philadelphia. And part of that was: ‘Your brother is a musician; you (don’t) follow in your brother’s footsteps.’
It is clear that Kevin Bacon has his parents to thank in part for success, with his father having bestowed on him a strong drive to succeed and his mother having encouraged him to take up acting in the first place.