Have you ever played the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”?
It’s a popular college trivia game where players try to connect any actor or actress to Kevin Bacon through their film roles in six steps or less.
This game is based on the concept of “Bacon Number”, which is the number of connections an actor or actress has to Kevin Bacon through their movie roles.
But have you ever wondered who has the largest Bacon Number?
In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of Bacon Numbers and discover which actor or actress holds the record for the highest Bacon Number.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of Hollywood connections!
Who Has The Largest Bacon Number?
As mentioned earlier, the Bacon Number is the number of connections an actor or actress has to Kevin Bacon through their movie roles. The higher the Bacon Number, the less connected they are to Kevin Bacon and the rest of Hollywood.
While many actors and actresses have a Bacon Number in the 2-3 range, there are some who have a much higher number. In fact, there is one actor who holds the record for the highest known Bacon Number.
His name is not mentioned in the previous text, but his Bacon Number is a whopping 8. This means that he is at least 8 connections away from Kevin Bacon through their movie roles.
It’s fascinating to think about how this actor is so far removed from Kevin Bacon, yet they are still connected through the vast network of Hollywood films.
What Is A Bacon Number?
A Bacon Number is a numerical value that represents the degree of separation between an actor or actress and Kevin Bacon. It is based on the concept of Six Degrees of Separation, which suggests that everyone in the world is connected to each other through a chain of no more than six people.
In the context of Hollywood, the Bacon Number is determined by tracing the movie roles of an actor or actress back to Kevin Bacon. If an actor has worked with Kevin Bacon in a movie, their Bacon Number is 1. If they have not worked with him directly but have worked with someone who has, their Bacon Number is 2, and so on.
The higher the Bacon Number, the less connected an actor or actress is to Kevin Bacon and the rest of Hollywood. It can be seen as a measure of an actor’s reach and influence within the industry. While many actors have a Bacon Number in the 2-3 range, some have a much higher number, indicating that they are more removed from the center of the Hollywood network.
The Origins Of Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon
The concept of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, also known as Bacon’s Law, originated in 1994 at Albright College in Pennsylvania. Three friends were watching movies and noticed that Kevin Bacon seemed to be connected to almost every actor in Hollywood through their movie roles. They then challenged each other to connect any actor to Kevin Bacon through the fewest number of connections possible.
The game quickly gained popularity and became a parlor game played by many. It was named after the concept of “six degrees of separation,” which suggests that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart.
Mathematicians later extrapolated the phenomenon and gave it a name: the Bacon Number. Researchers found that almost everyone has a Bacon Number less than 10, due to Kevin Bacon appearing in almost every film on the planet.
The Bacon Oracle, an algorithm created by computer scientist Brett Tjaden, maps the relationships between more than 562,600 actors and actresses listed in Wikipedia. It was designed to test the concept of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and determine the interconnectedness of movie actors and actresses.
Interestingly, Kevin Bacon himself has a Bacon Number of 0, as he is directly connected to himself through his movie roles. However, there are some actors with a much higher Bacon Number, with one actor holding the record for the highest known Bacon Number at 8 connections away from Kevin Bacon through their movie roles.
How Bacon Numbers Are Calculated
To calculate an actor or actress’s Bacon Number, we start with Kevin Bacon, whose Bacon Number is 0. If an actor or actress has worked in a movie with Kevin Bacon, their Bacon Number is 1. If they have not worked with Kevin Bacon directly, but have worked with someone who has, their Bacon Number is 2, and so on.
The most common source used to determine whether a film is valid is the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). However, not all actors and actresses can be linked to the rest of the movie universe. About 12% of all actors cannot be linked because they have only appeared in TV features or straight-to-video releases that the Oracle of Bacon (a website that calculates Bacon Numbers) does not count, or because they have not appeared in any features with actors from the Hollywood mainstream.
It’s important to note that the Bacon Number is determined based on movies produced by major studios. This means that independent films or films produced outside of Hollywood may not be counted towards an actor or actress’s Bacon Number.
Actors With Surprisingly Low Bacon Numbers
While there are actors with high Bacon Numbers, there are also those who have surprisingly low numbers. These actors are only a few connections away from Kevin Bacon, making them highly connected in the Hollywood network.
One such actor is Jack Nicholson, who has a Bacon Number of 1. This means that he has worked directly with Kevin Bacon in a film, making him the most connected actor to Bacon in Hollywood. Matt Damon also has a low Bacon Number of 2, due to his work in films such as The Departed and Mystic Pizza with other actors who have worked with Kevin Bacon.
Other notable actors with low Bacon Numbers include John Malkovich, who has a Bacon Number of 2, and Samuel L. Jackson, who has a Bacon Number of 3. It’s interesting to see how these actors have managed to work with a variety of other actors who have also worked with Kevin Bacon, making them highly connected in the Hollywood film industry.
The Evolution Of The Bacon Number Game
The Bacon Number game has evolved over the years from a simple parlor game to a full-blown graph theory problem. Initially, players would challenge each other to connect any actor to Kevin Bacon in the fewest number of steps, using only films that both actors have appeared in together. This game was based on the concept of “six degrees of separation”, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart.
As the game gained popularity, mathematicians began to take notice and turned it into a graph theory problem. They assigned each actor to a vertex and added an edge between two actors if they have appeared together in a movie. The problem then became finding the shortest path between a given actor and Kevin Bacon in terms of the number of connecting movies used.
Several algorithms can be used to solve this problem, including Dijkstra’s algorithm and breadth-first search algorithm. However, using Dijkstra’s algorithm is excessive since it is best suited for situations where each edge has an associated nonnegative length/weight and the goal is to find the path that minimizes the total length. For the Bacon Number game, each edge can be thought of as having weight 1, and thus, the breadth-first search algorithm is more time-efficient.
The Bacon Number game has also become more accessible thanks to Google. The search engine now offers a one-box for actor searches that includes the actor’s Bacon Number, making it easier for players to connect any actor to Kevin Bacon.