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Kevin Bacon Once Disguised Himself to Live Like a Normal Person, Says It “Sucked”

Photo Credit: Dominik Bindl / WireImage / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Dominik Bindl / WireImage / Getty Images

Kevin Bacon, a Hollywood legend whose career spans over four decades, has experienced the multifaceted nature of fame firsthand. From his breakout role in the 1984 film Footloose to his enduring presence in the entertainment industry, Bacon’s journey is a testament to the complexities of celebrity life. He recently opened up about his struggles with fame, his attempts to experience life as an ordinary person, and the valuable lessons he has learned along the way.

Kevin Bacon struggled with his fame

Kevin Bacon in 'Footloose.'
Kevin Bacon struggled with his fame following ‘Footloose.’ (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Zayne / MovieStillsDB)

Kevin Bacon, an iconic figure in Hollywood, recently opened up about his struggles with fame during an episode of the podcast Podcrushed. Despite his role as Ren McCormack in the 1984 film Footloose catapulting him to pop star status, Bacon revealed that he saw himself as a serious actor and was uncomfortable with this sudden shift in his career. “When I became a pop star, the last thing I wanted to be was a pop star,” he shared. “I had already moved into, you know, ‘I want to be Dustin Hoffman or Meryl [Streep] or John Cazale or [Robert] De Niro. I want to work with [Martin] Scorsese. I want to do Chekhov.’”

Bacon explained that his dedication to being a serious actor made it difficult for him to accept his newfound popularity. “I was so into what my idea of a serious actor was, and all of a sudden I was given this thing [Footloose] that was completely not a serious actor. So I rejected it, like, full on. And really, I think in some ways, I tried to self-sabotage that piece of myself and my popularity.” This internal conflict was compounded by a sense of self-doubt and anxiety that plagued him once he was in the spotlight. “Everything that I had dreamed of gave me a tremendous amount of self-doubt but also anxiety,” Bacon recalled.

Adding to his discomfort was the viral party game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” which left him feeling uneasy. “I thought that, and this is my own acting insecurity — impostor syndrome — I thought that the joke of it was that the great actors could be connected to a loser actor like me,” he said. However, over time, Bacon learned to embrace the game and the recognition it brought. “I eventually learned to embrace it, and I realized it wasn’t really going away,” he admitted. “It’s not a thing, it’s not anything you can hold…. It’s just an idea.”

He disguised himself to live like a normal person

Headshot of Kevin Bacon wearing sunglasses.
Kevin Bacon on June 24, 2024. (Photo Credit: ETIENNE LAURENT / AFP / Getty Images)

Despite his fame, Kevin Bacon has always been curious about what it would be like to live as a regular person for a day. To satisfy this curiosity, he once decided to try out a disguise. “I’m not complaining, but I have a face that’s pretty recognizable,” he said. “Putting my hat and glasses on is only going to work to a certain extent.” To achieve a more effective transformation, he enlisted the help of a special effects makeup artist, who provided him with prosthetics, including “fake teeth, a slightly different nose, and glasses.”

With his new look, Bacon ventured out to The Grove in Los Angeles and experienced life as an anonymous individual. “People were kind of pushing past me, not being nice. Nobody said, ‘I love you.’ I had to wait in line to, I don’t know, buy a f***ing coffee or whatever,” he recounted. “I was like, This sucks. I want to go back to being famous.” Having been active in Hollywood since 1978, when he was just 20, Bacon found that he had become accustomed to the privileges of celebrity life and quickly realized that he preferred it to the anonymity he briefly experienced.

He has advice for young stars

Portrait of Kevin Bacon.
Kevin Bacon on January 14, 1987. (Photo Credit: Bonnie Schiffman / Getty Images)

Reflecting on his extensive career and the lessons he has learned, Kevin Bacon offers valuable advice to the younger generation of celebrities. Having reached new heights of fame in the 1980s, he understands the pressures and challenges that come with being in the spotlight. One of his key regrets is not fully appreciating the experience when he was the “it” boy. “Enjoy it. I didn’t really enjoy it, honestly. I worked so hard to be famous. When I got it, I was like, ‘Oh shit, I don’t think I like this.’ I didn’t like doing photo sessions or being interrupted, and it was stupid,” he confessed. “I should have just said, ‘You schmuck, you work so hard for this. Enjoy it. Ride the wave.’”

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Bacon’s journey from an aspiring serious actor to a pop culture icon has been filled with highs and lows, but his experiences offer a poignant reminder to appreciate the moment and embrace the opportunities that come with fame. His insights serve as a guiding light for those navigating the complex world of entertainment today.

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June Steele

June Steele is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News