Kevin Bacon is so prolific that his career has inspired a parlor game called "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," in which players link other stars to the actor through six or fewer films. It's based on the theory of "six degrees of separation," which was developed by psychologist Stanley Milgram in the '60s and was later the subject of a play and movie of the same name.
The game was invented by three students at Albright College in Pennsylvania. They decided to try Milgram's theory out on Kevin Bacon, seen here with his wife Kyra Sedgwick in 2003. Bacon's name rhymes with "separation," and his career arguably places him at the center of the film universe.
Example: Marlon Brando
Acting legend Marlon Brando, pictured here in 2001, can be connected to Kevin Bacon in just two steps. Brando starred in "The Score" (2001) with Robert DeNiro. DeNiro worked with Bacon in....
The cast of the movie "Sleepers" (1996) is seen at a press conference at the Venice Film festival, Aug. 28, 1996. They are from left: Robert De Niro, director Barry Levinson, Italian actor Vittorio Gassman. Standing from left: Dustin Hoffman, Jason Patric and Kevin Bacon. The movie also features Bruno Kirby, Brad Pitt and Minnie Driver.
There can be numerous ways to connect people to Bacon, though some paths are tricky. Students at the U. of Virginia maintain an "Oracle" (click here) that searches your person's connection by mining the Internet Movie Database. It says Gov. Schwarzenegger, seen here Nov. 17, 2003, has two steps...
The cast of Schwarzenegger's "Last Action Hero" (1993) included veteran actress Colleen Camp. She appears in "Trapped," (2002) which starred Bacon, left, and Charlize Theron, right.
The pop singer, seen here in 2003, works occasionally as an actor. He can be connected to Bacon in three steps...
Bowie starred in "Labyrinth" (1986) with Jennifer Connelly. Connelly was in "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) with Ed Harris, pictured here at far right with "Apollo 13" (1995) cast members, from left, Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Clint Howard Feb. 24, 1996. The Ron Howard-Brian Grazer film also starred Bill Paxton and Gary Sinese.
Socialite Paris Hilton has a fledgling acting career and is already tied to Bacon in just two steps...
Murder In The First
Hilton was in "Zoolander" (2001) which also starred Christian Slater. Slater, left, appeared in "Murder in the First" (1995) alongside Bacon, right.
Madonna can be linked in two steps....
Mystic River (2003)
Madonna appeared in "At Close Range" (1986) opposite Sean Penn. Penn, left, stars in "Mystic River" (2003), which also features Bacon, at right. The movie also stars Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Emmy Rossum.
Filmmaker Woody Allen is known for his large, ensemble casts, making for many paths to Bacon. Allen himself can be connected in two steps...
The River Wild
Allen wrote, directed and starred in "Manhattan" (1979), which featured Meryl Streep in the part of his ex-wife. She starred in "The River Wild" (1994) opposite Bacon. Streep, left, John C. Reilly and Bacon, right, appear here in a scene from the film.
The Irish actor is another two stepper...
As James Bond in 1999's "The World Is Not Enough," Brosnan shares the screen with Denise Richards. Richards, right, appears in the thriller "Wild Things" (1998) alongside Bacon, right.
Veteran actress Colleen Camp, mentioned earlier as appearing with Bacon in "Trapped," provides numerous links to the star. Her work in "Valley Girl" (1983) links Cage to Bacon. But there's another way to get there in two steps...
Bacon, pictured, stars opposite Elisabeth Shue in "Hollow Man" (2000). Shue was in "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995) with Nicolas Cage.
Sometimes the longest paths can be the most fun. In one combination, Berry is linked to Bacon in four steps...
Berry appeared in "The Last Boy Scout" (1991) with Bruce Willis. Willis was in "Mortal Thoughts" (1991) with his then-wife Demi Moore. In 2000 Moore was in "Passion of Mind" with Peter Riegert, who was one of the stars of "Animal House" (1978), Bacon's first film (pictured, center).