Bacon’s Universe

An actor’s “Bacon number” is the number of successive co-stars through whom he can be linked to actor Kevin Bacon (hence the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”). For example, Elvis Presley has a Bacon number of 2: He appeared in Change of Heart (1969) with Edward Asner, who appeared in JFK with Bacon.

Surprisingly, most actors have a Bacon number of only 2 or 3. So far, of all the actors listed in the Internet Movie Database, only one can’t be linked at all: Fred Ott, who appeared by himself in two features released in the late 1800s.

Mathematically, Bacon isn’t even the most linkable actor — that honor belongs to Rod Steiger. The average Bacon number is 2.955; the average Steiger number is 2.679.