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Kevin Bacon spends his birthday telling Conan about being "not fuckable" before a $1,500 haircut

Kevin Bacon, Conan O’Brien
Screenshot: Conan

On Monday, Kevin Bacon told Conan O’Brien that, indeed, he was spending his birthday (July 8) hanging out on the Conan set. (That’s the actor’s 61st birthday, should anyone who grew up watching Footloose want to stare off into the middle distance for a while.) And while Bacon told Conan that birthdays aren’t really his thing, he did refute O’Brien’s compliment about looking good for his age by sharing a deflating bit of Footloose trivia.

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“‘He’s just not fuckable,” is how Bacon termed the response of one female executive to his audition for the role of defiantly dancing hero Ren McCormack, which ultimately hurled him onto the A-list. Luckily for the young Bacon, more supposedly desirable picks Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe turned out to be unavailable, but the actor says it was the director’s hiring of a world-renowned, one-named hairdresser that really put him over the top. Claiming to have spied said hair artist fashioning Ren’s iconically spiky coif with his eyes contemplatively closed, Bacon told Conan that the ridiculously expensive specialist (who charged $1500 in 1982 money for the effort) finally did the trick, framing the young Bacon’s pug-nosed, vaguely predatory face in such a way as to capture the erotic imagination of teens everywhere.

And lest anyone take offense at the idea that the young Kevin Bacon seemed a little douchey, Bacon told Conan that his wife of 30-plus years, the estimable actress Kyra Sedgwick, initially thought he was “a complete asshole.” Now playing a complete asshole on Showtime’s Boston crime drama City On A Hill, Bacon says the couple’s famously solid Hollywood partnership almost never happened because Sedgwick initially took one look on the set of the American Playhouse adaptation of Lanford Wilson’s Lemon Sky and saw the riding-high Bacon as trouble. Bacon admits he was obnoxiously incredulous that Sedgwick claimed never to have seen Footloose when they met in 1988, which, yeah, sounds like the sort of dick move a young Kevin Bacon character might bust out.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.