On Tuesday in New York, in live conversation with WNYC podcast host Anna Sale, Golden Globe-winning actor Kevin Bacon discussed his relatively relaxed attitude towards money. "I've been robbed," he said. Multiple times, in fact. He had some cash stolen at gunpoint and much more taken by Bernie Madoff.
Reflecting on Madoff, he said, "That was a tough day," adding, "When someone takes something from you, it leaves you with a sick kind of feeling."
Still, he said, he focused on what he could control. He "put the pieces back together" with his longtime wife, Golden Globe-winning actress Kyra Sedgwick, and family. When asked if he was angry, he shrugged.
"Try to avoid bitterness; it'll kill you," he said. "I'm pretty sure it's killing him."
It helps that, like his peer Jon Hamm, Bacon remains philosophical about wealth. "Money on the page means nothing to me," he told Sale.
Money matters to him because of what it enables him to do: Support his family, travel, give funds away to good causes. Numbers related to his bank account, he said, have no resonance for him. The idea of getting to earning more or seeing totals rise doesn't rouse his competitive spirit.
Though he did seem proud to note that Sedgwick, who made $350,000 an episode on TNT's "The Closer," was once "the highest-paid actress on television."
The prolific actor is perhaps best known for his starring roles in "Footloose" and "Friday the 13th," as well as his supporting performances in "Apollo 13," "A Few Good Men" and "Mystic River." He's currently a lead in the streaming Amazon show "I Love Dick," and he has an estimated net worth of $50 million.
Bacon has perspective about wealth in part because he once had none. The youngest of six children, all of whom were taught to be independent and self-sufficient from an early age, he chose not to go to college and instead tried to make it as a theater actor.
To support himself, "I worked as a waiter, hand-to-mouth," Bacon said, and, as a result, "I keep a lot of cash on me."
Onstage, in front of the appreciative crowd, Bacon reached into his pocket and withdrew a wad of cash reminiscent of the one Tony might carry into the Bada Bing in HBO's "The Sopranos."
No wallet, noticed Sale, and Bacon agreed: No wallet, just cash, folded up and carried in his pant pocket. The actor laughed at himself as he counted some of the bills, and then he put it all away, acknowledging that he probably shouldn't have done that.
"I just don't leave the house without it," he said. "Just in case."
As the audience looked at him expectantly, he explained: "Zombie apocalypse."
In such an emergency, he could use the cash to buy his way onto the last rowboat leaving Manhattan. As the audience roared, he chuckled and added, "Though the guy would probably say, 'I don't care about your money; you're Kevin Bacon! Come on.'"
After the event ended, staff surrounded audience members with mini cupcakes, distracting them, as the actor, still loaded down with cash, made a safe escape.