Kevin Bacon went from bussing tables to making 'more money than I ever imagined'—but blew his first big paycheck

Kevin Bacon during "Footloose" Premiere at The Academy in Beverly Hills, California, United States
Barry King | WireImage | Getty Images

Philadelphia native Kevin Bacon got "the itch" for acting when he was 13, he said on an episode of  the podcast "The Corp," and knew he wanted to pursue it as a career.

Bacon was so eager to start working as an actor that he graduated from high school half a year early, packed a suitcase and moved to New York City with the money he'd saved working in a warehouse shipping medical books. It was 1976, and he was 18.

While auditioning for roles, Bacon made ends meet bussing tables at Fiorello's Roman Cafe. He worked his way up to waiter and got a gig at the All State Cafe, a once famous New York City bar that has since closed.

Bacon's first big acting break came relatively quickly, when he landed a role in the 1978 cult classic "Animal House" — and he felt set for life: "I thought that I was 100% done. The movie paid … more money than I had ever imagined. It was something like 700 bucks a week. And I was out there for five weeks."

It wasn't long before the actor was back waiting tables, though. "I went through the money like that. I just went right through it, had to get my job back as a waiter," recalled Bacon, adding: "Honestly, it was a great lesson."

He continued hustling, waiting tables and working on soap operas and off-Broadway shows for several years, until the 1984 drama "Footloose" launched him into stardom. Shortly after that role, he was able to give up his waiting job for good. That's when, "I felt like, OK things are starting to even out a little bit,'" said Bacon.

In the years since, the prolific actor has made millions starring in movies like "Friday the 13th" and landing big roles in "Apollo 13," "A Few Good Men" and "Mystic River."

As for managing his finances, "It took me a long time to come around to the idea that you have to have a kind of responsibility with money," he said in an interview with Wealthsimple. And he admits that he's still learning: "To a certain extent, I still kind of struggle with it."

Don't miss: Kevin Bacon always carries cash in case of a zombie apocalypse

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Hollywood's male stars make millions more than its A-list actresses
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