Who is the Center of the Hollywood Universe?
Hopefully, you've played around a bit with The Oracle of Bacon and discovered how few steps are necessary to link just about anybody who has ever been in a movie to Kevin Bacon, but could there be some actor or actress who is even closer to the center of the Hollywood universe? The answer turns out to be: yes.
By processing all of the 2,158,882 actors and actresses in TMDB, I discovered that there are currently 562 people who are better centers than Kevin Bacon! What does it mean for one person to be a "better" center than another? Consider the following breakdown of people by Bacon Number (as of November 27th, 2023):
|Bacon Number||# of people|
That means that there is 1 person who can be linked in 0 steps (Bacon himself), 2,193 people who can be linked in 1 step, 226,968 people who can be linked in 2 steps, etc. So we can compute the average Bacon Number as follows:
|Jackson Number||# of people|
By computing the average of these numbers we see that the average Jackson Number is about 2.896 making Jackson a better center than Bacon. This is not to denigrate Mr. Bacon, and it should be noted that being the 563rd best center out of 2,158,882 people makes Bacon a better center than 99% of the people who have ever appeared in a feature film. A list of the 1,000 best centers in the Hollywood universe is available for your enjoyment.
Is there a "worst" center (or most obscure actor) in the Hollywood universe? Of course. I won't tell you the name of the person who produces the highest average number—won't you have more fun finding him/her yourself?—but his/her table looks like this (as of November 27th, 2023):
|XXXXXX Number||# of people|
That's an average of 12.188!