## 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 |
---|---|

0 | 1 |

1 | 2,193 |

2 | 226,968 |

3 | 695,048 |

4 | 261,073 |

5 | 33,202 |

6 | 5,221 |

7 | 926 |

8 | 249 |

9 | 83 |

10 | 32 |

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:

$\begin{array}{c}\frac{0\u8def1+1\u8def2193+2\u8def226968+3\u8def695048+4\u8def261073+5\u8def33202+6\u8def5221+7\u8def926+8\u8def249+9\u8def83+10\u8def32}{1+2193+226968+695048+261073+33202+5221+926+249+83+32}\\ =\frac{3792442}{1224996}\\ =3.096\end{array}$

So the average Bacon Number is about 3.096. We can compare that with the average Jackson Number for actor Samuel L. Jackson. The breakdown is as follows (as of November 27th, 2023):

Jackson Number | # of people |
---|---|

0 | 1 |

1 | 5,486 |

2 | 337,104 |

3 | 693,214 |

4 | 163,298 |

5 | 21,528 |

6 | 3,406 |

7 | 661 |

8 | 216 |

9 | 63 |

10 | 9 |

11 | 10 |

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 |
---|---|

0 | 1 |

1 | 10 |

2 | 2 |

3 | 4 |

4 | 8 |

5 | 1 |

6 | 2 |

7 | 8 |

8 | 25 |

9 | 125 |

10 | 3,287 |

11 | 136,785 |

12 | 759,619 |

13 | 284,027 |

14 | 34,482 |

15 | 5,220 |

16 | 1,067 |

17 | 194 |

18 | 101 |

19 | 28 |

That's an average of 12.188!