It’s much easier to maintain or adopt Old Money Values when your life, and its incumbent joys and regrets, are experienced in relative privacy. By relative, I mean that if you make a fool of yourself, the circle of embarrassment is limited to your family and a few (hopefully) understanding friends and colleagues.
Being a celebrity is another matter. It’s disorienting whirlwind of privilege, adoration, and excess has thrown more than one seemingly level-headed person to the proverbial curb. Divorces, rehab, bankruptcy, and general destruction follow in its wake consistently, as the tabloids are happy to chronicle. That journey is sad, predictable, and common, and not really Old Money.
Which brings us to Mr. Bacon. Son of a prominent Philadelphia architect and a teacher, he struck out of his own at age 17 and left for New York City to pursue his career. Less than a decade later he starred in the film Footloose and became a household name. It would have been understandable if he’d gone off the rails into drugs and alcohol, but it seems the lure of family and work trumped in the long run: he’s been scandal-free for as long as anyone can recall, and seems to prioritize his wife, his children, and work, acting consistently in film, television, and theater, and performing with his brother their band now and again.
Since 1988, he’s been married to actress Kira Sedgwick, scion of a Massachusetts family whose members include publishers, authors, and an ancestor who traded political elbows with George Washington back in the day. (Wink, nod.) The couple makes an effort to keep their family life private, balancing two demanding careers and raising their children, which is very Old Money.
Not that their road together has been without its challenges. They suffered substantial losses in the Bernie Madoff Wall Street investment debacle a few years ago.
“It’s fine,” the actor said of the experience. “So you have a moment where you go, ‘Holy shit, that was many, many years of work just went away in a poof of smoke.’ And then you go, ‘Hang on, we’re okay. We’re looking at each other, we got a nice apartment, our kids are healthy. There’s other people who had it a lot worse. We can both work.'”
That attitude–of honesty, assessment, and finally optimism–is very admirable, and very Old Money.
Well done, Mr. Bacon. Well done, Ms. Sedgwick. Continued success.