Six Degrees of Separation

"I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people.
Six degrees of separation. Between us and everybody else on this planet."
-from John Guare's play, Six Degrees of Separation (1990)

Have you ever seen an actor and wonder where you had seen them before?
It used to drive me crazy trying to remember where I had seen them before until IMDB came along and I could look them up and find my answer. And then I noticed actors popping up in performances alongside costars from their previous films and thought it was interesting to see them together again. The adage of six degrees of separation could probably be reduced to 2 or 3 degrees in the world of cinema. I was surprised to find out the connections between actors offscreen as well and thought I would list some of these in this section. So here's a tribute to Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon...maybe if I research enough, I'll find out that I'm related to Jane Austen...hee hee...

Our facebook group has an ongoing game with this concept. (dormant at present)

>>1. Six Degrees of Separation - Emily Blunt
>>2. Six Degrees...Enigma - Jane Austen connection
>>3. Web of Films - Little Dorrit (familiar faces from period dramas)
>>4. One degree of separation (Family dramas connected with 19th century author)

James McAvoy & Anne-Marie Duff

Anne-Marie Duff in"Doctor Zhivago" acted with Keira Knightley
who played opposite
James McAvoy in "Atonement".

Anne-Marie Duff in "The Way We Live Now" acted with Matthew McFadyen
who played opposite
Keira Knightley in "Pride and Prejudice".

Amanda Root & Corin Redgrave

Amanda starred as Anne in Persuasion with Corin playing her father.

She later played Winifred, in the Forsyte Saga with Corin playing her Uncle Jolyon.

A Jeremy Northam Loop
(5 degrees of separation)

Jeremy Northam
was in "Enigma" with
Saffron Burrows
who in "Circle of Friends", was the girlfriend of
Colin Firth
who shared a name in "The Importance of Being Earnest" with
Rupert Everett
who in "The Madness of King George", was the son of
Nigel Hawthorne
who was the father of the "Winslow Boy", whose lawyer was
Jeremy Northam

Daniel Day-Lewis Loop
(9th degree)

In honour of his 4th Oscar nomination
(this year for his performance in There Will Be Blood)

Daniel Day Lewis
acted in "Age of Innocence" with
Winona Ryder
who in "Little Women" played the sister of
Claire Danes
who in "Les Miserables" acted along with
Uma Thurman
who in "Vatel" was a love interest for
Gerard Depardieu
who costarred in "Napoleon" with
John Malkovich
who in "Portrait of a Lady" taunts
Nicole Kidman
who acted in "Cold Mountain" with
Eileen Atkins
who in "Cranford" is the sister of
Judi Dench
who acted in "A Room with a View" with
Daniel Day Lewis

While compiling the family connections for It's All Relative,
I kept noticing how the families of actors are connected to one another.
Here's another loop that starts and ends with the venerable Dame Maggie Smith:

Maggie Smith
has been in Ladies of Lavender with
Judi Dench
who was in Shakespeare in Love with
Gwyneth Paltrow
who was in Sylvia with
Jared Harris
who's married to
Emilia Fox
who was in Rebecca with
Diana Rigg
who was in Charles II with
Anne-Marie Duff
who was in The Way We Live Now with
Joanna David
who was in The Forsyte Saga with
Corin Redgrave
who was in Persuasion with
Samuel West
who is the son of
Timothy West
who was in A Room with a View with
Laurence Fox
who was in Becoming Jane with
Maggie Smith
(and that's where we started)


  1. Ooo! Ooo! May I play?

    ...Maggie Smith who is the mother of Toby Stephens who dated Jennifer Ehle who was friends with Gwyneth Paltrow while growing up who starred in Shakespeare in Love with Joseph Fiennes who is the brother of Ralph Fiennes who plays Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter films which stars Maggie Smith... who is mother to Chris Larkin who acted in Shackelton with Kenneth Branaugh who played Gilderoy Lockhart in Chamber of secrets which starred Maggie Smith... who was in the Prime of Miss Jean Brody where she acted with Gordon Jackson who was in Upstairs Downstairs which starred Jean Marsh who was in Sense and Sensibility with Mark Williams who plays Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films that stars Maggie Smith...

    This is fun!

  2. Teresa, it's endless isn't it??? I didn't know that Toby dated Jennifer Ehle! We also have a six degrees of separation thread on the facebook group but I fear that no one could keep up with you!! (I think the challenge might be to find two people who AREN'T connected since these actors all seem to be closely intertwined!)

  3. I know, endless! I just noticed something else, Toby is already connected to Gwyneth through the film "Possession", but then, so is Jennifer Ehle... and Jeremy Northam who is connected to her through Emma (Ack, make it stop!) But the thing is, I own all of the films I mentioned and I could probably sit on my living room floor and play "Six Degrees" just by matching DVD boxes.

  4. Could I play that game by matching DVD's AND VHS tapes?? My collection isn't all up to date. Hmmm, now that you've mentioned Jeremy, I've gotten all distracted :)
    Let's see Jeremy was in Tudors with Colm Wilkinson who was Valjean in Les Mis with Alun Armstrong who was in Little Dorrit with Matthew Macfadyen who is playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in the new Robin Hood with Toby Stephens who's Prince John who acted in Jane Eyre with Christina Cole who's playing Mrs. Elton in the new Emma and we all know who the best Knightley is bringing us back to Jeremy!! Yes that's a bunch of degrees but I like the long connections!



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