ranked 1,049th. (Still, as Bacon is more connected than 99 percent of all actors, he does qualify as an important hub.) In second place was Christopher Lee (2.684), followed by Dennis Hopper (2.698). Donald Sutherland ranked 4th. Among women, the most connected was Karen Black, in 21st place.
It’s such highly connected actors, or hubs, that make it easy to get from any actor to any other in just a few steps. Choose any two actors at random. You can probably connect them in three steps or less. And it would be unusual to need more than four. If you search and search, you can find a few who would require more steps, but that is likely only if you deliberately choose actors who would not be very connected, like someone who appeared in only one film. (And remember, I said you need to choose two at random.)
So for example, just off the top of my head I’ll say Basil Rathbone (because I saw a Sherlock Holmes movie last night) and Lindsay Lohan (no reason—I will not admit to having seen Herbie: Fully Loaded). These two actors are from entirely different eras, and Lohan is young and has been in relatively few films. But you can link them in only three steps. An aging Rathbone appeared in Queen of Blood (1966) with the pre–Easy Rider Dennis Hopper. Hopper was in Knockaround Guys with Bruce McFee, who appeared in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004) with Lohan. The short path between Rathbone and Lohan was made possible by the hub provided by Hopper, who is, in fact, much more connected then Bacon.7 (Hopper is connected directly to 3,503 other actors, about 1,500 more than Bacon.)
Hubs like Hopper make the actor network a small world. They make getting from one node to another easy, in much the way that major airport hubs like Chicago’s O’Hare or Dallas–Fort Worth unite the smaller airports in airline networks so you can get from one town to another without too many plane changes.
Such large hubs generally do not exist, though, in either random or regular networks. In a regular network, every node has the same number of links, so there are no hubs. In a random network, shortcuts exist, but they might be very hard to find because prominent hubs would be very rare. In random networks, any one node