*Turns out the “Gary from Chicago” dude from Oscar night is a registered sex offender that had just been released from a California prison three days earlier.
The Daily Mail did some digging on Gary Alan Coe, who became an accidental star at the Academy Awards when the double-decker bus he was on with his fiancée was detoured to the Dolby Theater. The unsuspecting passengers were told they were going to see an exhibit, but to their surprise, they were herded into the star-studded auditorium in the middle of the ceremony.
Coe introduced himself to host Jimmy Kimmel as “Gary from Chicago” while wearing a “Hollywood” sweatshirt and holding his fiancee’s purse. Kimmel even got Denzel Washington to unofficially pronounce them man and wife.
But three days earlier, Coe, 59, was being released from prison after serving more than 22 years for attempted rape, the Daily Mail reported.
According to records, he was released from Corcoran Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison north of Bakersfield, Calif., which has been called “the largest addiction treatment center in the world.”
Coe met his fiancée, Vickie Vines, behind bars, where he turned to religion, the Mail reported.
It was unclear if Academy Award organizers were aware that Coe, who was seen kissing the hands of Halle Berry, Octavia Spencer and Nicole Kidman, is a registered sex offender.
“Change is possible. It’s a sad day to be in prison for 20 years and not be able to be a dad, granddad to your children,” he told Chicago’s ABC7. “You know what my son told me today, man, and I almost come to tears. He said he’s proud of me. So to hear your children say that they’re proud of me means the world to me.”
The scheduled appearance Monday by Coe and his fiancée on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” was cancelled. ABC7 reported that he had been told the post-Oscars show was overbooked and that there was not enough time to feature him.
Below, ABC7 Chicago’s report on Coe’s past: