Accidental Oscars star 'Gary from Chicago' is an ex-con who served time for attempted rape

By Yaron Steinbuch

'Gary from Chicago' meeting Hollywood's elite at the Oscars. Photo / YouTube
'Gary from Chicago' meeting Hollywood's elite at the Oscars. Photo / YouTube

Accidental Oscars star "Gary from Chicago" has a dark role in his past - as an ex-con who served more than 22 years in prison for attempted rape.

Unsuspecting tourist Gary Alan Coe was aboard a double-decker bus that was detoured to the Dolby Theatre in the midst of Tinseltown's biggest night.

Host Jimmy Kimmel surprises tourists (Gary and his wife) during the 89th Annual Academy Awards. Photo / Getty
Host Jimmy Kimmel surprises tourists (Gary and his wife) during the 89th Annual Academy Awards. Photo / Getty

The starstruck Coe emerged as a breakout star when he introduced himself to host Jimmy Kimmel as "Gary from Chicago" while wearing a "Hollywood" sweatshirt and holding his fiancee's purse, The New York Post reports.

But Coe was only able to be there because he had been released from the slammer just two days before appearing on the show, according to ABC7.

His release is so recent, he's still listed as an inmate at a California prison, according to The Chicago Tribune.

It turns out the 59-year-old was imprisoned in 1994 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, California, which has been called "the largest addiction treatment centre in the world."

He is reportedly a registered sex offender.

Coe met his fiancee, Vickie Vines, behind bars, where he turned to religion, the Mail reported.

The couple plan to tie the knot this summer, but Denzel Washington - who Vickie said is her favourite actor - declared them "man and wife" in a faux wedding on stage.

It was unclear if Academy Award organisers - who already have egg on their faces due to the riotous Best Picture flub - were aware that Coe, who was seen kissing Halle Berry's and Nicole Kidman's hands, 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, grandad to your children," he told ABC7 in Chicago.

"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."

Host Jimmy Kimmel (C) and actor Ryan Gosling (R) surprises Gary (L) during the 89th Annual Academy Awards. Photo / Getty
Host Jimmy Kimmel (C) and actor Ryan Gosling (R) surprises Gary (L) during the 89th Annual Academy Awards. Photo / Getty

The scheduled appearance Monday by Coe and his fiancee on Jimmy Kimmel Live was scrapped.

ABC7 reported that he had been told the post-Oscars show was overbooked and that there was not enough time to feature him.

- news.com.au

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