“Gary from Chicago,” who became a viral star at the 2017 Oscars, was released from prison just three days before he appeared at the awards show on Sunday, February 26, during host Jimmy Kimmel‘s tour bus skit.
In a phone interview with ABC7 on Monday, February 27, Gary Alan Coe revealed that he was released from a California prison after serving 20 years for multiple felonies. He did not provide further details about his crimes.
During his sentence, the South Shore, Chicago, native says he found religion and his fiancée, Vickie Vines, who also appeared in Sunday night’s sketch. “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 the news outlet. “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 [my] children say that they’re proud of me means the world to me.”
Coe, clad in a Hollywood sweatshirt and a black baseball cap, was visibly excited at the Oscars as he and Vines took selfies and briefly chatted with movie stars including Ryan Gosling, Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington. At one point, Kimmel, 49, asked Vines who her favorite actor was, and she immediately pointed to Washington, 62.
“I’ve been watching Denzel since he was on St. Elsewhere,” she told ABC7. “Oh, my God. I could die and go to heaven right now.”
Coe and Vines told the local news station that they plan to marry this summer in California.
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