By Nancy Dillon, nydailynews.com
It turns out Gary from Chicago has a backstory worthy of an Oscar-winning screenplay.
The tourist who became a breakout star of the 2017 Academy Awards revealed Monday he was released from a California prison just three days before show host Jimmy Kimmel detoured his sightseeing bus through the Dolby Theater.
In a phone interview with ABC 7 Chicago, Gary Alan Coe said he served 20 years for multiple felonies and found both God and his fiancee Vickie Vines while paying his debt to society.
Change is possible!” Coe told the station on Monday.
“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 explained.
The South Shore native — a toast of Tinseltown for carrying Vines’ purse while casually mingling with actors Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling and Nicole Kidman — said he’s basking in his redemption.
“You know what my son told me today, man? I almost come to tears. He said he’s proud of me. So to hear your children say that they’re proud of you, means the world to me,” Coe said.
Though he spent two decades behind bars in California, Coe still named Chicago as his hometown when he introduced himself to Kimmel with the world watching.
“I’m a Chicago boy,” he told ABC 7. “That’s the Windy City! That’s my town!”
Vines told the station she was thrilled when Washington jumped up from his seat, grabbed the couple’s hands and mock married them on camera.
“I’ve been watching Denzel since he was on ‘St. Elsewhere.’ Oh my God. I could die and go to heaven right now,” she said.