'Gary From Chicago' was released from prison days before gaining - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'Gary From Chicago' was released from prison days before gaining viral fame at the Oscars

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NBC NEWS - Looks like "Gary from Chicago" has a bigger story than many watching the Oscars may have thought.

The tourist-turned-social media sensation had only just been released from prison after serving 20 years behind bars. He was out of jail two days before being whisked to the front row of the Oscars, meeting and taking pictures with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, his attorney said. 

Gary Coe's attorney, public defender Karen Nash, posted on Facebook that Coe had been sentenced to life for stealing perfume in 1997. He also had a prior for attempted rape when he was a teenager in 1995, which Nash claims led him to face a harsher sentence for the petty theft two years later.

"We finally won his release this year," Nash wrote. "He got out on Friday, and was sight seeing with his lovely fiance [sic] Vicky. If you watched the Oscars, you know the rest."

Further details surrounding Coe's conviction and sentencing weren't clear. 

Nash did not immediately return NBC Chicago's request for comment. She told the Chicago Tribune she did represent Coe but could not discuss his case without further permission. 

Aside from the unforgettable best picture blunder, one of the most-talked about moments from Sunday night’s Oscars came from Coe and his fiancée, Vicki Mines, who stole the spotlight, and the hearts of viewers, in the middle of the show. 

Coe was expected to recount his experience at the Oscars on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Monday night, but that appearance was later canceled. The Chicago Tribune reported a late-night show representative said it was a "creative decision" to focus on other topics.

Coe and Vicky Mines were riding a Hollywood tour bus when, in a prank led by host Jimmy Kimmel, they were unknowingly brought into the Dolby Theater during the live ceremony. The tour group had been told they were stopping to see an exhibit of Oscar dresses and gowns. 

“In a way it’s true,” Kimmel told the crowd before the unsuspecting tourists arrived. “They will see dresses and gowns, but they will be on people. So, they don’t know it but the moment they open the door, they are going to be on live TV and we are going to surprise them.” 

Needless to say, the Chicago couple was stunned when they walked in.

Coe, who led the group with his fiancée, was brought toward the front of the stage by Kimmel before he was asked to introduce himself, all while recording every moment with his iPhone that was covered in a bright purple case. 

His fiancée quickly propped her cellphone on a selfie stick to record the moment as well. 

The couple, as well as the hashtag #GaryFromChicago immediately became a top-trending topic across social media. 

They ended up going home with much more than the memories captured on their cellphones. After the couple noted that they were planning on getting married in the summer, Kimmel asked Mines who her favorite actor was. She pointed to Denzel Washington, who was just an arms-length away. 

Washington quickly jumped up, even offering to officiate an impromptu wedding ceremony. 

“I now pronounce you husband and wife!” Washington proclaimed before posing for a selfie with the two.

Before they made their departure, Kimmel called on actress Jennifer Aniston, who was sitting a few rows away, to give the couple something of a souvenir to take home with them. She quickly rummaged through her purse to find something before offering up her sunglasses.

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