Oscars Sensation ‘Gary From Chicago’ Found God And Love While Serving 20 Years In Prison

Oscars Sensation ‘Gary From Chicago’ Found God And Love While Serving 20 Years In Prison
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The unsuspecting tourist who stole the spotlight at this year’s Academy Awards should have a movie made out of his own life story.

In an interview with ABC 7 Chicago, "Gary from Chicago" — whose real name is Gary Allan Coe — revealed he was released from a California prison just *three* days before the Oscars after serving two decades for multiple felonies.

Coe was imprisoned in 1997 after being convicted of petty theft for stealing perfume. According to the Chicago Tribune, it was considered a felony under California’s “three strikes” law because he had previously been convicted of grand theft and shoplifting.

"Many great lawyers had clients get draconian sentences like that in the '90s," said Coe’s lawyer, Katie Nash. "There was little one could do during the three strikes era."

"He actually got LIFE for petty theft, we got him out after he had served 20," added Nash, who petitioned for Coe's release.

Coe was also convicted of burglary in Illinois in 1997, and had to register as a sex offender after being convicted of attempted rape as a teenager back in the '70s, according to the NY Daily News.

While in prison, Coe, now 59, said he found God and love. He’s engaged to Vickie Vines, the woman whose purse he was holding while meeting stars at the Dolby Theatre Sunday (and Denzel Washington’s biggest fan).

"Change is possible," Coe told ABC 7. "It's a sad day to be in prison for 20 years and not be able to be a dad, granddad to your children. 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."

Coe said he and Vines are set to tie the knot in California this summer. Hopefully Denzel can make it!