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Oscar Show-Stealer 'Gary From Chicago' Got Out of Prison Just 3 Days Before Academy Awards, Served 20 Years

by Antoinette Bueno 2:02 PM PST, February 28, 2017
Playing Oscar Show-Stealer 'Gary From Chicago' Got Out of Prison Just 3 Days Before Academy Awards, Served 20 Years

It turns out there's a lot more to know about Oscar sensation Gary Alan Coe than his charming Oscars appearance.

Gary and his fiancee, Vicky, stole the show at the 2017 Oscars on Sunday, when host Jimmy Kimmel surprised the tourists by bringing them up close and personal with A-listers at the ceremony. The two met Nicole Kidman, Ryan Gosling and Mahershala Ali among other celebs seated in the front row, and later, Denzel Washington, who jokingly married them.

Interestingly enough, "Gary From Chicago" has quite the past.

WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel Brings Unsuspecting Tourists to the Oscars and It's Honestly Incredible

Just three days prior to the ceremony, Gary, 59, was released after serving 20 years in a California prison for multiple felonies. He was also convicted for attempted rape and is listed on the California sex-offenders database.

Gary's attorney, public defender Karen Nash, posted about her client on Facebook on Monday, and clarified that he served the 20 years for petty theft, but was never convicted of rape.

"Gary was not sentenced on a rape charge! He does not have a rape conviction," Nash wrote. "He served 20 years for petty theft. He has a prior from 1975 for attempted rape when he was a teenager."

Nash also shared a photo of her and Gary together, and said she worked for years on his case. Nash said Gary got a life sentence for stealing perfume in 1997.

"I spent this afternoon laughing and crying with Gary and Vicky," she wrote. "For those of you who missed it -- I spent years working on Gary's case. He got a life sentence for stealing perfume in 1997, and we finally won release this year. He got out on Friday, and was sightseeing with his lovely fiancee Vicky. If you watched the Oscars, you know the rest. #GaryFromChicago #PublicDefender."

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Gary's long sentence for petty theft was due to the three-strike rule, which requires harsher sentences for convicted felons with past serious or violent felony convictions on their records. The CDCR tells ET they first received Gary in October 1994 for Grand Theft Exceeding $400. After serving two years, he was paroled in late 1996. However, he was received back from parole in early 1997 for Petty Theft with priors, and subsequently sentenced to 25 years to life as a third striker.

In early 2017, Gary was re-sentenced, and his sentence was reduced from 25 years to six years. Per pre-sentencing credits, and time served, he was fully discharged on Feb. 23 upon completing his term.

WATCH: 2017 Oscars -- The Best, Worst and Weirdest Moments of the Night

Sources close to the production team behind the Oscars tell ET that producers selected tourists at random on Hollywood Boulevard for the sketch. One source added that they picked whomever they felt looked interesting, inviting them on a tour bus promising a special look at a costume exhibit at the Dolby Theatre. The sketch was not staged, nor pre-arranged.

ET has also learned from another source that broad security measures were in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved at the Dolby Theatre during the tourist sketch.

Gary and Vicky -- as well as other tourists from the sketch -- were set to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday, although a rep for the show told ET, "We canceled the appearance after producers made the creative decision to focus on other topics."

Watch the video below to see Gary's memorable moment at the Oscars.

-- Reporting by Tracie De La Rosa

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