From Hannibal Lecktor in Manhunter to media magnate Logan Roy in HBO's Succession, Brian Cox has made his name as an actor of unparalleled distinction and versatility. We are familiar with him on screen, but few know of his extraordinary life story. Growing up in Dundee, Scotland, Cox lost his father when he was just eight years old and was brought up by his three elder sisters in the aftermath of his mother's nervous breakdowns and ultimate hospitalization. After joining the Dundee Repertory Theatre at the age of 15, you could say the rest is history — but that is to overlook the enormous effort that has gone into the making of the legend we know today.
Brian Cox has produced one of the funniest, most rip-roaring, irreverent and candid showbusiness memoirs this season, full of lively mockery ... Cox has a wonderful eye and ear for the absurd ... Cox’s book is like a transcription of a pub or after-dinner monologue: clever, perceptive, wandering back and forth chronologically ... Cox hops from subject to subject, amplifying themes, picking up where he left off. There are lots of asides and digressions, as in the best talk. 'We touched on it before' is a typical phrase. It is loose, baggy, brilliant.
This volume is simply a delight, so much so that it’s tempting to consume it in one sitting. It’s snarky and cutting in a sometimes take-no-prisoners way as befits a waif brought up poor on the hardscrabble streets of Dundee, Scotland, but almost always funny ... Although Cox begins with his birth and family, he soon eludes chronology in favor of a nimbler narrative that more resembles a late-night monologue delivered at a favorite pub. It is chockablock with sharply etched portraits of all the names in lights ... Cox is not shy about expressing his opinions ... Cox is just as tough on himself—well, almost as tough—as he is on others ... Cox is possessed of something unexpected, something rarely found in the memoirs of entertainers, something that for want of a better word can only be called wisdom ... Mesmerizing.
I was desperate for tidbits to tide me over during the long wait for Season 4 [of Succession. Well, there aren’t many ... Cox writes eloquently about his origins in Dundee, Scotland, as the youngest of five children ... At a time when theater, the fabulous invalid, is straitjacketed by the pandemic, it’s heartening and a little wistful-making to have it recalled in all its messy midcentury glory ... Cox, who prefers cannabis to drink, can ramble on a bit. If times ever get lean again, it’s easy to imagine him doing bedtime stories for a sleep app ... Like many actors, Cox treads more nimbly on the boards than in his personal life ... On the page, at least, he is present, lively and pouring forth, though the hints of his distinctive burr may send you heading for the audiobook instead.