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Brian Cox was born on June 1, 1946 in Dundee, Scotland. He is an Emmy and two-time Olivier Award-winning actor, known for his film roles in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, RED, The Bourne Supremacy, Troy, X-Men 2, The Bourne Identity, Super Troopers, and Braveheart.
Cox attended St. Mary's Forebank Primary School and St. Michael's Junior Secondary School in Dundee and would join the Dundee Repertory Theatre at the age of 14. After working there a few years, he auditioned successfully for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, began his training at the age of 17, and graduated in 1965.
He continued to work in theatre for such organisations as the Lyceum in Edinburgh and the Birmingham Rep, and he finally made his West End debut as Orlando in Shakespeare’s As You Like It in June 1967. He has also worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre in the UK; in the 1980s, he won two Olivier Awards for his performances in Rat in the Skull (1984) and Titus Andronicus (1988). He also received two additional Olivier nominations that decade for Misalliance (1984) and Fashion (1988). Other acclaimed UK stage roles of Cox's include Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, the titular role in King Lear, and the role of Jack in The Weir.
Cox made his Broadway debut in February 1985, starring as Edmund Darrell in Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude at the Nederlander Theatre. His other Broadway credits include Art, in which he assumed the role of Marc in September 1998; the 2007 premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll; and the role of Coach in the 2011 revival of That Championship Season. He first appeared off Broadway in May 1985, reprising his performance as Inspector Nelson at The Public Theater. He would return to the Off-Broadway theatre scene for Primary Stages in 1998, winning a Lucille Lortel Award for his performance in Conor McPherson’s St. Nicholas.
Cox has appeared regularly in film and television since 1965. His feature film debut was in 1971’s Nicholas and Alexandra, and he would go on to play Dr. Hannibal Lecktor in 1986’s Manhunter. He shot to superstardom in the mid-1990s thanks to roles in Rob Roy and Braveheart in 1995, and his most notable film credits since then include Super Troopers (2001), L.I.E. (2001), The Bourne Identity (2002), The Ring (2002), X-Men 2 (2003), Troy (2004), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Red Eye (2005), Zodiac (2007), The Escapist (2008), RED (2010), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), RED 2 (2013), and Churchill (2017). In television, Cox won an Emmy Award (and received a Golden Globe nomination) in 2001 for his portrayal of Hermann Göring in Nuremberg, and he received a further Emmy nomination in 2002 for his guest role on Frasier. His many TV credits also include HBO’s Succession, the BBC’s War & Peace, NBC’s The Slap, and HBO’s Deadwood.
Cox returned to the Broadway stage from September 6 through November 30, 2019, to star as Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Shenkkan’s The Great Society, a sequel to All The Way, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.