Learn more about Brian Cox's career ahead of 'Long Day's Journey into Night'

Brian Cox returns to the West End in 2024 to star in director Jeremy Herrin's highly anticipated revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

Brian Cox had an incredible star turn on the gripping TV drama Succession, and he's now taking the opportunity to return to the West End stage. From March 2024, he stars in Eugene O’Neill’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Long Day’s Journey into Night.

Jeremy Herrin directs Cox in this revival at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London, along with an all-star cast: Patricia Clarkson (Oscar-nominated for Pieces of April), Alex Lawther (The End of the F---ing World), Daryl McCormack (movies Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, and The Lesson), and Louisa Harland (Derry Girls).

Ahead of Cox’s exciting return to the West End, get to know the actor’s full career on stage and screen.

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Brian Cox’s beginnings

Brian Cox was born in 1946 in Dundee, Scotland. His parents were working class and, following his father’s death from pancreatic cancer when Cox was eight years old, his older sisters helped bring him up.

Cox nurtured his passion for the stage at Dundee Repertory Theatre, and he left aged 17 to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Brian Cox on stage

Cox’s earliest experience of theatre was aged 14 at Dundee Rep. He also performed in the first show at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, The Servant O’ Twa Maisters, in 1965. He then played the title role in Peer Gynt at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1967 and made his West End debut later that year, playing Orlando in As You Like It at London’s Vaudeville Theatre.

That impressive West End performance sparked Cox’s long run of Shakespearean roles with both the National Theatre and the RSC – from Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, and The Taming of the Shrew to King Lear and Richard III. In fact he first played the Duke of Burgundy to Laurence Olivier’s Lear, in 1983, then graduated to the title role in 1990.

But he performed numerous other works too, including several productions at the Royal Court, such as In Celebration, Cromwell, and Hedda Gabler. In 1984, he starred in Ron Hutchinson’s Rat in the Skull and went on to win the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a New Play.

He also starred in Danton’s Death at the National, and in 1985, he made his Broadway and off-Broadway debuts – in Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude and the transfer of Rat in the Skull. Cox won his second Olivier for Titus Andronicus in 1988.

Cox is a musical actor, too, playing Harold Hill in The Music Man at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 1994. He returned to Broadway in 1997 with St Nicholas, and then with Yasmina Reza’s modern classic Art.

The 2000s saw Cox back at the Royal Court with Conor McPherson’s Dublin Carol, and then premiering Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘N’ Roll at the Royal Court and on Broadway. He starred in another McPherson play, The Weir, at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014, took The Great Society to Broadway in 2019, and most recently starred as Bach in new play The Score at the Theatre Royal Bath earlier this year.

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Brian Cox in film

Cox made his film debut playing Leon Trotsky in the 1971 movie Nicholas and Alexandra. He then starred in the film adaptation of theatre production In Celebration in 1975. He came to wider public attention in 1986 with his chilling performance as Dr Hannibal Lecktor in the Michael Mann thriller Manhunter.

Roles followed in big Hollywood movies like the adventure film Prince of Jutland, historical dramas Rob Roy and Braveheart, sci-fi Chain Reaction, thrillers The Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss the Girls, sports drama The Boxer, and comedy Rushmore – all cementing Cox’s screen presence and sheer range.

He was critically acclaimed for his performance as a paedophile in L.I.E. in 2001, earning a Satellite Award and nominations for the Independent Spirit Award and AFI Award.

In 2002, he took a key role in the film that kicked off a massive franchise: The Bourne Identity. He played CIA Deputy Director Ward Abbott, who appears again in the 2004 sequel The Bourne Supremacy. Cox also joined the X-Men universe in 2003, playing the villainous William Stryker in X2.

Subsequent films included the ancient epic Troy, Woody Allen’s Match Point, David Fincher’s thriller Zodiac, a big-screen Coriolanus directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In 2017 he played the title role in Churchill.

Most recently, he starred opposite Kate Beckinsale in The Prisoner’s Daughter, and he’s leading a new horror comedy, The Parenting, alongside Edie Falco and Lisa Kudrow.

Brian Cox on TV

Cox’s first TV appearance was in 1968 in the BBC anthology series Theatre 625. He then played Henry II in medieval dramatisation The Devil’s Crown in 1978, followed by Laurent LeClaire in Thérèse Raquin. He guest-starred in the likes of Red Dwarf and Inspector Morse.

Numerous TV roles followed, including the closeted father of a gay man in The Lost Language of Cranes, which earned Cox a BAFTA nomination in 1993. He also won acclaim for playing Hermann Göring in the 2000 docudrama Nuremberg, about the trials of the same name. Cox was nominated for a Golden Globe and won his first Emmy Award.

In 2001, Cox played Harry Moon in TV sitcom Frasier and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor. In 2006, he took on a very different part as impresario Jack Langrishe in TV Western Deadwood.

He continued to play key guest roles in everything from Doctor Who and A Touch of Cloth to Shetland and Penny Dreadful. Cox also starred in the adaptation of hit novel The Slap in 2015 and in the BBC’s War & Peace in 2016.

But perhaps his most enduring role is that of Logan Roy in Succession. From 2018-23, Cox played the towering patriarch who manipulated and abused his unfortunate children and potential successors to his media empire.

The HBO series has won countless awards, with Cox himself winning a Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble, and being nominated for multiple Emmy Awards.

Cox’s most recent project is a more lighthearted one: acting as the host – and antagonist – in the James Bond-themed competition show 007: Road to a Million.

It will be thrilling to see him back in action, playing another intimidating father figure in Long Day’s Journey into Night, in Jeremy Herrin’s highly anticipated West End revival.

Don’t miss out: book Long Day’s Journey into Night tickets on London Theatre.

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