‘It hangs over you your entire life’: Succession star Brian Cox admits he’s in ‘constant fear of becoming poor again’ after his ‘destitute’ childhood
Succession star Brian Cox has admitted he is in ‘constant fear of becoming poor again’ after experiencing extreme poverty as a child.
The Scottish actor, 76, branded money his ‘own personal demon’ and said his ‘destitute’ childhood – which at one point saw his mother down to her last £10 – ‘hangs over him throughout his entire life’.
He said: ‘I still have a fear that it’s all going to be taken away and I’ll end up in poverty again. It never leaves you.
‘It’s like the Damoclean sword that hangs over you throughout your entire life.
How The Other Half Live: Succession star Brian Cox has admitted he is in ‘constant fear of becoming poor again’ after experiencing extreme poverty as a child
‘I never really felt it much when I was young, I was a kid and just got on with it, I was literally surviving. But as I got older I’d look at that boy and think, my God, he survived, how did he do it? It’s still a mystery to me.’
The actor is now fronting a new two-part Channel 5 documentary, How The Other Half Live, which airs on Thursday and explores the wealth gap between the rich and the poor – as well as his own complicated relationship with money.
The Golden Globe-winning star said: ‘It’s [money] my own personal demon. After my father died, my mother discovered his bank had the sum of £10 in it. We were destitute.
‘My mother only had a widow’s pension, which would often run out before the end of the week. So I’d go to the fish and chip shop and ask if they had any scraps – the bits of batter at the bottom of the fryer – and take them home for us to eat.’
Honest: The actor, 76, branded money his ‘own personal demon’ in a new two-part Channel 5 documentary, How The Other Half Live (pictured in the show with model Caroline Derpienski)
Pictured: Brian with his father, who was a shopkeeper with socialist leanings who used to allow customers to take goods and pay for them later – causing a huge rift between his parents
Brian co-created the series because, after playing foul-mouthed billionaire media mogul Logan Roy in Sky’s hit drama Succession for four years, he wanted to investigate the growing wealth gap across the world, particularly in his homeland and his adopted country America.
The result takes him on a deeply personal journey that sees him go back to the Dundee home where his father met a premature death, leading to a childhood steeped in poverty after his mother had a breakdown.
He also visits the super-rich playground of Miami and the soup kitchens of New York.
Brian left home when he got a grant to study acting at renowned drama school LAMDA in London.
From rags to riches: ‘After my father died, my mother discovered his bank had the sum of £10 in it. We were destitute’
Describing money as ‘the tragedy of the world’, he said: ‘Wealth is becoming more concentrated in that top 1 per cent and the rest of the world is suffering.
‘When you play one of the richest men in the world you live that life for nine months of the year where you’re in a kind of cocoon, and I feel there’s an inequity that needs to be dealt with.
‘So this series comes very much from what I grew up with and what I saw, having been lower middle class and having a relatively happy childhood until my father passed away.
‘Many people don’t have the means by which they can achieve any kind of standard of living for themselves. Money is the tragedy of the world.’
Last month the actor spoke to The Daily Telegraph about finding success and wealth in Hollywood, saying although he is a TV star, he is not ‘one of them’ or a ‘multimillionaire’.
He said although money makes people safe it also makes them ‘guilty’, saying that everybody suffers from their exposure to money in some way.
As for leaving his four children inheritance money, Brian said he thinks his property will be divided amongst his offspring.
The actor admitted he doesn’t want any promise of inheritance to be too much of a ‘safety net’ for them and he still wants them to get out and ‘work their asses off’.
Brian shares his two eldest children – Alan, 52, and Margaret – with his ex-wife Caroline Burt, while he also has sons Orson, 20, and Torin, 18, with wife Nicole Ansari-Cox.
Brian Cox: How The Other Half Live airs on Thursday at 9pm on Channel 5
Passionate: The documentary explores the wealth gap between the rich and the poor – as well as his own complicated relationship with money (Brian pictured on Question Time last month)
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