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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 00:49 GMT
Honour for the first Hannibal
Brian Cox has played a range of villains and morose characters
Cox first learned acting as a stagehand in Dundee
Brian Cox, who has been made a CBE in the New Year Honours list, has become one of Britain's most respected character actors in a three-decades long career.

But while he has been able to master sadness and suffering, one of his most acclaimed roles came in 1986, with the big-screen debut of one of cinema's best-loved villains, Dr Hannibal Lecter.

Cox made his name in 1986's Manhunter, directed by Michael Mann, the film version of Thomas Harris' Red Dragon.

The film saw him play crazed psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter in compelling, understated style.

To many film fans, Cox's Lecter was the scariest. But he was not asked back to reprise the role for 1991's Silence Of The Lambs, which starred Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Cox's portrayal of "Hannibal The Cannibal" has been the most well-known part in an acting career lasting 30 years.
Cox has recently become a father
Cox is winning plaudits for his role in LIE

Cox was born on 1 June, 1946, in the Scottish city of Dundee.

He left school at 14, and apparently taught himself to read by listening to his sister's records and matching the words to those on the record sleeves.

He learnt acting while mopping the stage at a local theatre in Dundee and watching actors rehearsing.

He followed that up with a spell at drama school in London, then finding roles in theatre and television in the UK.

He found several parts, including the part of the revolutionary Leon Trotsky in the 1970s mini-series Nicholas and Alexander.

But big parts eluded him until he was 40, when he was spotted in a play and cast for Michael Mann's Manhunter.

Cox's career did not take off immediately, but by the early 1990s he was appearing in more Hollywood blockbusters: he played Argyle Wallace in Mel Gibson's swords-and-kilts epic Braveheart, as well as Liam Neeson's Rob Roy the same year.

Cox also took time to appear on British television in this period, appearing in episodes of sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf and Inspector Morse.

In 1996 he appeared in the crime thriller The Long Kiss Goodnight, starring Geena Davis, and followed it up with the gritty British drama The Boxer in 1997, playing an IRA hardman.
Cox in an episode of Red DWarf
The actor has also been seen in TV shows like Red Dwarf

In 1998 he stared as Professor Guggenheim in the black comedy Rushmore, and has cemented his Hollywood status with a part in the Matt Damon remake of The Bourne Identity in 2001.

But his most acclaimed part, recently has been as Big John Harrigan in this year's LIE, the story of paedophile who becomes a father figure to a teenage boy.

He has also appeared in Spike Jonze's critically lauded Adaptation.

In 2003 he will be seen in X Men 2, the sequel to the 2000 comic-book caper.

Cox has two sons: Alan, who starred in the 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes, from his 18-year marriage to Caroline Burt, who he divorced in 1986.

In early 2003 he had a son with long-term partner Nicole Ansari.



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