Beyond the Boardroom: A Glimpse into the Personal Lives of Succession’s Characters


Beyond the Boardroom: A Glimpse into the Personal Lives of Succession’s Characters

The worldwide sensation series is Succession. This HBO Max series has been a roaring success for four seasons. Its script filled with twists, profanity-laden dialogues, lavish cars, and houses… it’s about watching the rich being rich and striving to become even richer.

Succession has managed to captivate millions of viewers, to the point where no other series on the platform has achieved such success. Not even Game of Thrones has garnered the same audience as this series, which is on its way to becoming television history.

For this reason, many people wonder about the actors who bring these fascinating characters to life in real life. They all have names and personal lives that are quite intriguing. Some are siblings of famous actors, while others are actually a couple. Let’s take a look at all of them; some may surprise you.

Brian Cox (Logan Roy)

Brian Cox in a studio photograph

The patriarch of the family, the founder of the multibillion-dollar company Waystar Royco, is the reason why the series Succession stands tall. He is everything, not his children. As an actor, his life is quite intriguing.

Brian Cox, 76 years old, was born in Dundee, Scotland, the same place as his fictional counterpart in Succession. While Logan Roy despises his hometown, Cox feels the complete opposite. However, his journey to success was not easy.

Brian Cox’s father, Charles McArdle Campbell Cox, passed away from pancreatic cancer when Cox was just 8 years old. During that time, his mother, Mary Ann Guillerline, began experiencing mental health crises, leaving Cox to be primarily raised by his three older sisters.

Cox has mentioned that he sought ways to escape the reality of these hardships, which led him to pursue acting. “I think it’s a childhood defense mechanism that made me say, ‘I can’t deal with this, so I’ll absent myself,'” he states.

At the age of 15, after dropping out of school, Cox landed a job running errands at the Dundee Repertory Theater. His tasks usually involved moving set pieces and scrubbing the floor. He felt comfortable in the theater, where he sometimes even slept, according to The Telegraph.

Two years later, he earned a scholarship to the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, marking the official start of his acting career. He became a accomplished Shakespearean actor, praised for his performances at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, particularly for his portrayal of King Lear.

As an interesting fact, Cox portrayed Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter (1988), five years before Anthony Hopkins portrayed the cannibalistic serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Manhunter was based on Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, which takes place before the events of the film.

Regarding the anecdote mentioned earlier, an actor from the series stated that Brian Cox had earned the right to “say whatever the fuck he wants.” Now, let’s reveal who said it.

Kieran Culkin (Roman Roy)

As you can see from the photo, Kieran Culkin is on the right, that dark-haired guy who bears a striking resemblance to the person on the left. Yes, you saw it correctly, his brother is Macaulay Culkin, the true child prodigy of the 90s.

The actor, now 40 years old (born on September 30, 1982), made his debut alongside his famous brother Macaulay Culkin in the beloved 90s Christmas classic Home Alone, and he successfully transitioned from a child star to a full-fledged actor throughout the decade.

He has become a regular presence on television, with appearances in series such as Fargo, Frasier, and, of course, Succession.

Kieran Culkin is one of eight siblings. Both he and his seven siblings, Shane, Dakota, Macaulay, Quinn, Christian, Rory, and stepsister Jennifer, were raised in an artistic environment from a young age.

The children were encouraged to pursue acting by their father, Christopher “Kit” Culkin, who, along with his sister Bonnie Bedelia, was also an actor.

As for the question of why Kieran Culkin is estranged from his family, in his 2007 memoir, Macaulay, Kieran’s famous brother, stated that their father was “physically and mentally abusive” towards him and that he had to emancipate himself from his parents.

Although Kieran insists that he didn’t have the same “crazy, negative, horrible, and traumatic experiences as a child actor” as Macaulay, he did state in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that his father “was not a good person and probably not a good father either.”

As for the Culkin family, they experienced a tragedy in 2008 when Kieran’s sister Dakota, whom the family referred to as Cody, tragically passed away at the age of 29 in a car accident.

“It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me in my life, and there’s no way to sweeten it,” Kieran said in the same interview with The Hollywood Reporter, and he added, “It will always be devastating. I still cry about it. I’ll think of something funny she did and it makes me laugh, and then I cry.”

His life is not only marked by the death of a sister but also a stepsister: Jennifer Adamson also passed away in 2000, also at the age of 29.

Sarah Snook (Shiv Roy)

Sarah Snook is an Australian actress known for her performances in films such as “Sisters of War,” “These Final Hours,” “Steve Jobs,” and “Predestination.”

Born on December 1, 1987, in Adelaide, she developed an interest in performing arts at a young age. After receiving a scholarship to Scotch College, she attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting.

Since then, Snook has appeared in numerous films and television shows in Australia. She has also been involved in various international projects.

Known for her enigmatic gaze, she has become one of the most prominent faces in Australian cinema, alongside Nicole Kidman.

In 2016, Sarah Snook made a guest appearance in the episode titled “Men Against Fire” of the British science fiction series ‘Black Mirror’. That’s where many people first took notice of her.

So far, the talented actress has received numerous awards, including the AACTA Award for Best Actress for her role in “Predestination”. Snook is a versatile woman. In addition to acting, she is passionate about photography.

Jeremy Strong (Kendall Roy)

Jeremy Strong, born on December 25, 1978, is an American actor known for his role as Kendall Roy in the HBO television series Succession, but it is not his first appearance on the small and big screen.

Strong began his acting career at the Yale School of Drama. After briefly studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, he performed in various plays at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

His first performance outside of Broadway was in John Patrick Shanley’s play Defiance in 2006. He made his Broadway debut portraying Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich, in the 2008 revival of A Man for All Seasons. That same year, he made his film debut in Humboldt County.

Since then, Strong has appeared in several acclaimed films, portraying real-life characters such as John George Nicolay in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012), Lee Harvey Oswald in Peter Landesman’s Parkland (2013), James Reeb in Ava DuVernay’s Selma (2014), and Jerry Rubin in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020).

As a curiosity, the American press tried to link the actor romantically with Anne Hathaway due to their close friendship and photos together, but it was later clarified that they are just good friends after starring as husband and wife in the film Armageddon Time.

Jeremy Strong, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of Kendall, has garnered much attention for his intense method acting and his efforts to fully immerse himself in the role. That’s where Brian Cox uttered these candid words: “It’s fucking annoying. Don’t get me started on it.”

Brian Cox has clarified that he believes Strong is a talented actor, but “he’s also exhausting for the rest of us at times. But we put up with it because we love him.” As for Strong, he is not offended by Cox’s remarks, stating that he has earned the right to say “whatever the fuck he wants.”

Alan Ruck (Connor Roy)

The oldest brother of the Roys is actually much older than his siblings Kendall, Roman, and Shiv. That’s why the life and story of this 66-year-old actor is one that could fill a couple of books.

Alan Ruck is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Ferris Bueller’s best friend, Cameron Frye. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, keep reading, you must be very young.

Alan was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1956, where he graduated from high school and studied at the University of Illinois, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Drama in 1979.

In 1983, Alan made his big-screen debut in the film Bad Boys (1983) alongside Sean Penn.

It wasn’t until 1986 that Alan helped create one of the most iconic characters in cinema. He skyrocketed to stardom with his role in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), portraying Cameron Frye, Ferris’s best friend (played by Matthew Broderick).

Frye quickly became a fan favorite and is considered one of the standout characters in the entire film. Thanks to his talent and portrayal of Cameron Frye, Alan would enjoy a long career in both film and television for years to come.

In the 1990s, Alan transitioned away from comedy and showcased his versatility as an actor, appearing in films such as Speed (1994) alongside Keanu Reeves, Star Trek: Generations (1994), and Twister.

Alan has also found success on television, with credits including the show Spin City (1996-2002) alongside Michael J. Fox and later Charlie Sheen. More recently, he has worked on the series The Exorcist (2016) for Fox.

Alan made an appearance in Episode 27 of the first season of The Loud House (2016), which earned him a nomination for the Behind the Voice Actors Award for Best Male Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role.

Nicholas Braun (Greg)

This actor is one of the lesser-known ones in the series, as his breakthrough as an actor came thanks to Succession, unlike the rest of the actors and actresses who were already famous before.

Nicholas Joseph Braun, born on May 1, 1988, is an American actor. He developed an interest in acting from a young age and began taking on minor roles in films and television shows.

He started with Sky High, released in 2005. But he is best known for his role in the HBO series Succession, for which he received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2020.

He has also appeared in several films, such as Sky High (2005), Princess Protection Program (2009), Red State (2011), Prom (2011), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Date and Switch (2014), How to Be Single (2016), and Zola (2021).

This actor has his whole career ahead of him, and his success in Succession is sure to lead him to even greater heights, with leading roles in major films. Undoubtedly, he is the great surprise of the series.

Matthew Macfadyen (Tom Wambsgans)

The husband of Shiv, the great character who is not a blood relative of Logan Roy. The addition, as many call him. The storyline of Tom Wambsgans in Succession is tremendous, and his performance is a delight. This actor rings a bell, doesn’t he?

David Matthew Macfadyen was born on October 17, 1974, in Norfolk, England. Due to his father’s occupation, Matthew Macfadyen and his family traveled frequently, so he grew up in places like England, Scotland, and Indonesia.

He attended Oakham School in Rutland, among many other schools. At the age of 17, he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

In 1995, he graduated and began working with the international theater company Cheek by Jowl. In 1996, he collaborated with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and played a significant role in William Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Macfadyen established himself as a successful theater actor before making his television debut in 1998.

After his television debut in 1998 in the ITV telefilm “Wuthering Heights”, Macfadyen appeared in television miniseries such as “Murder Rooms: Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes”, “Perfect Strangers”, and “The Way We Live Now”.

His big breakthrough came when he was cast as Tom Quinn in the British television drama series “Spooks” (known as “MI-5” in the United States).

Macfadyen made his film debut in 2000, playing the role of Nigel in the British comedy “Maybe Baby”. In 2005, he portrayed Fitzwilliam Darcy in the romantic film “Pride & Prejudice,” directed by Joe Wright. For his performance, he received a nomination for the London Film Critics’ Circle Award for British Newcomer of the Year.

In 2005, Macfadyen returned to the stage, playing the role of Prince Hal in William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” for the Royal National Theatre.

In 2007, he appeared in films such as “Grindhouse” and “Death at a Funeral.” In 2008, he had roles in three television series: “Ashes to Ashes,” “Little Dorrit,” and “Agatha Christie’s Marple: A Pocket Full of Rye.”

In 2009, he was cast as Joe Miller in the popular television series “Criminal Justice II.” The following year, he won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the series.

In 2010, he portrayed the Sheriff of Nottingham in the epic historical film “Robin Hood.” That same year, he appeared in a couple of television miniseries titled “The Pillars of the Earth” and “Any Human Heart.”

Six years later, Macfadyen was seen in a couple of television series, such as ‘The Enfield Haunting’ and ‘The Last Kingdom’. In 2016, he portrayed Winston Churchill’s son, Randolph Churchill, in the British drama television film ‘Churchill’s Secret’.

In 2017, he was cast as the renowned American financier and banker J.P. Morgan in the epic historical drama film ‘The Current War’.

However, it is his current role in Succession, where he portrays Shiv Roy’s husband, that truly stands out in Matthew Macfadyen’s career. Since ‘Pride and Prejudice’, he hadn’t had a role of such prominence and worldwide fame.

Alexander Skarsgård (Lukas Matsson)

Alexander Skarsgård, also known as Matsson, portrays the handsome and wealthy CEO of GoJo in the series. He has been involved in the world of cinema for almost four decades.

Skarsgård was born on August 25, 1976, in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the eldest son of actor Stellan Skarsgård.

At the age of seven, Skarsgård landed his first film role as Kalle Nubb in “Åke and His World,” thanks to a director who was a friend of his father’s.

In 1989, Skarsgård’s leading role in the Swedish television production “Hunden som log” (The Dog That Smiled) earned him praise and brought him recognition in Sweden at the age of 13. Uncomfortable with fame, he decided to stop acting at that young age.

At 19, Skarsgård applied to perform national service and served in the Swedish Armed Forces for 18 months in a unit called SäkJakt, which dealt with anti-sabotage and counter-terrorism operations in the Stockholm archipelago. After completing his service in 1996, he left Sweden and attended Leeds Metropolitan University in England for six months.

In 1997, he enrolled in a theater course at Marymount Manhattan College and moved to New York. It was there that he rediscovered his passion for acting.

Skarsgård returned to acting and landed his first role in the American comedy film “Zoolander” (2001).

He portrayed Brad Colbert in the miniseries “Generation Kill” (2008) and gained widespread recognition for his role as the vampire Eric Northman in the television series “True Blood”.

After appearing in films such as “Melancholia” (2011), “Battleship” (2012), and “The Legend of Tarzan” (2016), Skarsgård starred in the dramatic series “Big Little Lies” (2017-2019) as an abusive husband, a role for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Critics’ Choice Television Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Indeed, Alexander Skarsgård has continued to make a mark in various films and series. He appeared in movies such as “Long Shot” (2019), “Godzilla vs. Kong” (2021), “Passing” (2021), “The Northman” (2022), and “Infinity Pool” (2023). He also portrayed Randall Flagg in the miniseries “The Stand” (2020-2021).

However, his portrayal of tech mogul Lukas Matsson in “Succession” (2021-2023) is truly revitalizing his career. His performance as an unhinged millionaire is remarkable and has garnered significant acclaim.

J. Smith-Cameron (Gerri Kellman)

J. Smith-Cameron, born on September 7, 1957, is an American actress known professionally as Jean Isabel Smith. She has spent the majority of her career in theater but later ventured into film and television.

In Succession, her portrayal of Gerri stands out as the only character who brings a sense of sanity to the chaotic household. She starts off as acting president and later becomes a key member of the Board of Directors. After Brian Cox and Alan Ruck, J. Smith-Cameron is the most senior actress on the entire cast list.

J. Smith-Cameron made her Broadway debut in August 1982, replacing Mia Dillon in the role of Babe Botrelle in “Crimes of the Heart.” Her other Broadway credits include “Night Must Fall” (1999), “Tartuffe” (2002), and “After the Night and the Music” (2005).

Later on, Smith-Cameron shifted her focus to film and television to prioritize her family. She portrayed seven different characters in the three main series of the “Law & Order” franchise.

Indeed, J. Smith-Cameron gained significant recognition in television when she portrayed Janet Talbot, the mother of a death row inmate, in Sundance TV’s “Rectify” for four seasons.

And, of course, for her role as Gerri Kellman in HBO’s “Succession.” For the latter, she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2022.

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Journalist specialized in technology, entertainment and video games. Writing about what I'm passionate about (gadgets, games and movies) allows me to stay sane and wake up with a smile on my face when the alarm clock goes off. PS: this is not true 100% of the time.

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