- Birth name:
- Walter Edward Cox
- Date of Birth:
- 29 March 1948 New Rochelle, New York, USA
- 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Walter Edward Cox was born on March 29, 1948 in New Rochelle, New York, but grew up in nearby Rye. His family consisted of his father, Joseph Parker Cox, who was a bandleader and pianist, a World War II veteran, and merchant, who suffered from multiple sclerosis. His mother, Alma Mary Cox (maiden name Court), was a reporter and merchant, who also worked for MGM studios. He also has an older brother, Joseph Jr., and three younger sisters, Tracy, Kerry and Shelley. His parents ran a clothing business in downtown Rye from the 1950s until the mid-1980s. Most of Bud's adolescence was spent caring for his father (who died in 1971) and sisters, reading and painting. As a teenager he was a local portrait painting prodigy and began taking acting lessons. He was educated in Catholic schools and graduated from Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle in 1966.His artistic interests developed into study at New York University, where he majored in design from 1967 to 1969. Soon afterward he began moonlighting between classes, continuing with his acting lessons, doing television commercials and working as a delivery boy in the soap opera "The Doctors" (1969). Eventually he quit college and started a popular nightclub comedy act. His first on-screen film role was a walk-on part in Up the Down Staircase (1967) and his first speaking part was in Sweet Charity (1969). It was while in a comedy review called "Free Fall", at Upstairs at the Downstairs in 1969, that he was "discovered" by director Robert Altman, who cast him in MASH (1970) and later that year in Brewster McCloud (1970). Also, around this time, he made appearances in such television shows as "The Governor & J.J." (1969), "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1969) and "Room 222" (1969).Soon after "Brewster McCloud" came the 1971 black comedy classic Harold and Maude (1971), which launched his career. In retrospect, Bud sees this role as a "blessing and a curse" in that it helped him to get noticed, but because of it he also found himself typecast. For his work in "Harold and Maude" Bud was awarded the Crystal Star for Best Actor from the Academy of Cinema in Paris, France, as well as receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for the film. Bud, at the time, was the youngest actor ever to be given an "Hommage" by the Cinematheque Francaise - joining the ranks of Charles Chaplin, Sir Laurence Olivier, Orson Welles and Buster Keaton. Bud was presented to the French by Jacques Tati.Off and on for about seven years, he lived in the mansion of the late Groucho Marx, in Bel Air, California. "He was my idol - I was his chorus boy - he had me singing for everyone from Mae West to S.J. Perelman to Bob Dylan". In 1979 he suffered a major life and career setback when he was almost killed in a car accident on the Hollywood Freeway. Consequently, he spent years enduring plastic surgery and physical therapy, the loss of his savings because of enormous hospital bills, a losing court case regarding the accident, and the disruption of his blooming career.Over the course of his career Bud has studied acting with William Hickey, George Griffin, David Craig, Joan Darling, Stella Adler and at the HB Studios in New York. His memberships include The L.A. Classical Theatre Works (founding member), The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Cinematheque du Paris and The Directors Unit of the Actors Studio. He co-wrote and made his film directorial debut with Ted & Venus (1991) and has since immersed himself in voice-over work, radio and nightclub performances, theater, television and, primarily, independent film roles.