Scottish actor Cox, 77, played media mogul Logan Roy in HBO’s critically acclaimed drama about a powerful businessman choosing which of his children will succeed him when he retires.
Fans have long speculated that the character was based on News Corp boss Murdoch, with Succession creator Jesse Armstrong admitting in August that an early version of the script was directly about the Australian business magnate. Succession came to an end earlier this year after four seasons.
Discussing Murdoch’s decision to retire aged 92 – appointing his 52-year-old son Lachlan over his siblings Elisabeth and James – Cox told the BBC (via The Guardian): “I think he’s been watching too much Succession, clearly.”
In Armstrong’s show, Logan’s three children, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Roman (Kieran Culkin), battle it out in a bid to succeed their father and take over his Waystar RoyCo media empire.
Cox went on to describe Murdoch as “probably the most tenacious human on God’s earth”, adding: “He’s just kept on going but I think eventually there comes a point when he has to stop and it had to happen and it’s happened.”
The actor theorised that Murdoch’s mental health must be in “pretty good” shape even if the workload was likely “too much” for him at 92.
Cox was critical of his “generalised” departing speech, however, in which Murdoch said that Lachlan was “absolutely committed to the cause” of defending freedom of speech.
“Freedom? Freedom for what?” Cox asked. “Freedom to impose his ideas on other people, freedom to kind of manipulate certain things in certain directions? I mean, he’s certainly done a lot of that in his life.”
Eldest son Lachlan will take over from his father after the companies’ annual meetings take place in mid-November.
Murdoch said he will remain engaged in the companies as chairman emeritus of both. In a letter to staff, he said “the time is right for me to take on different roles”.
“For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change,” Murdoch wrote to his employees. “Our companies are in robust health, as am I.
“Our opportunities far exceed our commercial challenges. We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years – I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them.”
The businessman also criticised the “elites” – and the media “in cahoots” with them – as he promised to “be involved every day in the contest of ideas”.