Ronny Cox

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Ronny Cox
Ronny Cox 2019.jpg
Cox in 2019
Born (1938-07-23) July 23, 1938 (age 82)
Alma materEastern New Mexico University
  • Actor
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • storyteller
Years active1972–present
Mary Cox
(m. 1960; died 2006)

Daniel Ronald Cox (born July 23, 1938) is an American actor, singer, songwriter, and storyteller. His best-known roles include Drew Ballinger in Deliverance (1972), George Apple in Apple's Way (1974–75), Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil in Beverly Hills Cop (1984) and Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Richard "Dick" Jones in RoboCop (1987), Vilos Cohaagen in Total Recall (1990), and Tom Kimball in Captain America (1990). Cox is also active as a musician, performing over 100 times per year at festivals and theaters each year as of 2012.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Cox, the third of five children, was born in Cloudcroft, New Mexico, the son of Lounette (née Rucker) and Bob P. Cox, a carpenter who also worked at a dairy.[2][3] He grew up in Portales, New Mexico. Cox met his wife Mary when she was in the fifth grade and he was in the seventh grade, and they married in 1960 and have two children.[4] Cox graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 1963 with a double major in theater and speech correction. Mary died in 2006, 50 years to the day of their first date. Cox often talks about her during his music performances.[4][5]

Acting career[edit]

As an actor, Cox made his debut in the acclaimed 1972 film, Deliverance. In one scene, he plays the instrumental "Dueling Banjos" on his guitar with a banjo-playing mountain boy, played by child actor Billy Redden. He was hired for the role because he could play the guitar.[6] Cox published his autobiography in 2012, recounting his experiences making the film.[7]

In 1974–1975, Cox starred in the short-lived family-oriented series entitled Apple's Way, created by Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons. He also appeared as Mr. Webb in a television production of Our Town.[8] In 1977, he appeared in the episode "Devil Pack" from the series Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected.[9] In 1984, 12 years after Deliverance, Cox again played a member of a small group of men who are lost, this time in the Nevada desert, and being chased by bloodthirsty locals in the low-budget film Courage.[10]

One of Cox's roles was that of Dr. John Gideon during the final season of the television medical drama St. Elsewhere. Cox's character was mooned by Dr. Donald Westphall (Ed Flanders) at the end of the third episode of season six.

Cox's first role in a big-budget film came in 1984 as Lt. Andrew Bogomil in Beverly Hills Cop, and he returned to the role in Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987.

That same year, Cox appeared in the Paul Verhoeven film RoboCop as corporate arch-villain Richard "Dick" Jones.[11]

In 1990, Cox co-starred as Los Angeles Police Chief Roger Kendrick in the short-lived Cop Rock, presenting a striking physical resemblance to the real-world incumbent Chief Daryl Gates.[citation needed] He also appeared as the antagonistic Mars Administrator Vilos Cohaagen in Total Recall the same year.

Cox made a notable appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation as the "efficient but impersonable"[citation needed] Captain Edward Jellico in the two-part episode "Chain of Command". He also played Henry Mason, the father of Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross) on Desperate Housewives.

In 1997, Cox portrayed the fictional President of the United States Jack Neil in the movie Murder at 1600. Cox also portrayed John Ramsey in the 2000 TV film Perfect Murder, Perfect Town and Senator/Vice President Robert Kinsey in Stargate SG-1.

Cox had a role in The Starter Wife. He played Pappy McCallister, the husband of Molly Kagan's best friend Joan.

Cox occasionally has done animation work, lending his voice to the Tyrusian deserter Doc in Invasion America and Senator McMillan in Todd McFarlane's Spawn.

Cox guest-starred in an episode of Matthew Perry's 2011 series Mr Sunshine.[12]

Cox played Walter Kenney in Dexter, season six, episode three ("Smokey and the Bandit").[13]

Cox guest-starred in an episode of Diagnosis Murder entitled "The Pressure to Murder", episode 9, season three.

In 2018, Cox played Gideon Claybourne on season 6 of Nashville.

Music career[edit]

Cox in 2006

Despite having a successful acting career, Cox said that music now comes first in his life. He turns down about 90% of the acting jobs he is offered to play over 100 shows at festivals and theaters each year.[14][1] He is accompanied by his band.[15] Cox also leads a musical tour to Ireland each year.[16]



Year Title
2014 Ronny Cox Live in Concert – The Official Bootleg
2012 Ronny, Rad and Karen
2009 Songs... with Repercussions
2008 How I Love Them Old Songs...
2006 Ronny Cox at the Sebastiani Theatre
2006 Ronny Cox: Songs, Stories... and Out & Out Lies (DVD)
2004 Ronny Cox Live
2002 Cowboy Savant
2000 Acoustic Eclectricity
1993 Ronny Cox


  • Cox, Ronny. Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew. Decent Hill, 2012. ISBN 978-1-936085-58-3 (paperback); 9781936085590 (hardcover); 9781936085606 (eBook)

Further reading[edit]

  • Voisin, Scott Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59393-342-5


External links[edit]