Brian Cox’s Real Wife Playing Sally Anne in Succession Is an Easter Egg Worthy of Logan Roy
The following story contains spoilers for Succession Season 4, Episode 9, titled “Church and State.”
PART OF what makes HBO’s Succession so great is that each and every character in the show—for better and for worse—feels completely, 100% like a real person. And that leads to situations that feel like real situations. And moments that feel like real moments. And when something like that is fleshed out so strongly, it can lead to revelations we never thought we would see, such as four of Logan Roy’s previous wives and mistresses sitting together in unity at his funeral.
Such was one of many memorable scenes in Season 4, Episode 9, “Church and State.” Maybe the fact that it was only after he was finally gone that four specific people who were once close to the miserable Logan came together in an optimistic moment of peace. Maybe that was a real piece of symbolism. Maybe that means something for what’s to come with the Roy children.
But it sure doesn’t seem like it, as Kendall, Shiv, and Roman (we’ll leave Connor out of this for now) have all gotten even more like their horrible father in the days since his passing, cutting each other’s throats and stabbing each other in the back with any chance they could get in the days since his surprise death while fishing his phone out of a toilet aboard a private jet.
One of Logan’s former mistresses who appeared in the episode was Sally Anne, a character who has not appeared before, but has been mentioned numerous times; a powerful wind gust of an affair that he seemingly had decades earlier. Many thought we’d never see Sally Anne or even get more than the few mentions of her story in passing (another sign of the show’s confident, strong writing), but for a brief moment in “Church and State,” Succession became the Sally Anne show.
Who is Sally Anne in Succession?
Sally Anne’s presence—without any lines—is a rare moment of positivity in Succession. She appears alongside Caroline Collingwood (Logan’s second wife), who introduces her to both Marcia and Kerry, telling the recently deceased media magnate’s most recent wife and mistress that “Sally Anne was my Kerry.” We then see the four women, sitting together at Logan’s funeral, not fighting but rather bonding over the fact that they all connected to (and surely, one way or another, were hurt) the same cruel man who now is no longer around.
Seeing Caroline and Sally Anne together peacefully even leads the famously vicious Marcia (who earlier in the season without hesitation declared that she was “calling Kerry a taxi to the subway so she can go home to her little apartment” at Logan’s Wake) to hold hands with Kerry, who still clearly seems to be in some state of shock over Logan’s still-fresh death.
If you feel like going into the archives, Sally Anne was mentioned a handful of times in Succession before, too. In Season 2, when Logan was seemingly having an affair with his potential new CEO Rhea (played by Holly Hunter), she was referred to as “Sally Anne with the harp,” and Roman and Kendall later made reference to “Sally Anne and the Summer of Horses” when seemingly discussing Logan being smitten with someone he was seeing outside of his marriage. This could perhaps suggest that Sally Anne, like Rhea, was someone who worked with Logan in addition to having some semblance of a romantic connection.
Frank—who has mentioned over and over again how he’s worked alongside Logan for 40 years—counted the aftermath of Logan’s affair with Sally Anne in Season 3 as one of the worst things to ever hit Waystar-Royco. “There were the tabloid suicides. When we nearly went kablooey because of Argentina. The Tiananmen accommodations,” he says, before landing on the biggest one. “The black cloud after Sally Anne.”
Sally Anne is played by Brian Cox’s real-life wife, Nicole Ansari-Cox
Nicole Ansari-Cox, who has been married to Brian since 2002 and appears in Succession for the first time as the much-discussed Sally Anne, is a German-born actress with a lengthy resume of her own.
Ansari has appeared in shows like Law and Order and FBI, and has even co-starred with her husband before (on HBO too!), appearing in three episodes of the prestige cable giant’s legendary western hit Deadwood.
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.
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