Uniontown native stars in Caddy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 28, 2007

UNIONTOWN &8212; Tony Cox is one of the most noticeable comedic actors in Hollywood, drawing big laughs against megastars like Jim Carrey in &8220;Me, Myself and Irene&8221; and Billy Bob Thorton in &8220;Bad Santa.&8221;

But before Cox became a silver screen familiar face, he entertained classmates and cousins growing up in Uniontown, a close-knit community Cox still calls home.

With the opening of &8220;Who&8217;s Your Caddy&8221; Friday night, Cox marks his 42nd feature film since moving to Hollywood, where he has worked backstage as a grip and driver and onscreen as a stuntman.

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In the new movie Cox, who was born Joseph Anthony Cox, plays the role of Big Willie, an assistant to the president of an exclusive country club.

Cox said he&8217;s enjoyed acting, praising his current project. A movie premier event was held on Monday, with guests Eddie Murphy and Magic Johnson in attendance.

A few laughs along the way

Cox was not born in Uniontown, but grew up there while being reared by his grandparents. He was a 1976 graduate of Robert C. Hatch, but his love of music and performing led him away from his roots in rural Alabama to the land of dreams on the west coast.

Cox said he had an interest in acting and decided to pursue that as a career after high school but was limited on acting classes available in the state.

Cox said with the support of Jemison and his grandmother he moved to California to work on fulfilling his dreams. An aunt and uncle of Cox lived in Hollywood and gave him a place to stay while he attended acting school. Cox said he worked odd jobs to support himself while in school.

Cox said getting his first start was troublesome in the beginning.

But Cox got his break, and his career has continued to excel since.

He said he has enjoyed many films and work he has done throughout his career.

Cox said working with Billy Bob Thornton was great.

Cox said he also enjoyed his role as Shonte Jackson in &8220;Me, Myself and Irene&8221; because he was challenged in the role from the start.

Cox said although he loves entertaining his fans, he is hopeful to land a dramatic role in the future.

In the future Cox said he aspires to be a film producer.

Cox said he also spends part of his free time looking for future projects.

Small town, big influence

The man Tony Cox is today had a lot to do with his childhood in Alabama, he said.

Lee Jemison, a lifetime friend and classmate of Cox, said he remembers childhood days in Uniontown growing up with Cox.

He said Cox&8217;s love for music was apparent from early childhood.

Jemison said Cox was also known throughout his school-age years for his love of milk.

A home-town honor

Cox said it&8217;s a great honor for his hometown to recognize him with Tony Cox Day. The day is held the first Monday in July each year, and Cox said he tries to take a trip home to Uniontown each year around that time.

Cox said that on his visits home he enjoys time with family and friends and homemade sweet potato pie from his cousin, Betty Joe Jemison.

Cox said when he visits he makes a special trip to Atlanta to visit his mother, Henrietta Penn, a Uniontown native. Penn graduated from Perry County Training School and Stillman College.

Cox said he has received support throughout his career from his hometown community.

Cox, 49, is married to another Uniontown native, Otelia Jones Cox. They have one child. Otelia Cox is a poetry writer. She recently completed a book of poems entitled &8220;The Truth About It.&8221;