He said: “There were long periods when we had nothing. Not a bean. Yes, I’ll admit that it’s made me a little… canny with money.
The 75-year-old actor – who has Alan, 51, and Margaret, 44, with first wife Caroline Burt and Orson, 19, and Torin, 17, with spouse Nicole Ansari – admitted growing up with “nothing” has made him very aware of financial matters and he tries not to splash out on anything too “ostentatious”, even though he can afford to do so.
The ‘Succession’ actor recently wrote his autobiography, ‘Putting the Rabbit in the Hat’ and he admitted it was “hard” to revisit his childhood, although it gave him a new perspective on his mother’s struggles following his dad’s death when he was just eight years old.
“If I’m out for dinner with Torin, my youngest son, and he points to the $40 steak on the menu, I might direct him towards something that’s less ostentatious. He’ll say, ‘Dad, you can afford it.’ I say, ‘Yes, I can, but that’s not the point.’ “
“I knew he was ill, but at that age you don’t think anything bad is going to happen to your dad. Turned out he had cancer.
He said: “‘Putting everything down on page has been on my mind for a while, but it’s hard to go back and revisit tragedies like losing your dad so young.
“Even though their marriage had its problems, Dad’s death hit my mother hard. Physically, she was still there in the house, but over the next two or three years it became obvious that her brain couldn’t cope. She attempted suicide; she was eventually hospitalised… it was a nervous breakdown.
“Again, I was probably too young to know what was going on. It was only later that I started to piece things together.”
Despite the family struggles, Brian can see the positive side as it lead him to where he is today. He told Saga magazine: “The irony is, of course, that my father’s death and my mother’s breakdown became the catalysts for my own journey.
“Although I had sisters, I no longer had parents to look after me, so I became an independent spirit. I could do whatever I wanted. I could even be an actor.”