“I don't see myself as the ‘Hunk of the Month.’” Pierce Brosnan
Ireland-born actor Pierce Brosnan received his first big break as handsome, mysterious, con-man/detective Remington Steele (1982-1987) in the NBC TV series with the same name. He was then selected to portray the luminous British super spy James Bond (Agent 007) in GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002). Other films include The Fourth Protocol (1987, with Michael Caine), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993, with Robin Williams), Dante's Peak (1997), Robinson Crusoe (1997), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and Laws of Attraction (2004). As for his upcoming films, Brosnan will star in Instant Karma, Seraphim Falls, Butterfly on a Wheel, Mexicali, and The Topkapi Affair, in which he will reprise his Thomas Crown role.
Brosnan was voted People Magazine’s "Sexiest Man Alive" in 2001. The 6' 1'' tall actor was also one of People (USA) magazine’s “The 50 Most Beautiful People in The World” (1996) and Orange 2001 film’s “Greatest British Film Actors Ever.”
Pierce Brosnan received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in December 1997. He became an American citizen in 2004, but still plans to keep his Irish citizenship. In 2003, Brosnan was awarded an honorary OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for his "outstanding contribution to the British film industry."
Childhood and Family:
"And certainly in those dark days, in the 50s in Ireland, if you were a single parent living in that society, you were somewhat shamed and stigmatized. I can certainly relate it to my parents, especially my mother. The old man took to the hills and my mother never saw him again and suddenly you are spoken about in the Sunday service in church, never directly but they would bring up the issue of being a single parent and of marriage falling apart." Pierce Brosnan
In Navan, country Meath, Ireland, Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born on May 16, 1953. His father, Thomas Brosnan, left the family before Pierce's first birthday (Pierce and his father later briefly reunited in 1986 during the filming of one of the last "Remington Steele" episodes). His mother, May, who went to London to train as a nurse, sent little Pierce to his maternal grandparents, Philip and Kathleen Smith. Both grandparents died when Pierce was 6 and he was passed around among relatives. At age 10, Pierce finally reunited with his mother and they relocated in Putney, London. Pierce’s mother later married a Scottish World War II veteran named Bill Carmichael.
After watching his first Bond movie, Goldfinger (1964), Pierce began interested in acting. He left school at age 15 and studied acting at The Drama Centre of London for three years (he later graduated from the prestigious MA program).
"I'm one of those guys who believes that you need a good, strong woman in your life." Pierce Brosnan
In 1970, Pierce Brosnan met actress Cassandra Harris (born on December 15, 1952) and they exchanged wedding vows in 1977. Brosnan remained Cassandra’s husband until her death in 1991 at age 39, after a 4-year battle with ovarian cancer. The couple has one son, Sean William (born in 1984). Brosnan also adopted two children from Cassandra’s previous marriage, son Christopher Harris (born in 1973; father: Dermot Harris) and Charlotte Harris (born in 1972; father: Dermot Harris).
In October 1999, Brosnan became engaged to American journalist Keely Shaye Smith (also a former model; born on September 25, 1964) and they married on August 4, 2001. Brosnan and Keely have two sons: Paris Beckett (born February 2001) and Dylan Thomas (born on January 13, 1997).
Tomorrow Never Dies
"Being an actor in Hollywood involves lots of things beyond acting. Charm really helps. And it's a good idea to incorporate a little Bond into all your dealings." Pierce Brosnan
Formerly working as a fire-eater with the circus and a commercial illustrator, Pierce Brosnan found a job as an assistant stage manager at the York Theatre Royal in York, England. He later signed up with an experimental London theater workshop and made his stage debut in a 1976 production of "Wait Until Dark." Brosnan’s theatrical breakthrough came in 1977 in Tennessee Williams’ British premiere of "Red Devil Battery Sign," in which he created the role of McCabe.
After several stage works, Brosnan subsequently appeared on television. He debuted with a starring role in the 1979 TV movie Murphy's Stroke and was spotted as a guest in an episode of the series "The Professionals" and "Hammer House of Horror" (both in 1980). Meanwhile, Brosnan appeared with tiny parts, sometimes unaccredited, in the big screen’s Resting Rough, The Carpathian Eagle, and The Mirror Crack'd. Brosnan also made his American TV debut playing the lead role of Rory O'Manion on the ABC historical-romance miniseries "The Manions of America" (1981), which was about a tempestuous Irishman who immigrates to the United States during the great famine of 1845. Afterward, Brosnan felt ready to leave England and packed for America to further his acting career.
Arriving in America, Brosnan scored his first breakout role as handsome, mysterious, con-man/private investigator Remington Steele on the NBC TV series of the same name. The series was widely received and Brosnan portrayed the title character from 1982 to 1987, opposite costar actress Stephanie Zimbalist. During his stint in the long-running series, Brosnan landed a starring role in his first US movie, writer-director John McTiernan's horror Nomads (1986) and costarred opposite Michael Caine in John Mackenzie's thriller The Fourth Protocol (1987), playing KGB agent Major Valeri Petrofsky.
Brosnan originally wanted to play James Bond in 1986, but couldn’t due to his contractual obligation to "Remington Steele" (1982). Brosnan later remarked, "It's a role better suited to someone who is in his 40s, old enough to have the confidence and the sophistication and strength to be able to stand there and just let the moment sit. Bond is a man with the greatest of confidence and playing that takes practice. In 1986, I think I was 33 or something like that and I still looked like a baby. Finally, I'm growing into this face of mine. That takes time."
Following the 1987 demise of "Remington Steele" (1982), Brosnan appeared in a series of movies that ultimately were box-office flops. He received roles in such films as Taffin (1988), The Deceivers (1988), Mister Johnson (1990), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Live Wire (1992) and Entangled (1993). He also continued acting on TV and was seen in "Noble House" (1988, miniseries), "Around the World in 80 Days" (1989, miniseries), The Heist (1989), Murder 101 (1991), Victim of Love (1991) and "Running Wilde" (1992, TV Series) "I had to make a living. I had the mortgage to pay; I had the school fees to pay. I had bread and butter to put on the table. You know your worth as an actor, but you have to get a job." Pierce Brosnan
In 1993, Brosnan costarred opposite Robin Williams and Sally Field in Chris Columbus' drama comedy film adopted from Anne Fine's novel, Mrs. Doubtfire, playing the romantic rival of Robin Williams. He also portrayed the lead role of UN agents Mike Graham in the TV action thriller Death Train (1993, a.k.a. Detonator) and its sequel, Night Watch (1995, a.k.a. Detonator II). In the made-for-TV movie, directed by David Jackson and based on Alistair MacNeill's novels, Brosnan costarred alongside Alexandra Paul.
"From '86 until the summer of last year, wherever I went, people would say, ‘You would have made a great James Bond! Weren't you going to be James Bond? You should have been, you could have been, you may have been.’ Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, it was like unfinished business in my life. I couldn't say no to it this time around." Pierce Brosnan
In 1994, Brosnan was selected to replace Timothy Dalton as James Bond in the very popular movie series. He subsequently found himself playing the coveted role of Ian Fleming's British super spy, Agent 007, in four James bond films: GoldenEye (1995, with Izabella Scorupco and Famke Janssen), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, with Michelle Yeoh and Teri Hatcher), The World Is Not Enough (1999, with Sophie Marceau and Denise Richards) and Die Another Day (2002, alongside Halle Berry).
"I know most actors say otherwise, but I like sex scenes. Bond was supposed to be this great lover, but I always found the love scenes in those movies a little dull. It's lovely to work out the fantasy of it all in celluloid and then go home to my wife." Pierce Brosnan
During his James Bond years, Brosnan also appeared in actress-director Barbra Streisand's romantic drama comedy The Mirror Has Two Faces (also starring Jeff Bridges) and Tim Burton's sci-fi action comedy Mars Attacks (with Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close and Annette Bening, both in 1996). He also starred opposite Linda Hamilton in Roger Donaldson's Dante's Peak and played the title role in Rod Hardy and George Miller's screen adaptation of Daniel Defoe's novel, Robinson Crusoe (both in 1997). He provided the voice for character King Arthur in Quest for Camelot and both produced and acted in Eugene Brady's The Nephew (both in 1998). The rest of the 1990s saw Brosnan portrayed titular characters in John McTiernan's remake of the Steve McQueen classic, The Thomas Crown Affair (alongside Rene Russo) and as the Canadian fur trapper turned conservationist in Richard Attenborough's Western biopic Grey Owl.
Brosnan became a tailor living in Panama, who becomes a spy for a British agent, in John Boorman's adaptation of John le Carré's novel, The Tailor of Panama (2001, alongside Geoffrey Rush). He then portrayed Desmond Doyle, a single dad raising three kids, in Bruce Beresford's family drama film based on a true story, Evelyn (2002), and played a New York City lawyer who falls in love with Julianne Moore's character in Peter Howitt's romantic comedy Laws of Attraction (2004). Meanwhile, on television, Brosnan hosted "Saturday Night Live" in May of 2001 and was “Punk’d” in March 2003.
In 2004, it was announced that Brosnan would no longer portray James Bond 007. However, he continued adding to his acting resume films like Brett Ratner's After the Sunset (2004) and writer-director Richard Shepard's drama comedy The Matador (2005). He also appeared on the London stage in Franco Zeffirelli's production of "Filumena."
As for his upcoming film projects, Brosnan will star in writer-director Paul Hernandez's visual effects-laden comedy, about a safecracker who dies and is reincarnated as a series of animals, Instant Karma, and in David Von Ancken's period thriller film Seraphim Falls (alongside Liam Neeson). Brosnan will also play lead roles in Mike Barker's crime drama Butterfly on a Wheel and Pietro Scalia's action thriller Mexicali. Additionally, he will reprise his Thomas Crown role in its second installment, The Topkapi Affair, adopted from Eric Ambler's novel and Monja Danischewsky's earlier screenplay.
"I think that all the films I've ever made are personal, even James Bond, because it's so much of myself, so much of who I am as a man and as an actor. You have to invest yourself in every character that you portray." Pierce Brosnan
- Chicago International Film Festival: Career Achievement, 2002
- Women in Film Crystal: Humanitarian Award, 2001
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance, The Thomas Crown Affair, 2000
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Actor - Action, The World Is Not Enough, 2000
- Empire Award: Best Actor, The World Is Not Enough, 2000
- Saturn Award: Best Actor, Tomorrow Never Dies, 1998