Pierce Brosnan

Irish actor Pierce Brosnan arrives at the headquarters of Chinese kitchenware maker Oulin Group to attend a press conference as the image ambassador of Oulin in Ningbo city, east Chinas Zhejiang province, 16 January 2011. Depostiphotos
Molly Se-kyung
Molly Se-kyung

Pierce Brosnan is known for the role as James Bond in several movies and, years ago, for the TV series Remington Steele.

About Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan. Depostiphotos

Pierce Brosnan is an Irish actor best known for playing James Bond in four films between 1995 and 2002. His suave and debonair style made him an iconic 007. However, Brosnan’s career has spanned decades and included diverse roles on both the silver screen and television.

Born in Ireland, Brosnan moved to London as a teen to pursue acting. He studied at the Drama Center London, then struggled as a young actor before landing a breakthrough role on the TV show Remington Steele in 1982. The show made him a star and led to his casting as James Bond. After Remington Steele ended, Brosnan portrayed Bond in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.

Though forever linked to the James Bond franchise, Brosnan has proven himself in other films as well. Some of his most memorable non-Bond roles were in The Matador, Mamma Mia!, and The Ghost Writer. At age 66, Brosnan continues to act in films and television, demonstrating the talent, charisma, and longevity that have made him an enduring star. From television heartthrob to suave secret agent to acclaimed character actor, Pierce Brosnan has had a remarkable life and career.

Early Life and Acting Beginnings

Pierce Brosnan had a rather nomadic upbringing that foreshadowed his later success as an actor. Born in Ireland, Brosnan lived in England and Scotland as a child before his family settled in London.

Brosnan left school at 16 and pursued a career in art. However, at age 20, he saw a production of the Tennessee Williams play The Red Devil Battery Sign and was inspired to become an actor. Brosnan enrolled in the Drama Center London, where he trained for three years.

After graduating, Brosnan performed in several West End productions, including Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. He made his film debut in The Long Good Friday (1980) and appeared in several television films and miniseries, including The Manions of America.

Brosnan’s breakthrough came when he landed the lead role in the NBC detective series Remington Steele in 1982. The show was a hit and ran for five seasons, turning Brosnan into a star. During this time, Brosnan became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Though Remington Steele established him as a leading man, Brosnan had to wait several years for his next major role. In 1995, he was cast as James Bond in GoldenEye, a film that successfully revived the franchise. Brosnan played Bond in three more films before passing the torch to Daniel Craig in 2006.

Brosnan has since starred in numerous films, including The Matador (2005), Mamma Mia! (2008), and The November Man (2014). Though now in his mid-60s, Brosnan continues to work steadily as an actor, demonstrating the dedication and longevity that have characterized his remarkable career.

Rising to Fame as James Bond

Pierce Brosnan’s big break came in 1995 when he was cast as James Bond in GoldenEye. This role rocketed him to international fame and cemented his status as a leading man.

Brosnan had been considered for the role of James Bond years earlier, but his television contract for Remington Steele prevented him from accepting the part. After the show ended, Brosnan actively campaigned for the role in the Bond franchise. When Pierce Brosnan was finally selected to play the legendary secret agent James Bond, it seemed a perfect match. His charismatic and sophisticated style was ideal for the debonair spy.

Brosnan went on to star in three more Bond films: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002). His portrayal of James Bond revitalized the franchise and brought it into the modern era. Brosnan’s Bond was stylish, witty and more emotionally complex than previous incarnations. The films were major blockbusters that grossed over $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

During his tenure as James Bond, Brosnan also starred in several other films, including Dante’s Peak (1997), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and The Tailor of Panama (2001). However, he found it difficult to escape the shadow of the iconic secret agent and establish a career outside the franchise. After four films and seven years in the role, Brosnan passed the torch to Daniel Craig for the 2006 reboot Casino Royale. Though his time as James Bond was relatively brief, Pierce Brosnan brought a sense of gravitas and humanity to the character that endures today. His suave and debonair performance will live on as a definitive portrayal of the legendary secret agent 007.

Life After Bond: Brosnan’s Career Renaissance

A New Chapter

After Pierce Brosnan’s successful run as James Bond ended in 2002, he entered a renaissance period in his acting career. No longer tied to the iconic spy role, Brosnan was free to pursue more diverse and challenging parts that showcased his range and talent.

Challenging Roles

Some of Brosnan’s most compelling post-Bond roles were in films like The Matador (2005), Seraphim Falls (2006), and The Ghost Writer (2010). In The Matador, Brosnan delivered a darkly comedic performance as a troubled hitman. The film was praised for allowing Brosnan to demonstrate his underappreciated comedic skills and move past his suave Bond image. Seraphim Falls and The Ghost Writer offered Brosnan the opportunity to work with acclaimed directors David Von Ancken and Roman Polanski, respectively. Brosnan’s performances in both films earned positive reviews and reinforced his ability to take on more complex, nuanced roles.

Recent Work

In recent years, Brosnan has continued to star in a variety of independent films and television series that showcase his range as an actor. Some of his notable recent projects include the AMC western series The Son, the musical film Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, and the action-comedy The November Man. While Brosnan still makes occasional appearances in mainstream blockbusters like No Escape (2015), he seems most fulfilled taking on more unconventional roles that tap into new aspects of his talent.

Brosnan’s post-Bond career renaissance demonstrates his dedication to his craft and desire to push himself as an actor. By moving past the spy franchise that made him a star, Brosnan has found new depth, nuance, and acclaim in his later career that cements his status as one of Ireland’s most accomplished actors. His willingness to take risks and subvert expectations has allowed audiences to discover new facets of his ability and appreciate the full breadth of his cinematic work.

Personal Life: Love, Loss

Pierce Brosnan has endured immense personal hardship and loss in his life. Despite his suave and debonair public persona, Brosnan has faced deep personal tragedy in his private life.

Loss of First Wife and Daughter

Brosnan’s first wife, Cassandra Harris, passed away in 1991 at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer. Brosnan had adopted Harris’ two children, Charlotte and Christopher, after their biological father died. Tragically, Charlotte also succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2013 at the age of 41. Brosnan has said that Harris’ death was “the longest night of my life…a deep wound that has never really healed.”

Finding Love Again

In 1994, Brosnan met American journalist Keely Shaye Smith in Mexico. They married in 2001 and have two sons together, Dylan and Paris. Brosnan credits Smith with helping him cope with the immense losses of his first wife and daughter. He has said, “Keely is the still point in my turning world.” Brosnan fiercely guards his family’s privacy but has shared that his sons and wife are “my North Star.”

Activism and Philanthropy

Motivated by the suffering of his first wife and daughter, Brosnan has worked to raise awareness of women’s cancers. He has supported numerous related charities and causes, including serving as an ambassador for the National Women’s Cancer Research Alliance. Brosnan has also advocated for environmental causes like whale conservation and reducing plastic pollution.

While Brosnan achieved fame and success through his acting, his personal life has been marked by deep anguish and loss. However, with the love and support of his second wife and sons, Brosnan has found meaning and purpose again through his philanthropic work on issues close to his heart. His life serves as an inspiration that even in the depths of tragedy, hope and renewal can be found.

Memorable Roles

Pierce Brosnan is best known for playing James Bond in four films between 1995 and 2002. His debut as 007 in GoldenEye was well received by critics and audiences. Brosnan’s portrayal of the iconic secret agent helped revitalize the franchise after a six-year hiatus. His subsequent outings as Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002) were also commercially successful.

Outside of the James Bond series, some of Brosnan’s most memorable roles include:

  • Remington Steele in the 1980s television series of the same name. The show helped launch Brosnan to stardom and almost cost him the chance to play James Bond.
  • Julian Noble in The Matador (2005). Brosnan delivered a critically acclaimed performance in the black comedy thriller and showed a different side of his acting abilities.
  • Eli McCullough in the AMC western drama The Son (2017-2019). Brosnan played the lead role of a Texas cattle baron in the multi-generational saga based on Philipp Meyer’s novel.

Pierce Brosnan has had an illustrious career spanning over 40 years. From his early days as a stage actor to portraying the iconic role of James Bond, Brosnan has shown a dedication to his craft and an ability to take on challenging roles. Though his time as Bond came to an end, Brosnan continues to star in major films and television shows. His charismatic charm and handsome looks have earned him a place as an enduring star of stage and screen. Brosnan’s inspiring story of overcoming a difficult childhood and early struggles in his career serves as a reminder that perseverance and hard work can lead to great success. With many more roles still ahead of him, Pierce Brosnan’s place as an acting legend is undoubtedly secured.

Pierce Brosnan Quotes

You can get totally messed up trying to please everyone with what you do, but ultimately, you have to please yourself.

Pierce Brosnan

I will forever be a Bond. It’s a small group of men who’ve made this role. Someone said, More men have walked on the moon than have played James Bond.’

Pierce Brosnan

Video: Pierce Brosnan – Top 30 Highest Rated Movies

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By Molly Se-kyung Editor
Molly Se-kyung is a novelist and film and television critic. She is also in charge of the style sections.
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