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20 October 2016

Pierce Brosnan

Irish film and television actor and film producer Pierce Brosnan (1953) is best known for his recurring role as British spy 007 in the popular James Bond film series. He first won over television audiences in the detective series Remington Steele (1982-1987). Outside of Bond, Brosnan is known for big-screen performances in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and Laws of Attraction (2004).

Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye (1995)
American postcard by Classico, San Francisco, no. 105-454. Photo: Danjaq / United Artists Corporation / Eon Productions / Mac B. Photo: publicity still for Goldeneye (Martin Campbell, 1995).

Famke Jansen, Pierce Brosnan and Isabella Scoruppo in Goldeneye (1995)
French postcard by Sonis, no. C. 609. Photo: Danjaq and United Artists Corporation. Photo: publicity still for Goldeneye (Martin Campbell, 1995) with Famke Jansen and Isabella Scoruppo.

Remington Steele


Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland in 1953. He was the only child of Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter, and May Brosnan née Smith. Brosnan's father abandoned the family when Pierce was an infant. When he was four years old, his mother moved to London to work as a nurse. From that point on, he was largely brought up by his grandparents. After their deaths, he lived with an aunt and then an uncle, but was subsequently sent to live in a boarding house.

Brosnan left Ireland in 1964 and was reunited with his mother and her new husband, William Carmichael. Carmichael took the 11-years-old Pierce to see a James Bond film for the first time, Goldfinger (Guy Hamilton, 1964). At the age of 16, Brosnan left comprehensive school and began a training in commercial illustration at at Saint Martin's School of Art. He joined an experimental theater group (some sources say a circus) and studied at the Drama Centre London.

He made his acting debut in the play Wait Until Dark. Within six months, he was selected by playwright Tennessee Williams to play the role of McCabe in the British première of The Red Devil Battery Sign. In 1977 he was picked by Franco Zeffirelli to appear in the play Filumena by Eduardo De Filippo opposite Joan Plowright.

He also played small roles in films like The Long Good Friday (John Mackenzie, 1980) with Bob Hoskins, and the Agatha Christie mystery The Mirror Crack'd (Guy Hamilton, 1980), starring Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple. After more stage roles in London, he moved to Los Angeles, where he made his American debut in the TV Mini-series The Manions of America (Joseph Sargent, 1981), about Irish immigrants to the United States during the Great Famine of the mid-19th century. He followed this with the Mini-series Nancy Astor (1982), which chronicled the life of Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman to sit in British Parliament. His portrayal of Robert Gould Shaw II garnered him a 1985 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Then he was offered the lead in the detective series Remington Steele (1982-1987). The series blended the genres of romantic comedy, drama, and detective procedural, and Brosnan won over the American public with his good looks and charm. Biography.com: “Viewers tuned in to catch the show's latest mystery and watch the sparks fly between the two lead characters, played by Brosnan and his co-star, Stephanie Zimbalist.”

In 1986, he received an offer to play British spy James Bond in the footsteps of Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. Brosnan tried to get out of his contract for Remington Steele, but to no avail. The TV series ended the following year. In the late 1980s, Brosnan acted in several television and film projects, including the Cold War spy film The Fourth Protocol (John Mackenzie, 1987) with Michael Caine, the TV miniseries Around the World in 80 Days (Buzz Kulik, 1989) with Brosnan as Phileas Fogg and Eric Idle as Passepartout, the horror film The Lawnmower Man (Brett Leonard, 1992), and the comedy smash Mrs. Doubtfire (Chris Columbus, 1993) featuring Robin Williams.

Pierce Brosnan
Dutch postcard by MutiChoice Kaleidoscope. Photo: Isopress / Outline (Sanchez).

Pierce Brosnan
British postcard by Heroes, London, no. 1SPC 2801.

James Bond


In 1995, Pierce Brosnan finally secured a role as the legendary James Bond in Goldeneye (Martin Campbell, 1995), replacing Timothy Dalton. In the film, Bond fights to prevent an ex-MI6 agent (Sean Bean), gone rogue, from using a satellite against London to cause global financial meltdown. The film accumulated a worldwide gross of US$ 350.7 million, considerably better than Dalton's films.

Brosnan played Bond three more times, in Tomorrow Never Dies (Roger Spottiswoode, 1997) with Jonathan Pryce, The World is Not Enough (Michael Apted, 1999) with Sophie Marceau, and Die Another Day (Lee Tamahori, 2002) with Halle Berry. Die Another Day was the highest-grossing James Bond film up to that time. After starring in these four James Bond films, Brosnan decided it was time to pass the baton. Actor Daniel Craig took over the part in Casino Royale (2006).

In 1996, Brosnan formed a film production company entitled Irish DreamTime along with producing partner and longtime friend Beau St. Clair. Their first production was The Nephew (Eugene Brady, 1998), followed by the critical and box office success The Thomas Crown Affair (John McTiernan, 1999).

While playing 007, Brosnan also starred in the hilarious spoof Mars Attacks! (Tim Burton, 1996), the disaster thriller Dante's Peak (Roger Donaldson, 1997), and starred in the John le Carré adaptation The Tailor of Panama (John Boorman, 2001), with Jamie Lee Curtis and Geoffrey Rush. In 2001, Brosnan became an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland. He also raises money for charitable causes through sales of his paintings, and is active as an environmentalist.

Since leaving the Bond franchise, he starred in both dramas and comedies, such as Laws of Attraction (Peter Howitt, 2004) alongside Julianne Moore, the film adaption of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! (Phyllida Lloyd, 2008) with Meryl Streep, Roman Polanski’s political thriller The Ghost Writer (2010), playing a disgraced British Prime Minister, and the action spy thriller The November Man (Roger Donaldson, 2014). For his part in the dark comedy The Matador (Richard Shepard, 2005), he won a Golden Globe nomination.

Pierce Brosnan has been married twice. His first marriage to actress Cassandra Harris lasted from 1980 until her death in 1991. He adopted her two children, Charlotte and Christopher, and the couple had a son together, Sean. In 2001, Brosnan married Keely Shaye. They have two children together, Paris and Dylan.

In 2016 Pierce Brosnan filmed The Foreigner in London, co-starring with Jackie Chan. He plays a former IRA man turned government official Liam Hennessy. The film is directed by Martin Campbell, the director of Brosnan’s Bond debut, GoldenEye (1995). After that, he filmed in Versailles the American adventure The King's Daughter (Sean McNamara, 2016), with Brosnan as King Louis XIV. Soon in a theatre near you.

Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye (1995)
American postcard by Classico, San Francisco, no. 105-454. Photo: Danjaq / United Artists Corporation / Eon Productions / Mac B. Photo: publicity still for Goldeneye (Martin Campbell, 1995). (The edges for this postcard were cut off.)

Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
American postcard by Classico, San Francisco, no. 110-108. Photo: Danjaq / LLC / United Artists Corporation / Eon. Publicity still for Tomorrow Never Dies (Roger Spottiswoode, 1997). (The edges of this postcard were cut off).

Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
British postcard by London Postcard Company. Photo: Danjaq / LLC / United Artists Corporation / Eon. Publicity still for Tomorrow Never Dies (Roger Spottiswoode, 1997). (The edges of this postcard were cut off).

Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
British postcard by Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. Photo: publicity still for Tomorrow Never Dies (Roger Spottiswoode, 1997) with Michelle Yeoh.

Sources: Biography.com, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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