- Pierce Brendan Brosnan
May 16, 1953 (age 68)
- Actor, Film Producer, Environmentalist, Businessperson
- Cassandra Harris
- Thomas Brosnan, Mary May Smith
Pierce Brendan Brosnan (born 16 May 1953) is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist. After leaving comprehensive school at 16 Brosnan began training in commercial illustration. He then went on to train at the Drama Centre in London for three years. Following a stage acting career he rose to popularity in the television series Remington Steele (1982–87).
After Remington Steele, Brosnan appeared in films such as The Fourth Protocol and Mrs. Doubtfire. In 1995, he became the fifth actor to portray secret agent James Bond in the Eon Productions film series, starring in four films between 1995 and 2002. He also provided his voice and likeness to Bond in the 2004 video game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing. During this period, he also took the lead in other films such as Dante's Peak and the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. After leaving the role of Bond, he has starred in such successes as The Matador (nominated for a Golden Globe, 2005), Mamma Mia! (National Movie Award, 2008), and The Ghost Writer (2010).
In 1996, along with Beau St. Clair, Brosnan formed Irish DreamTime, a Los Angeles-based production company. In later years, he has become known for his charitable work and environmental activism.
He was married to Australian actress Cassandra Harris from 1980 until her death in 1991. He married American journalist and author Keely Shaye Smith in 2001, and he became an American citizen in 2004.
Brosnan was born at Saint Mary's Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, to Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter, and May (née Smith, born circa 1934), and was their only child. He lived in Navan, County Meath for 12 years and considers it his hometown. 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, Philip and Kathleen Smith. After their deaths, he lived with an aunt and then an uncle, but was subsequently sent to live in a boarding house run by a woman named Eileen.
Brosnan was brought up in a Roman Catholic family and educated in a local school run by the de la Salle Brothers while serving as an altar boy.
Brosnan left Ireland on 12 August 1964 and was reunited with his mother and her new husband, William Carmichael, now living in the Scottish village of Longniddry, East Lothian. Carmichael took Brosnan to see a James Bond film for the first time (Goldfinger), at the age of 11. Later moving back to London, Brosnan was educated at Elliott School, a state comprehensive school in Putney, West London. Brosnan has spoken about the transition from Ireland to England and his education in London; "When you go to a very large city, a metropolis like London, as an Irish boy of 10, life suddenly moves pretty fast. From a little school of, say, seven classrooms in Ireland, to this very large comprehensive school, with over 2,000 children. And you're Irish. And they make you feel it; the British have a wonderful way of doing that, and I had a certain deep sense of being an outsider." When he attended school, his nickname was "Irish".
After leaving school at 16, he decided to be a painter and began training in commercial illustration at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. At the Oval House in 1969, he came to a workshop to rehearse. A fire eater was teaching women how to put the flames across the chest while topless, and he decided to join in and learned how to fire-eat. A circus agent saw him busking and hired him for three years. He later trained for three years as an actor at the Drama Centre London. Brosnan has described the feeling of becoming an actor and the impact it had on his life: "When I found acting, or when acting found me, it was a liberation. It was a stepping stone into another life, away from a life that I had, and acting was something I was good at, something which was appreciated. That was a great satisfaction in my life."
After graduating from the Drama Centre in 1975, Brosnan began working as an acting assistant stage manager at the York Theatre Royal, making his acting debut in 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. His performance caused a stir in London and Brosnan still has the telegram sent by Williams, stating only "Thank God for you, my dear boy".
He became a television star in the United States with his leading role in the popular miniseries Manions of America.
In 1982, Brosnan moved to Southern California and rose to popularity in the United States playing the title role in the NBC romantic detective series Remington Steele. The Washington Postnoted that same year that Brosnan "could make it as a young James Bond."
Brosnan first met James Bond films producer Albert R. Broccoli on the sets of For Your Eyes Only because his first wife, Cassandra Harris, was in the film. Broccoli said, "if he can act ... he's my guy" to inherit the role of Bond from Roger Moore.
In 1986, NBC cancelled Remington Steele, so Brosnan was offered the role, but the publicity revived Remington Steele and Brosnan had to decline the role, owing to his contract. The producers instead hired Timothy Dalton for The Living Daylights (1987), and Licence to Kill (1989). Legal squabbles between the Bond producers and the studio over distribution rights resulted in the cancellation of a proposed third Dalton film in 1991 and put the series on a hiatus for several years. On 7 June 1994, Brosnan was announced as the fifth actor to play Bond.
Brosnan was signed for a three-film Bond deal with the option of a fourth. The first, 1995's GoldenEye, grossed US $350 million worldwide, the fourth highest worldwide gross of any film in 1995, making it the most successful Bond film since Moonraker, adjusted for inflation. In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4, and said Brosnan's Bond was "somehow more sensitive, more vulnerable, more psychologically complete" than the previous ones, also commenting on Bond's "loss of innocence" since previous films.
Brosnan met Australian actress Cassandra Harris through her stepson David Harris, one of Richard Harris' nephews, in 1977, shortly after he left drama school. On meeting her, he has described his feelings, saying, "What a beautiful looking woman. I never for an instant thought she was someone I'd spend 17 years of my life with. I didn't think of wooing her, or attempting to woo her; I just wanted to enjoy her beauty and who she was." They began dating, and eventually bought a house in Wimbledon. They married on 27 December 1980 and had one son together, Sean, who was born on 13 September 1983. They lived with her children, Charlotte (1971-2013) and Christopher, and after their father Dermot Harris died in 1986, he adopted them and they took the surname Brosnan.