Pierce Brosnan filmography and biography
Date of birth: 16 May 1953, Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland
Pierce Brosnan biography
Pierce Brosnan was born in Navan, County Meath, Ireland and lived in Navan, County Meath until he moved to England, UK at an early age (thus explaining his ability to play men from both backgrounds convincingly). His father left the household when Pierce was a child and although reunited later in life, the two have never had a close relationship. His most popular role is that of British secret agent James Bond. The death, in 1991, of Cassandra Harris (I), his wife of eleven years, left him with three children - Christopher and Charlotte from Cassandra's first marriage and Sean from their marriage. Since her death, he has had two children with his second wife, Keely Shaye Smith.
Pierce Brosnan trivia
- He adopted his first wife Cassandra Harris (I)'s children, Charlotte Brosnan (b. 1972) and Christopher Brosnan (b. 1973), after their father died in 1986.
- Was made a Freeman of Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland (the town he lived in until he moved to England in 1964) on 11th November 1999.
- Owns his own production company, Irish DreamTime. Its first release was The Nephew.
- (1996) Chosen by People (USA) magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful" people in the world.
- (1991) Chosen by People magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" in the world.
- The very first film he claims to have seen is the 007 movie Goldfinger.
- Enjoys fishing on the River Towy in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Jimmy Carter (I) (former American President) also enjoys the same fishing spot.
- Is the third actor to play James Bond in more than two films, along with Roger Moore (I) and Sean Connery.
- (1996) At the Genesis Awards Ceremony, reunited with Remington Steele co-star Stephanie Zimbalist.
- On December 28, 1991, one day after their 11th wedding anniversary, his wife, Cassandra Harris (I), died in his arms. She died of ovarian cancer.
- His mother, May, was 19 when she gave birth to him. She had married his father, Thomas, on August 16, 1952. However, his parents separated when he was still a baby, and from the age of 4 he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Philip and Kathleen Smith, while his mother went to London to train as a nurse. When he was 6, both grandparents died and he was passed around amongst relatives until Eileen Reilly took him into her lodging house. Finally, when he was 10, his mother was able to take him to her home in Putney, London. While in London, May had met a man, named Bill Carmichael, who had asked her to marry him, but she wanted approval from her son. Pierce gave his approval and the couple were married. From that point on, Bill treated Pierce as his real son and they got along fine. It was Bill who took Pierce to see his first Bond movie, Goldfinger, and it was at that point that decided to take up acting.
- At the age of 11 he was almost six feet tall, making him a target of bullies.
- Voted "Sexiest Man Alive" by People Magazine in 2001.
- Is claustrophobic, which made the filming of certain scenes in Dantes Peak very difficult.
- He was voted sixth in the Orange 2001 film survey of greatest British film actors ever.
- In addition to his salary for his James Bond movies, Brosnan received a car. The BMW Z3 from GoldenEye, an 8-series BMW (instead of the 750iL) from Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Z8 from The World Is Not Enough.
- Early in his screen career he portrayed the title role in the TV series Remington Steele. His character was a career criminal gone "straight" as a private investigator, with an amazing knowledge of and obsession with classic cinema. In the episode "To Catch a Steele" (original air date 2/11/83, episode 15), Steele equates the case he is working on to The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen (I). Sixteen years later Brosnan starred in the remake of that movie, The Thomas Crown Affair.
- He was given an honorary OBE by Britain's ambassador to Ireland, Stewart Eldon, on 8/19/03. Honorary OBEs are awarded on merit by the Queen to non-British citizens who have made an important contribution to British interests. The award formally makes him "an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire".
- After the release of Die Another Day, he was approached by a man in a Dublin bar who asked to shake his hand. He complied and then cracked up when the man said, "That's the closest my hand will ever get to Halle Berry's arse [butt].".
- On August 12, 1964, as an 11-year-old he flew, for the first time, from Ireland to the UK to join his mother May, the very day that Ian Fleming (I) died.
- Three sons: Sean Brosnan (I) (b. September 13, 1983), Dylan Thomas (b. January 13, 1997) and Paris Beckett (b. February 27, 2001). He also has two adopted children, Charlotte Brosnan (b. 1971) and Christopher Brosnan (b. 1973).
- He says that his favorite Bond films are From Russia with Love and For Your Eyes Only, and that his least favorite Bond film is On Her Majestys Secret Service.
- Became an American citizen on 23 September 2004 but still plans to keep his Irish citizenship.
- He studied under Yat Malmgren, a dancer and drama teacher who also worked with Sean Connery in the 1950s and is credited with helping him develop a strong sense of movement and presence.
- According to the James Bond tailors in London, he has been both the lightest and heaviest of all the James Bonds. The tailors who fitted him for his Bond films state that in his first Bond movie, GoldenEye, he weighed 164 pounds, making him the lightest actor to play Bond. However, in his fourth Bond movie, Die Another Day, he weighed 211 pounds, making him the heaviest actor to play Bond.
- He says that the first two films he saw at the cinema, Goldfinger and Lawrence of Arabia, are also the two films that have had the most influence on him.
- Graduated from the prestigious MA program at the Drama Center in London, England.
- After Timothy Dalton was unavailable, Brosnan was originally chosen to play 007 in 1986 and was given the script to "The Living Daylights". Although he was contracted to Remington Steele for seven seasons, NBC decided to cancel the show at the end of the fourth season, which meant that Brosnan was free to play James Bond in The Living Daylights the following year. However, shortly after the end of the fourth season, NBC had second thoughts about canceling Remington Steele and subsequently approached the Bond producers directly in an attempt to strike a deal that would allow Brosnan to play both James Bond and Remington Steele the following year. NBC also offered to completely reschedule the shooting of Remmington Steele to ensure that there were no scheduling conflicts. But eventually, Albert Broccoli famously told NBC that "James Bond will not be Remington Steele and Remington Steele will not be James Bond." Accordingly, Brosnan would only play Bond if the show remained canceled. NBC had a 60 day deadline to revoke their decision to cancel Remmington Steele series and at 6.30pm on the 60th day of the deadline, Brosnan learned that NBC decided to make a fifth season. So, the role of the new James Bond went to Timothy Dalton. NBC went on to make only six episodes of the fifth season of Remington Steele before finally canceling the show for good.
- Was considered for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman.
- Brosnan's Bond was mainly dressed with shirts and ties from Turnbull & Asser, shoes from Church's, and suits from the Italian company Brioni. The cuff links and the belts were mostly Dunhill's.
- In 2004, Quentin Tarantino expressed an interest in directing Brosnan in a version of Casino Royale, but was turned down by the Bond producers.
- He is a professional "fire eater", having performed a fire eating act in a circus at a young age. Knowing this, the writers for Remington Steele asked him to hone his skills as a fire eater for an episode during the series' second season, entitled "High Flying Steele", where Remington and Laura are to go undercover in a circus.
- Is a fan of Doctor Who.
- He and fellow Bond actor Sean Connery have both played King Arthur. Connery played him in First Knight and Brosnan provided the voice of Arthur in Quest for Camelot.
- Quit smoking cigarettes before the release of Tomorrow Never Dies.
- While it may be incorrect to suggest that Brosnan was fired from the role of James Bond, since technically the producers simply chose not to renew his contract, they had agreed in principle to collaborate on a fifth Bond film before the producers pulled from negotiations. This makes Brosnan the first Bond to end his reign not of his own accord.
- Supported John Kerry (III) in the 2004 presidential election.
- He's an only child.
- Met his Bond predecessor Sir Sean Connery for the first time at The 76th Annual Academy Awards (2004) (TV), but only for a few minutes.
- Due to rising budgets and declining audiences, Brosnan's last three Bond films were the only ones in the series to not take more than five times their cost. Even Timothy Dalton's two films took in more than five times their budget, and George Lazenby's one Bond film (On Her Majestys Secret Service more than ten. Whether you go by budget-to-gross or inflation-adjusted ratios, Brosnan's films did average business. Die Another Day in particular, despite being the second highest grossing Bond after Casino Royale before inflation, made the smallest profit on its theatrical run of any Bond movie - a major reason for revamping the franchise. Sean Connery's Bond films remain the most successful, with Thunderball having taken 22 times its cost at the worldwide box-office.
- He is a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, gay adoption, gun control and protecting the environment.
- The production of Tomorrow Never Dies was a troubled one, owing in part to the producers agreeing to have the film ready for a December release. Brosnan rejected the script after it had been rewritten; it was then rewritten again during filming by the writer of the original script; director and scriptwriter were not talking to each other, and Brosnan and Teri Hatcher were not compatible. The film cost around $110 million, but only took in more than $346 million at the box office worldwide.
- Shares two roles with two previous James Bonds. He and Sean Connery have also both played King Arthur. He and David Niven (I) have also both played Phileas Fogg, Niven in Around the World in Eighty Days and Brosnan in "Around the World in 80 Days" (1989/I).
- In addition to playing a small role in The Broken Chain (1993) (TV), actor Girard Swan briefly worked as Brosnan's stand-in.
- Spent three years studying acting at The Drama Centre, in north London in his early years.
- Nicknamed "Colonel Chunky" by the crew on Mamma Mia!.
- Attended Elliott Comprehensive School, Putney, in the 1960s
- After being chosen to play "James Bond", Brosnan wasn't allowed to wear a tuxedo in any other film. This posed a problem for the wardrobe staff of The Thomas Crown Affair.
- He's Meryl Streep's close friend.
- His favourite comic actor is the former Python, John Cleese.
- Lives in Malibu, California.
Pierce Brosnan quotes
- [on his marriage to Cassandra Harris (I)] Our marriage gives me a stability that makes me feel that I can tackle the world.
- [on his good looks] I don't see myself as the "Hunk of the Month".
- [about his deceased wife, Cassandra Harris (I)] Cassie has made me the man I am, the actor I am, the father I am. She's forever embedded in every fiber of my being.
- [on why he thinks he would have regretted winning the James Bond role in 1986] 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.
- [about the movie industry] There's too many people in seats of power who just haven't got a clue what they're doing. They're bean counters, and it just pisses me off because consequently our kids go to see this crap movie . . . there's nothing with meaningfulness.
- [on why, after the 1987 demise of Remington Steele, he appeared in a series of movies that were box-office flops] 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- . . . there's that lovely line from that wonderful epic picture that I made called Grey Owl where they say to Archie Belaney, "A man becomes what he dreams. You have dreamed well." Part of the dreams go back to my childhood and when I left Ireland in 1964, I discovered the cinema. One of the first films I saw was Goldfinger - I didn't want to be James Bond but the seed of cinema and pictures was sown there in Putney High Street. And then I discovered Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen (I) and the movies.
- There was only one Bond for me, and it was Sean Connery. That made the role daunting.
- 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.
- To my eye, women get sexier around 35. They know a thing or two, and knowledge is always alluring.
- Bond is an enigma. He's smooth and bigger than life, but he's vague as a personality. It's a little like doing a period piece. Look, I'm thankful, the role made me an international star. I've been in the backwaters of Papua New Guinea and heard, "Hey, Bond."
- 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.
- [March 2004] They're too scared. They feel they have to top themselves in a genre which is just spectacle and a huge bang for your buck. But I think you can have your cake and eat it. You can have real character work, a character storyline and a thriller aspect and all kinds of quips, asides, the explosions and the women. We're just saturated with too many overblown action films with no plot. That's ludicrous. It's so damn crazy! That's absolutely sheer lunacy because "Casino Royale" is the blueprint of the Bond character. You find out more about James Bond in that book than in any of the other books. I would love to do a fifth Bond and then bow out, but if this last one is to be my last, then so be it. My contract is up. They can do it or not.
- [On former James Bond George Lazenby] George is just an angry, old, pissed-off guy. He was never an actor, but some pissed-off Aussie who doesn't know how to show his feminine side. I met him, and he's got that kind of brittle edge to him.
- When you look at Ian Fleming (I)'s work, it's there on the page. The martinis, the drugs, the cigarettes, the casino, the blood on the hands. But they never went there. Hopefully, they will go there with Daniel [Daniel Craig (I)]. They have the product, they have the man, and I'm sure they will.
- I have nothing against Republicans, but this government has made decisions which we are to suffer the consequences of for a long, long time. You want to have faith in your leaders but it's very hard to have faith in President George W. Bush. Look at what he's done to the environment and this savage war that has started. You speak up as an actor and people will shoot you down hard and fast. But you don't speak as an actor. You speak as a man, a working actor with a family.
- It never made it in to the papers, but I've had my face sliced open by a stuntman and a knee injury. But it's all part and parcel of being Bond.
- It never felt real to me. I never felt I had complete ownership over Bond. Because you'd have these stupid one-liners - which I loathed - and I always felt phony doing them. I'd look at myself in the suit and tie and think, "What the heck am I doing here?" Such sentiments were nothing new. That was always the frustrating thing about the role. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson (I) play it so safe. The pomposity and rigmarole that they put directors through is astounding . . . I can do anything I want to do now. I'm not beholden to them or anyone. I'm not shackled by some contracted image.
- I was trained as an actor and I was led to believe that I had a number of performances in me. The fact that I've just given the same performance, well, maybe . . . If I can get away with it, why not? But I've reached a point now where I'd better start trying to find some performances and challenge myself.
- You're not even allowed to show a bloody nipple. It's pathetic. What Bond needs is a good, palpable killing sequence and a good sex scene - and it doesn't have to be graphic, you can use your imagination. We had a good one in The Thomas Crown Affair - a really classy, sexy scene.
- [on the widely criticized federal government response to Hurricane Katrina] This man called President Bush [George W. Bush] has a lot to answer for. I don't know if this man is really taking care of America. This government has been shameful.
- People should be allowed to marry and gay marriage should be out there. If a man or a woman has a good partner and they love each other with their heart and soul, let them marry. I am very much for gay marriage. I think the rest is censorship and conflict and really no one else's business.
- [on George Lazenby] George seems to be an unhappy camper about Bond. He gets pissy and spits the dummy out. Tim [Timothy Dalton] was fantastic. He really had the balls to go out there and play it on the nose - Ian Fleming (I) undiluted. But where were the laughs? Sean [Sean Connery] was brilliant, he played it dead on the money. And Roger [Roger Moore (I)] really made it his own and went for the laughs. I think those two were the best.
- I think Daniel [Daniel Craig (I)] is a very fine actor. These are rocky waters, but I think he will have the last laugh. You get twisted some way or another if you throw yourself into it. There's going to be mishaps.
- I was young, frivolous, and full of abandon - a hippie with long hair down to my shoulders and a little goatee beard. Why? Because I thought I was gay. But no, I'm not gay.
- [on Casino Royale] I'm looking forward to it like we're all looking forward to it. Daniel Craig (I) is a great actor and he's going to do a fantastic job.
- [on Casino Royale] I always wanted to go back, because it's the blueprint of Bond's character. It's the one where Fleming [Ian Fleming (I)] really painted in the details of what Bond was about, so I was disappointed that it didn't happen, but you can't go around with that in your heart. It's all such a game really, and you win some, you lose some, you're there, you're not there. Getting the part of Bond and playing the part of Bond was a blessing and a curse, which I think [Sean Connery] has spoken about, and I'm sure Daniel [Daniel Craig (I)] is just getting the full taste of right now. So, you know, one can really only look at the blessings in life.
- [on Seraphim Falls] I've always wanted to do a western, growing up as a boy in Ireland watching cowboys and Indians. When I left and went to London, Clint Eastwood came into my life with all of the great films that he made, and then of course I got my education in cinema and John Ford (I). The Irish are very much steeped in the cowboy genre, and historically of course we have the great rift of the civil war. Shooting the film entirely on location in Santa Fe enhanced my performance, because it's just you and the landscape. This is a story of two very hollow men, men who have lost everything in life due to war. There's nowhere to hide in a story like this and nowhere to hide as an actor. So you just hope you've done your homework well and that you've understood the story correctly and leave the rest to chance. It was a physically tough shoot in the sense that you are down in Santa Fe, it's got an elevation and my character is being pursued throughout the film, so I was constantly running, just being pursued on foot or by horseback. And the condition was very cold or extremely hot.
- There's nothing like going off and doing a film in Nigeria, Papua New Guinea or Santa Fe, it's the best and most exhilarating. I mean it sorts the men from the boys, really, where you have to figure out who really wants to do it and who's good at their job. When you go off to distant locations, especially if they're tough, it weeds those people out, but hopefully you don't have to weed anybody out, because you've got everybody on board who really wants to go out and work hard - fourteen-, sixteen-, eighteen-hour days in the wilderness, in a great city or some backwater, but those are the best.
- [on success] I've worked for it, and I wanted it. I had good luck and a bit of talent somewhere in the back pocket that I could kind of polish and nurture, but I dreamt and wished for all of this, then you get all of that and you've just got to show up and work. Hopefully you can stay at the table.
- It's related to acting really. I wish I had his career. I remember being in Remington Steele and seeing Bruce Willis go out there and just do it. I thought, "He's making movies and I'm still here". I just remember that. I remember, ironically, in 1986, I remember going into the old La Scala in Malibu. Bruce was there with Demi [Demi Moore], I had just been offered the Bond in '86 and he said to me, "Well done, man, you got out, way to go." I said, "Thanks, Bruce". Of course, two months later I was high and dry without any Bond in my life or even "Remington Steele". The next thing I see him and he's off doing his feature films. I always wanted to do movies. I've stopped trying to pick myself. Hopefully, you reach a point in life where you leave yourself alone and make peace with your shortcomings, whatever they may be. Education is something for me. I left school at fifteen, sixteen, so I'm always feeling like I got to catch up, got to catch up, got to catch up. That's something that, you know, you find yourself in a meeting and you're like, oh boy, we're going into deep waters. I haven't read that piece of literature, that's a piece of information I should have known.
- It would have been great to light up and smoke cigarettes, for instance. It would have been great to have the killing a little bit more real and not wussed down. It's all rather bland. I remember doing a sex scene with Halle [Halle Berry] - I mean frolicking in the bed - and there was director Lee Tamahori right under the sheets with us. But the way we ended up doing it was almost like the old days in Hollywood - kissing the girl but still having your feet on the floor.
-  A few years ago I would have said I could imagine playing James Bond in a more ferocious way. Like a sort of Quentin Tarantino character - but now, at 52, I am definitely too old.
- I've been identified with James Bond or Thomas Crown for so long - suave, elegant, sophisticated men in suits. It's like you've been giving the same performance for 20 years.
- (1997 quote on his career) I've been very lucky in my life. Very lucky. I have been able to go through quite a few lives and still retain a certain identity and love of life. I have a new life, a new woman, a new baby. I also have a new realization, as a man and as an actor: This is where you belong. It's a great feeling, knowing you don't have to prove yourself or step on tippy toes to be seen or be heard. Just to be comfortable in who you are.
- Mrs. Doubtfire was a wonderful, beautiful ray of sunshine in my career. For the first time I was in a studio picture and I was working with wonderful actors who were all working at the top of their game. It allowed me to do comedy and play a character who was viewed as a jerk.
- (on his first trip to America and landing Remington Steele) The trip to America, it was such a great joy to go there with Cassie, to take that leap of faith and go to the New World--all that nonsense you read about in books. But again it was a liberation. In Los Angeles, I rented a car from Rent-A-Wreck, a lime green Pacer, with a cushion, because the springs were coming through, and I got a map and went on my first interview in Hollywood. Somehow I found my way out to Laurel Canyon. I got up to the top of Mulholland Drive and the car broke down, blew up. I did eventually get to the interview and saw a casting director from Mary Tyler Moore Productions. Boom! They were looking for Remington Steele. The last thing I was looking for was a TV series. I went to America thinking I was going to work with Scorsese. Taxi Driver I'd seen about 10 times and Mean Streets; that's where my brain was at. I was going to do movies. But I needed work. I went through several more interviews and then Cassie and I came home to Wimbledon. Then the call came: Would I return for a screen test? And it was, 'My God, what have we done? What have we done? What are we going to do?' Panic, panic, panic. Don't panic! We'll go to America. We'll take the kids to America. So Cass, the two kids and I hopped on a plane and went to America.
- 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.
- I've always been a bit of a loner. I've always felt like an outsider, and because I didn't have a mother or father figure, I brought myself up. I made my own rules, and from the pain of not having a mother there came the great strength of being able to deal with things on a one-to-one basis throughout my life.
- Cassie, I think, took it harder than I did. Because you want for your partner in life, you want the best for your partner. It just didn't happen. Timothy Dalton was signed the next day. And I became the guy who coulda been, shoulda been, might have been Bond. [recalling his late wife's reaction to the news that he had lost his chance to play James Bond]
- [On Tomorrow Never Dies] I remember starting the first day on that film in an aircraft, flying a jet and it was 102 degrees, and I'm wearing a helmet and sweater, and then I'm being strangled over and over again, and I thought, 'Oh my God, this bloody character is going to kill me.' The press tour for that film was 22 countries. When I did it I knew the movie wasn't up to speed; it wasn't as good as GoldenEye and you have to bang the drum loudly to get the attention.
- [On his portrayal of the character of James Bond] I never felt that I really nailed it.
- (On his early years in Ireland) I remember being very much a loner. Very solitary childhood. I didn't have the guidance of a mother and father. I remember missing my mother. I used to think she was in the Congo working in this war zone. In reality she was a nurse in London, but I lived in my imagination.
- (On getting Bell's palsy in 1984 directly before going on the Tonight Show) I thought I was having a stroke. I remember being in the fucking dressing room beforehand doing my tie up. Suddenly my face was half-numb and I couldn't close one eye. Then I felt my arm going numb. Oh jeez, I thought, I'm having a stroke, and just then came, "knock, knock ... ready for you now, Mr. Brosnan." It was not a good evening.
- (1995, on losing his wife Cassie) I just feel very alive. In losing her, watching a life dwindle down, you could taste life, you could really sense it. Because everything slows down, everything revolved around the house and small accomplishments. And then with her passing and as the pain gets lesser, you realize what you've come through, that you're still breathing, feeling, thinking, making decisions. It's quite euphoric, the feeling. It gives you a great strength.
- (On the actors he most admires) There's Brando, De Niro, Pacino, Gene Hackman, Spencer Tracy-and Cary Grant.
- The Fourth Protocol and Mister Johnson weren't box-office hits, but they were successes for me. Mister Johnson is very close to my heart. Bruce Beresford gave me confidence and direction. Nomads didn't do anything for me. but it did for John McTiernan. Why didn't it work for me? My beard. I should have gone for a sleeker, more cosmetic image.
- (On meeting his father for the first time) I was in Ireland doing one of the last episodes of "Remington Steele" in '86. He came to the hotel on a Sunday afternoon. I had tea and biscuits ready, and when I opened the door, there he was. Tom. He was a stranger. I expected him to be this very tall man. He was very lively, a wiry bantam cock of a man with great energy. We talked, had a couple of pints of Guinness, he took some photographs, and then he drove off. It was our only contact. The ultimate question was, "Why did you abandon me?"-but I never asked.