Born an only child in the Republic of Ireland in Drogheda,
County Louth, Pierce Brosnan lived in nearby Navan, County Meath.
He was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers and would later
condemn their brutality. Brosnan's mother moved to London for
work after his father abandoned the family; in 1964, at the age
of eleven, he joined her. His mother subsequently divorced his
father and married a Scottish World War II veteran who was
quickly embraced as a father figure by his young stepson. When
he was 16 a circus agent saw him busking as a fire eater and
hired him. He trained as an actor at the Drama Centre, London.
In the early-1980s, Pierce became a television star in the United States with his leading role in the popular miniseries Manions of America, which he followed in 1982 by playing the title role in the high-rated NBC detective series Remington Steele. He was actually offered the job as James Bond before the Remington Steele series could be completed, but Brosnan was unable to break the contract with the producers.
In 1986, with Roger Moore's retirement from the role, Timothy Dalton was offered the role of James Bond once again after previously having turned it down when Sean Connery left the role in 1971. The 1986 film adaptation of Brenda Starr, however, kept Dalton from being able to immediately accept the role. A number of actors were then screen-tested for the role, notably Sam Neill, but ultimately were passed over by Cubby Broccoli. Brosnan (whose Remington Steele series had just ended), was offered the role, but publicity revived the Remington Steele program and forced Brosnan to back out of the role due to his contract with the show. Dalton then became available and accepted the role. Dalton's second turn as 007 Licence to Kill (1989) was a disappointment at the American box office, and legal squabbles about ownership of the film franchise resulted in cancellation of a proposed third Dalton film in 1991 (rumored title: The Property of a Lady) and would put the series in a six-year hiatus. During that time, Dalton acted upon a clause in his contract and resigned, which left the door open for Brosnan, in 1994.
Brosnan's appointment as Bond brought things full circle for the actor, who stated in interviews that the very first movie he ever saw was Goldfinger and that Sean Connery's performance as Bond inspired him to enter show business.
Aware of the danger of being typecast as James Bond, Pierce Brosnan asked EON Productions, when accepting the role, to be allowed to work in other projects between Bond series films. The request was granted, and for every Bond series film, Brosnan appeared in at least two mainstream films, including several he had produced. For a time, rumor was that Brosnan's Bond contract forbade him from wearing a dinner suit in any non-Bond film; that rumor was false. Brosnan played a wide range of roles in-between his Bond film appearances, ranging from a nerdy scientist in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! to Canadian conservationist Grey Owl in the biopic of the same name.
Pierce Brosnan was signed for a four-film deal and first appeared as agent 007 in 1995's GoldenEye to much critical praise. GoldenEye more than doubled the gross of Dalton's previous film in worldwide ticket box office sales. Pierce returned as Bond in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies and 1999's The World Is Not Enough to virtually the same success. In 2002 Brosnan appeared for his fourth and final time as the super suave secret agent in Die Another Day, which, while controversial to fans as being perhaps one of the weaker entries in the series, shattered all previous Bond films in terms of worldwide box office gross and is currently the highest grossing Bond film ever (although not with inflation counted.)
In early 2004, Pierce Brosnan starred in the James Bond video game Everything or Nothing, allowing his likeness to be used as well as doing the voice work for the character.
Shortly after, the media began questioning whether or not Pierce Brosnan would reprise the role for a fifth and final time. Brosnan kept in mind that aficionados and critics both were unhappy with Moore playing the role well into his 50s, but he received popular support from both critics and the franchise fan base for a fifth. For this reason, he remained enthusiastic about reprising his role after his initial contract expired, despite earlier reservations about doing so. Throughout 2004, Brosnan was rumored numerous times to have been "fired" from the role to make way for a new and younger actor. This was denied by MGM, EON Productions, and even Brosnan himself. In October 2004, however, Brosnan had been quoted as saying "it's absolutely over" and that he considered himself fired from the role. Although Brosnan had been rumoured frequently as still being in the running to play 007, he had denied it several times and in February 2005 posted on his website that he was finished with the role. In spite of this, rumours continued to circulate that he was in negotiations with the producers up until Daniel Craig was signed and announced on October 14, 2005. After the announcement of Craig as the next 007, Brosnan's Bond wax figures at all Madame Tussauds — including London, New York City, and Las Vegas — were removed.
When Brosnan was in high school, his nickname was "Irish"
Brosnan's first wife, the Australian actress Cassandra Harris, died of ovarian cancer in 1991, after eleven years of marriage. Brosnan was said to have been devastated by her death. In 2001, Brosnan married American journalist Keely Shaye Smith.
In July 2003, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Pierce Brosnan an honorary OBE for his "outstanding contribution to the British film industry". As an Irish citizen, he is ineligible to receive the full OBE honour, which is awarded only to a British citizen.
On September 23, 2004, Pierce Brosnan became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He is the father of three American sons, and has lived in the United States for more than twenty years. He currently resides in Malibu Beach, California.
In 2006, Pierce Brosnan was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in "The Matador".
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