Pierce Brosnan’s most iconic role is undoubtedly his tenure as James Bond. Brosnan as Bond always came across as cool and collected, he always seems to be in control. In reality for Brosnan, this is quite the opposite. Pierce actually experienced quite some hardship at the beginning of his life. The hardship only seems to have accompanied him as the years have gone by. Despite this, Pierce has inspired many with his courage and kind nature. Continue on to discover all the things you didn’t know about Pierce Brosnan.
A Tragic Beginning
For many of us, our parents are our rock from the day we are born. They care for you, help you develop and love you. These are all vital aspects that we need to develop properly, and happily. For Pierce, his parents were the main reason he had a difficult beginning. Having been born in Ireland in 1953, his father abandoned both him and his mother. At age 4, his mother struggled to cope and left him with his grandparents. Unfortunately they passed away and he was alone. This is just the beginning of all the hardship Pierce was unfortunate enough to experience.
Reunion With His Mother
Seven years after leaving him with his grandparents, he was eventually reunited with his mother at the age of 11. Pierce was indeed happy to be back with his mother, but the move affected him. He was uprooted from the place he had grown up and moved to a new school, house and surroundings. His mother had even remarried, so Pierce needed to form a relationship with his new stepfather, William Carmichael. It was Camichael that took Brosnan to see his first Bond film, Goldfinger!
Pierce was happy to be reunited with his mother, but it would certainly take time to settle into the new life that had come before him. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that it wasn’t an easy adjustment, moving to England. Pierce struggled with making friends at school and experienced bullying and teasing from the other children. Pierce was always tall for his age and different (being Irish), but whatever the case he still suffered. To make life more tolerable, he picked up an impressive hobby that only seemed to benefit him. Pierce became a fire-eater, performing for people in the streets. He even worked in the circus for a while. It was this hobby that helped him to get his place in the Drama Centre of London.
A Spot Of Luck
It was 1975 that Brosnan graduated and acquired his first working role, as an assistant stage manager. It was while doing this that he applied to take on the role in Tennessee Williams’, The Red Devil Battery Sign play. Though not initially chosen, he got his chance as the main lead backed out. Brosnan was called in to show Williams what he was capable of, and he was impressed! This was a rare stroke of luck in a series of poor events for Pierce.
Love At First Sight
It was during his time as a play-actor that Brosnan met Cassandra Harris. He fell head over heels for her straight away, and it seemed as though initially she didn’t feel the same! Australian Harris admitted that initially she thought that Brosnan was a “funny-looking man” with a “short haircut.” After spending some time together however, their chemistry became evident. They spoke for hours and really got to know each other, eventually Cassandra felt the same way about Pierce. There was one issue that needed addressing, however.
Even though Harris felt the same as Brosnan, there were some serious issues which would prevent them from being together. The connection was strong, the chemistry was electric, but Harris was married with two children. Pierce was no homewrecker and respected the fact that she had a family and a marriage. He wasn’t necessarily abandoning the whole pursuit, just putting it on hold. Harris got divorced in 1978 and the two finally got the chance to be together. They had strong feelings for each other from the off and therefore the relationship intensified quicker than a normal one.
The two quickly fell deep in love. To develop their relationship further, they began the search for the place that they would call their family home. They eventually found a suitable one in Wimbledon and decided at this point to get married. They became husband and wife in December 1980. Brosnan’s childhood troubles coerced him into having a desire to keep a strong family. When Harris’ ex-husband passed away, he adopted her children (Christopher and Charlotte). He truly loved them as if they were his own. Harris wasn’t the type to sit idlily in a suburban lifestyle though, she pushed Brosnan to do even greater things.
Pierce had the family aspect that he missed so much during his childhood, but this didn’t stop him dreaming of making it in Hollywood. Harris supported his aspirations, thus the pair sat down and worked out how he could come to realize this dream. Leaving their life in favor of the American dream was risky, but they were willing to take these risks. The Brosnans applied for a home improvement but kept the funds to buy plane tickets to L.A. It was devious, but it worked out in the end.
The Hollywood Dream Comes True
The Brosnan family finally made it to the States and it all worked out very nicely for him. He finally acquired a lead role in a series and it even seems like the role was tailor made for Brosnan! He just played it so well. He starred as the lead in The Manions of Ireland, a series based on the Irish famine. Brosnan grabbed the role with both hands and thought, “by God, I’ve done it. It’s my time and I’m gonna take it by the throat and fly with it.” Even he didn’t know how much further he could go.
An Instant Fan Favorite
Now based in America, he was drawing a lot more attention to himself. People loved his acting in The Manions of Ireland and he was becoming a well-known figure. It was this role that earned him the chance to star in popular household show, Remington Steele. Brosnan initially auditioned for the comedic sidekick, but the director saw that his brilliant acting would be wasted on a side role. He decided to give Brosnan the lead! The role would fix Brosnan as a proper Hollywood actor and give him the platform to earn other roles. Not everyone loved Pierce though…
An Unhappy Co-Worker
Nobody expects to get along with every single person they come into contact with. Brosnan is a loveable figure, but there was one person who just didn’t vibe with him, Stephanie Zimbalist. Zimbalist played the role of Laura Holt, a love interest to Remington Steele. It was quite evident that the two didn’t get on but luckily this didn’t stop them both from doing their jobs properly. It was said that the pair never spoke unless they needed to for a scene. Perhaps the atmosphere on set was a bit awkward, but this issue became tiny when something bigger happened to Brosnan at the workplace.
A Surprising Introduction
Despite reuniting with his mother at the age of 11, Brosnan had never seen his father since his abrupt initial departure. One day, his father turned up out of the blue on the set of Remington Steele! Brosnan had an idea of what his father may have been like, but boy was he wrong. Pierce envisioned a large man, a go-getter, a confident man. In reality, Brosnan’s father was “a man of medium stature, pushed-back silver hair, flinty eyes, and a twizzled jaw.” He was happy to finally meet his father but didn’t like the manner in which it occurred. Despite certainly having the right to be angry with his father, he forgave him. How could he so easily though?
Family Comes First
Luckily for Brosnan’s father, it was actually the influence of step-father, William Carmichael that allowed Pierce to be so forgiving. Carmichael stepped up to the role of step-father and treated Pierce as if he was his own son. This also gives an indication into why Pierce is such a good father to Cassandra’s children too. For Pierce, Carmichael was family. When his step-father became ill, Brosnan spent a lot of time by his side, supporting him. Of Carmichael, Brosnan said, “[he is] someone I look up to. He is a hero of sorts.”
Too Talented For His Own Good
By this stage, Pierce was truly beloved across the whole entertainment industry. Having been a lead in many successful movies and television series, Brosnan’s efforts were finally paying off. Pierce’s name was thrown into the ring for who would be the next James Bond. People loved him, which meant Remington Steel remained insanely popular too. The issue is, the more popular the show was, the more it was renewed. This prevented Pierce from going for other roles.
Despite longing for a role he couldn’t have, Pierce never let his career challenges impact his family life, which is great considering it was just about to get larger! Cassandra had fallen pregnant! Brosnan was ecstatic and the family of four was due to become a family of five. Sean came into the world in 1983 and the family was complete. Unfortunately, this happiness wasn’t going to last too long.
Everything was going really well for Brosnan at this stage. His family was complete, he was successful in Hollywood and loved his life. It all changed in 1987, however. Brosnan brought his family along with him to a work-trip in India, when it appeared Cassandra wasn’t doing so well on what was meant to be a relaxing trip. Harris was fatigued and in pain, so when they arrived home, she visited a doctor. Unfortunately the doctor didn’t provide any good news, it was revealed that she was suffering from ovarian cancer.
A Dream House
Since the initial diagnosis, the Brosnan family were rightfully having a bad time. Pierce knew that his wife didn’t have too long left and did everything he could to ensure she enjoyed all the time she had left. One of these things was purchasing their dream house. The home was situated in Malibu and the pair were excited at the prospect of buying it. Just before the viewing, Harris went in for some chemotherapy. She wasn’t feeling good afterwards, he wasn’t sure she would be up for viewing the house. She fought and found the strength to go and purchased the house immediately. They truly made the house a home, and even after she passed away he can feel her influence on the home.
A Powerful Influence
From the moment Pierce met Harris, he was in love. This love stayed even beyond her passing. He tributes all his success in being a father, actor and husband to her. Even when she was struggling with her diagnosis and treatment, she gave her husband valuable advice. It was due to his wife’s influence that he was able to get main roles in movies like The Lawnmower Man and Live Wire. He even wanted to take a break from acting to help her more, but she wouldn’t allow it. She was his top advocate, he loved her for it. Brosnan said that “She’s forever embedded in every fiber of my being. She’s there with me every day. I was so blessed to have met someone like that.”
Losing The Battle
After a four-year fight, unfortunately Harris passed away in December 1991. He supported her through the whole time and the family was left heartbroken. Pierce had to stay strong, for the sake of his children. He had lost the love of his life but his kids needed him now more than ever. A loss of this magnitude truly changes someone’s outlook on life. Brosnan said, “[afterwards you] Just feel more deeply…You hug more deeply, you love more deeply.” Brosnan was having a tough time, and it was only her memory that kept him going.
His Personality Shone Through
Brosnan would never be the same again, after such a heavy loss, but he remained strong for the sake of his family. It was two years after her passing that he was offered a role in Mrs. Doubtfire. The movie hadn’t even been filmed yet but they knew it was going to be a major success. Initially, Tim Allen was chosen for the role of Stu, but it fell through. Allen’s Stu was meant to be unlikeable and villainous but this obviously didn’t work for Brosnan. They changed everything and it all worked out very well.
A Huge Robin Williams Fan
Brosnan couldn’t be happier getting the opportunity to work alongside some real stars, namely, Robin Williams. It was while they were on set that he met Williams for the first time, during William’s makeup preparation. Williams had his back turned to him, so all he could see was a Hawaiian shirt with hairy arms. Williams proceeded to turn around and greet Brosnan in the full Mrs. Doubtfire get-up, speaking in full character. Brosnan loved filming this movie and said that “[Robin] was brilliant. Sally was gorgeous. She and I got on like gas on fire. It was so delightfully enchanting.” Things only got even better for Brosnan.
007 – James Bond
Brosnan was disappointed to have passed up the role of Bond once before, since it was really an opportunity that only comes around once a lifetime. Luckily for him, he was that special someone who got the chance twice! Brosnan was offered the role of James Bond in 1994 and signed a deal for three films. He debuted in GoldenEye (1995) and loved the role. People loved the personal flair he brought to the role and it brought in over $100 Million in domestic revenue.
A perfect candidate to play Bond, his charm and sophistication was ideal for the role. The only thing that was inconsistent with previous Bonds, was his weight! Brosnan was the lightest ever actor to play James Bond! We think that Brosnan tried to make up for this scenario, maybe even overcompensating. WHile filming his fourth Bond movie, seven years later, he had now won the award of being heaviest Bond! Funnily enough, he may have been distracted by an interesting stipulation in his contract.
A Strange Clause
Bond was known for being a classy man, drinking martinis shaken not stirred. So is it that surprising that they inserted a tuxedo clause into his contract? That’s right! It was forbidden for Brosnan to wear a tuxedo in other movies. Brosnan was going to be Bond for a while, so they couldn’t have him screwing up the image of Brosnan-tuxedo-Bond, by wearing them in other movies.
It isn’t surprising that after Brosnan’s wife’s passing, he thought that he would never be able to love again. With this in mind, he put all of his energy into family and career. Sometimes the stars align and everything falls exactly into place. This happened for Brosnan in 1994 when he stumbled across a career-altering role, and love, all at once. He met Keely Shaye Smith, an American journalist who Brosnan called his “North Star”. The couple began dating soon after meeting and Smith was credited with helping Brosnan find peace following the passing of Cassandra. She made him very happy and the pair had two children together. This is only the start of an amazing love story for the pair, also.
Striving To Improve
Brosnan has only gotten better and better throughout his career and pushed himself to become the best actor he could be. We have previously seen how he is not afraid to take risks when attempting to complete his objectives. It was in 1996 that Brosnan took a different professional direction and founded a production company! Partnered with long-time buddy Beau St. Clair, they created a company called Irish Dream Time. The risk ultimately paid off. Their first movie was fine, but the second was a huge success. It was the release of The Thomas Crown Affair that made their company a big name.
A Doting Father
Childhood memories and experience resonate within the child forever. If someone has a poor upbringing, they tend to follow one of two routes. Either they become just like their parents, or the polar opposite. Brosnan clearly chose the latter. Pierce loved his large family and was a proven father. Brosnan had two sons in 1997 and 2001, Dylan and Paris. Pierce always ensured that family came first, which resulted in a public commitment to partner, Smith.
Brosnan knew that Pierce was something special very early in their relationship. They dated for years and had two children before they were even married! Pierce knew that it was time to make it official. They married in 2001, in a historical building called Ballintubber Abbey in Ireland. The building is over 800 years old and showed how important it was to him to revisit his Irish heritage. It was the ideal location to make their vows and seal their union. They have been married for over 20 years and they still seem as in love as the day they were married.
Marring a world-class actor, who happens to also be extremely good looking is not as easy as it may seem! It requires you to put a lot of effort into keeping up with them! Smith has lots of experience in front of the camera and once had a figure that would make each of us jealous. She is human though, and has dealt with weight fluctuations in her life just like the rest of us. Smith put weight on after giving birth and the weight never seemed to leave. She did manage to shed large amounts of weight in the end, somewhere between 100-120 pounds! They seem as in love as ever.
A Shock To The System
Brosnan really enjoyed the role of playing James Bond and surely he knew he couldn’t do the role forever. Perhaps he thought that he would have some more time, another movie or two, but the axe was wielding. One day Brosnan received a call from producers, he felt blindsided as they told him they were going in a “different way”, a way without him as the lead. Brosnan remained classy throughout and left without kicking up a fuss though, a true gent.
A Different Direction
Brosnan had enjoyed the role of a lifetime as Bond and decided to shift his acting career into a somewhat different direction. From shooting guns and evading bad guys, Brosnan accepted a role where he would need to sing and dance, in musical Mamma Mia! The cast had many stars in it, but there was one cast member he was ecstatic at the prospect of working with- Meryl Streep! Brosnan remembered Streep as that “gorgeous blonde” whom he had “fancied terribly in Drama school.” The one issue with this role was Brosnan’s singing ability, which fans were unconvinced by.
Critics Can Be Harsh
Did Brosnan know that the role of Sam Carmichael required the actor to be able to sing and dance? Well, we know that Brosnan wasn’t the most musically talented, so this must have come up in one of the preliminary meetings. Nonetheless, he took the role, and critics didn’t hold back! They said that his singing was similar to that of a “water buffalo”, “a donkey” and a battered “racoon”. Luckily for Brosnan, his charm filtered through and saved his graces, somewhat. This was only the first of some questionable choices that Brosnan made, however.
Brosnan has had quite a career up to this point, and he was surely beloved by his fans. This is probably why many questioned his choices when he accepted a role in 2010 political thriller, the Ghost Writer. The issue being that the film was directed by Roman Polanski, a man technically on the run from the law. Polanski was subject to many sexual abuse charges, ultimately accepting a plea deal for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He fled the country after learning he would likely serve jail time and hasn’t returned to the U.S. since. Brosnan said about working with Polanski, “[that he] didn’t let the rest of his life influence my choice”, he respected the director’s work and solely the work. This is surprising to hear, since Brosnan is a good guy and has a daughter of his own.
In Hindsight, was it a good idea to work with Polanski? Brosnan isn’t so sure. As a white male, naturally he avoided some of the hardship women face in the industry. After the #MeToo movement, all sorts of hair-raising things came out and surprised everyone. Brosnan reflected and even said during an interview that “I don’t know if, in this climate, I would have made the same decision, the same choice. These are dangerous times and it’s a very toxic world.” Although he couldn’t directly change how women were treated in Hollywood, he found alternative methods to exert his influence.
Being such a high-profile actor, he knows he is fortunate enough to have a platform. With great power comes great responsibility, it is Brosnan’s duty to use this platform for good. He has used his platform to support many different causes. It comes as no surprise that one of these is cancer awareness, but he also helps others as well as the environment. He sold paintings that went towards women’s health, environmental and children’s charities. Having been an ambassador of UNICEF Ireland for the last 20 years, we can see how dedicated Brosnan is. His wife is equally amazing in this regard, too.
Luckily for Brosnan, he and his wife are on the same page regarding activism. The pair helped one another with various causes and did what they could to help others and improve the world. To this day, the pair work with many conservation organizations and have even produced and released a documentary. The documentary in question looks at the environmental impact of certain pesticides on Hawaii’s environment. Even though Brosnan was trying his best to be a better man, husband and father, his eldest son Christoper (adopted from his first marriage) started to cause some issues.
Toughest Decision Yet
Despite the many challenges Brosnan had found himself before, he was not ready for this one. Brosnan had always treated Christopher as one of his own, Brosnan was big on family. Christopher struggled more than anyone with the death of his mother, but turned towards a bad direction in search of comfort. Chris had turned to drugs and Brosnan desperately wanted to rescue Chris from this life. Unsuccessful attempts led to a harsh decision from Brosnan. Supporting his son financially was only enabling his addiction, which led to this choice.
Tough Love Is Sometimes Necessary
Brosnan tried his hardest to help his child, but you can only do so much. The person has to want to help themselves too, or nothing will actually change. Brosnan was heartbroken and had no choice but to try one final move. For the good of everyone involved, Pierce cut off Christopher completely. Brosnan said how he told Chris to “Go. Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Hopefully Christopher will find his way back one day. Pierce never had any issues with his daughter, Charlotte. Unfortunately, she wasn’t given the time that her brother was given.
Harris’ death had a profound effect on the whole family. They suffered for years as she struggled in the last few years of her life. It was all an unfortunate deja vu, when Charlotte received the same diagnosis as her mother, at a similar age. She ultimately passed away aged 41. Pierce remembers Charlotte fondly, as his “funny, wonderful daughter”. He suffered greatly watching her struggle in the same way her mother had. This wasn’t even the end of the tragedy for Brosnan.
A Beloved Friend
Still grieving from the loss of his daughter, he unfortunately came across even more tragic news. This woman was like family to Brosnan. Only three years after losing Charlotte, Beau St. Clair passed away after losing a battle with Ovarian Cancer. Beau fought for ten years, before ultimately succumbing to the vicious cancer. Brosnan considered Beau to be the sister he never had. A 30 year friendship was gone and he couldn’t picture a world without her.
Pierce has had a length career full of accolades and high regard. He has received awards on two occasions for the Golden Globe Awards and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Brosnan earned an OBE for contributions to British Cinema and is considered one of the best looking men in Hollywood! People Magazine voted him the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ and listed him within the ’50 Most Beautiful People In the World’. A true legend.