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Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brendan Brosnan, OBE (born May 16, 1953) is an Irish actor, film producer and environmentalist, who holds both Irish and US citizenship. After leaving school at 16, Brosnan began training in commercial illustration, but trained at the Drama Centre in London for three years. Following a stage acting career he rose to popularity in the television series Remington Steele.

Brosnan portrayed the secret agent James Bond in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. He also provided his voice and likeness to Bond in the video game James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing. In 1996, he formed, along with Beau St. Clair, a Los Angeles-based production company named Irish DreamTime. He was married to Cassandra Harris until her death, and is now married to Keely Shaye Smith.

Since leaving the role of James Bond, Brosnan has starred in films such as The Matador and Seraphim Falls. He became an American citizen in 2004. In his later years, he has been known for his charitable work and environmental activism. He is currently working on the projects The Topkapi Affair, Caitlin and The Big Biazarro. He has starred in the new musical Mamma Mia as one of the leading roles.He is now to narrate the new Thomas the tank engine shows.

Early life

Brosnan was born on May 16, 1953 in Castletown, County Meath, Ireland to Thomas, a carpenter, and May (née Smith). Brosnan was raised in a Catholic family and educated in a local school run by the De La Salle Brothers. Brosnan's mother moved to London to work as a nurse after his father had abandoned the family. She left him with her parents, Philip and Kathleen Smith. Brosnan left Ireland on August 12, 1964 and was reunited with his mother and her new husband, a British World War II veteran, William Carmichael, now living in the Scottish village of Longniddrie.

Brosnan quickly embraced his mother's new husband as a father figure. Carmichael took Brosnan to see a James Bond film for the first time (Goldfinger). Later moving back to London, Brosnan was educated at Elliott School, a state secondary modern school in Putney, West London. 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 in a workshop to rehearse. A fire eater was teaching women how to put the flames across the chest and they had their tops off. So he thought he'd join in and learnt 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 in London.

Early career

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 continued his career making brief appearances in films such as The Long Good Friday (1980) and The Mirror Crack'd (1980), as well as early television performances in The Professionals, Murphy's Stroke, and Play for Today. He became a television star in the United States with his leading role in the popular miniseries Manions of America. He followed this with his 1982 Masterpiece Theatre documentary that chronicled the life of Lady Nancy Astor the first woman to sit in British Parliament. His portrayal of the love-deprived Robert Gould Shaw II garnered him a 1985 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

In 1982, Brosnan rose to popularity in the United States playing the title role in the NBC romantic detective series Remington Steele. The Washington Post noted that same year that Brosnan "could make it as a young James Bond." After Remington Steele ended in 1987, Brosnan went on to appear in several films, including The Fourth Protocol (1987), a Cold War thriller in which he starred alongside Michael Caine, The Deceivers (1988) and The Lawnmower Man (1992). In 1992, he shot a pilot for NBC called Running Wilde, playing a reporter for Auto World magazine. Jennifer Love Hewitt played his daughter, but the pilot never aired. In 1993 he played a supporting role in the comedy film Mrs Doubtfire. He also appeared in several television films, including Death Train (1993) and Night Watch (1995), a Hong Kong-set spy thriller.

James Bond

Brosnan first met James Bond films producer Albert R. Broccoli on the sets of For Your Eyes Only because his then-wife was in the film. Broccoli said, "if he can act… he's my guy" to inherit a role of Roger Moore. It was reported by both Entertainment Tonight and the National Enquirer, that Brosnan was going to inherit another role of Moore's, that of The Saint, Simon Templar. Brosnan turned down the rumours in July 1993 but added, "it's still languishing there on someone's desk in Hollywood.

In 1986, Timothy Dalton was approached for the Bond role; his involvement with the 1986 film adaptation of Brenda Starr kept Dalton from being able to accept it. A number of actors were then screen-tested for the role notably Sam Neill but were ultimately passed over by Broccoli. Remington Steele was about to end, so Brosnan was offered the role, but the publicity revived Remington Steele and Brosnan had to decline the role of James Bond, owing to his contract.

By then, Dalton had become available again, and he accepted the role for The Living Daylights (1987), and Licence to Kill (1989). Legal squabbles about ownership of the film franchise resulted in the cancellation of a proposed third Dalton film in 1991 (rumoured title: The Property of a Lady) and put the series on a hiatus, which lasted six years. GoldenEye was originally written with Dalton as Bond, but he turned it down. On June 7, 1994, Brosnan was announced as the fifth actor to play Bond.

Brosnan was signed for a three-film deal with the option of a fourth. He first appeared as Bond in 1995's GoldenEye to much critical praise. Critic James Berardinelli described him as "a decided improvement over his immediate predecessor" with a "flair for wit to go along with his natural charm. GoldenEye grossed US $350 million worldwide. It had the fourth highest worldwide gross of any film in 1995. It was the most successful Bond film at that time.

In 1996, Brosnan formed a film production company entitled "Irish DreamTime" along with producing partner Beau St. Clair. Three years later the company's first studio project, The Thomas Crown Affair, was released and met both critical and box-office success. Brosnan returned in 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies and 1999's The World Is Not Enough, which were also successful. In 2002, Brosnan appeared for his fourth time as Bond in Die Another Day. During the promotion, he mentioned that he would like to continue his role as James Bond: "I'd like to do another, sure. Connery did six. Six would be a number, then never come back."

Brosnan asked EON Productions when accepting the role, to be allowed to work on other projects between Bond films. The request was granted, and for every Bond film, Brosnan appeared in at least two other mainstream films, including several he produced. Brosnan played a wide range of roles in between his Bond film appearances, ranging from a scientist in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks!, to a volcanologist in Dante's Peak and the title role in Grey Owl, a biopic about Englishman Archibald Stansfeld Belaney who adopted the Ojibwa name Grey Owl and become one of Canada's first conservationists.

Shortly after the release of Die Another Day, the media began questioning whether or not Brosnan would reprise the role for a fifth time. Brosnan kept in mind that both aficionados and critics were unhappy with Roger Moore playing the role until he was 58, but he was receiving popular support from both critics and the franchise fanbase for a fifth installment. For this reason, he remained enthusiastic about reprising his role. Throughout 2004, it was rumored that negotiations had broken down between Brosnan and the producers to make way for a new and younger actor. This was denied by MGM and EON Productions. In July 2004, Brosnan announced that he was quitting the role, stating "Bond is another lifetime, behind me"; this is thought by some to be a failed negotiating ploy. In October 2004, Brosnan said he considered himself dismissed from the role. Although Brosnan had been rumoured frequently as still in the running to play 007, he had denied it several times, and in February 2005 he posted on his website that he was finished with the role. Daniel Craig took over the role on October 14, 2005. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Brosnan was asked what he thought of Craig as the new James Bond. He replied, "I'm looking forward to it like we're all looking forward to it. Daniel Craig is a great actor and he's going to do a fantastic job". He reaffirmed this support in an interview to the International Herald Tribune, stating that "[Craig's] on his way to becoming a memorable Bond."

During his tenure on the James Bond films, Brosnan also took part in James Bond video games. In 2002, Brosnan's likeness was used as the face of Bond in the James Bond video game Nightfire (voiced by Maxwell Caulfield). In 2004, Brosnan starred in the Bond game Everything or Nothing, contracting for his likeness to be used as well as doing the voice-work for the character.

2003–present: Post-James Bond career

In July 2003, Queen Elizabeth II awarded 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 citizen of Britain or of one of the Commonwealth of Nations member countries. In 2002, Brosnan was also awarded an Honorary degree from the Dublin Institute of Technology and, one year later, the University College Cork.

On September 23, 2004, Brosnan became a citizen of the United States, but has retained his Irish citizenship. Brosnan said that "my Irishness is in everything I do. It's the spirit of who I am, as a man, an actor, a father. It's where I come from." Brosnan was asked by a fan if it annoyed him when people get his nationality confused. He said: "It amuses me in some respects that they should confuse me with an Englishman when I'm dyed-in-the-wool, born and bred Irishman...I don't necessarily fly under any flag. But no, it doesn't bother me.

Brosnan's first post-Bond role was that of Daniel Rafferty in 2004's Laws of Attraction. Garreth Murphy, of entertainment.ie, described Brosnan's performance as "surprisingly effective, gently riffing off his James Bond persona and supplementing it with a raffish energy". In the same year, Brosnan starred in After the Sunset alongside Salma Hayek and Woody Harrelson. The film elicited generally negative reviews and a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Brosnan's next film was 2005's The Matador. He starred as Julian Noble, a jaded, boozy assassin who meets a travelling salesman (Greg Kinnear) in a Mexican bar. The film was better received than After the Sunset and garnered more positive reviews. Roger Ebert for the Chicago Sun-Times called Brosnan's performance the best of his career. Brosnan was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy but lost to Joaquin Phoenix for Walk the Line.

In 2006 "Pierce Brosnan is Bond again" - he was announced for participating in Aquascutum's rebranding campaign as "Pierce Brosnan is Bond again for Aquascutum's rebranding campaign"

Brosnan's first film of 2007 was Seraphim Falls, in which he starred alongside fellow Irishman Liam Neeson. The film was released for limited screenings on January 26, 2007 to average reviews. Kevin Crust of the Los Angeles Times noted that Brosnan and Neeson made "fine adversaries; Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter thought that they were "hard-pressed to inject some much-needed vitality into their sparse lines.

Pre-production has started on The Thomas Crown Affair 2, the sequel to the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair. The sequel, directed by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, will use Eric Ambler's novel The Light of Day and the 1964 adaptation, Topkapi as a basis. In December 2005, Brosnan was reported to be attached to star in The November Man, an adaptation of Bill Grainger's novel, There Are No Spies, but the project was cancelled in 2007. Brosnan will also be financially backing Caitlin, a film about Caitlin MacNamara, wife of poet Dylan Thomas. The title role will be played by Miranda Richardson and Brosnan will have a small part as Thomas's literary agent, John Brinnin. Brosnan's co-star in Die Another Day, Rosamund Pike, will also appear. Also in 2008, Brosnan joined Meryl Streep in a film adaption of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia!. He played Sam Carmichael, one of three men rumoured to be the father of lead Amanda Seyfried. Streep will play her mother. Judy Craymer, producer to the film, said "Pierce brings a certain smooch factor, and we think he'll have great chemistry with Meryl in a romantic comedy. Brosnan's preparation in singing for the role included walking up and down the coast and singing karaoke to his own voice for about six weeks, followed by rehearsals in New York which he noted "sounded dreadful". He is also currently narrating the US Version of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

In 2009, Brosnan will star in The Big Biazarro, directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall. The film is an adaptation of the Leonard Wise novel of the same name. He plays a card player who mentors a headstrong protégé. Brosnan has also spoke recently of making a Western film with fellow Irishmen Gabriel Byrne and Colm Meaney. Brosnan is also set to narrate "all English language versions of the brand" including seasons 12-14 of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, replacing Michael Brandon in North America and Michael Angelis in the United Kingdom. Actor and director Danny DeVito has stated that Brosnan will join Dakota Fanning and Morgan Freeman in his adaptation of the 1990 novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. He will play "Zachariah, the ship's cook, surgeon, and carpenter.

Personal life

Brosnan married Australian actress Cassandra Harris in 1980 and adopted her two children, Charlotte (born November 27, 1971) and Christopher (born October 6, 1972) after their father died in 1986. Brosnan and Harris had one son together, Sean (birth September 13, 1983). Harris died of ovarian cancer in 1991. In 2001, Brosnan married American journalist Keely Shaye Smith, and they have two sons together, Dylan Thomas Brosnan (birth January 13, 1997) and Paris Beckett Brosnan (birth February 27, 2001).

Brosnan supported John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election and is a vocal supporter of gun control and same-sex marriage. An outspoken environmentalist, Brosnan was named 'Best-dressed Environmentalist' in 2004 by the Sustainable Style Foundation. Brosnan first became aware of nuclear disarmament at the age of nine when worldwide condemnation of the 1962 U.S. nuclear tests in Nevada headlined international news. During the 1990s, he participated in news conferences in Washington, D.C. to help Greenpeace draw attention to the issue. Brosnan boycotted the French GoldenEye premiere to support Greenpeace's protest against the French nuclear testing program. From 1997 to 2000, Brosnan and wife Smith worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to stop a proposed salt factory from being built at Laguna San Ignacio. The couple with Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford and Daryl Hannah successfully fought the Cabrillo Port Liquefied Natural Gas facility that was proposed off the coast of Malibu and would cause damage to the marine life there; the State Lands Commission eventually denied the lease to build the terminal. in May 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the facility. Brosnan is also listed as a member of the Sea Shepherd's Board of Advisors.

Brosnan also raises money for charitable causes through sales of his paintings. He trained early on as an artist, but later shifted to theatre; during his first wife's terminal illness, he withdrew from acting to be with her and took up painting again for therapeutic reasons, producing colorful landscapes and family portraits. He has continued painting since then, using spare time on set and at home. Profits from sales of giclée prints of his works are given to a trust to benefit "environmental, children's and women's health charities. Since Harris' death, Brosnan has been an advocate for cancer awareness and, in 2006, he served as spokesperson for Lee National Denim Day, a breast cancer fundraiser which raises millions of dollars and raises more money in a single day than any other breast cancer fundraiser.

In May 2007, Brosnan and Smith donated $100,000 to help replace a playground on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where they own a home. On July 7, 2007, Brosnan presented a film at Live Earth in London. He also recorded a television advertisement for the cause.Brosnan lives with his family in Malibu,California.

Pierce Brosnan has been an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland since 2001. Pierce recorded a special announcement to mark the launch of UNICEF's "Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS" Campaign with Liam Neeson.

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1979 Murphy's Stroke Edward O'Grady TV-Movie
1980 The Long Good Friday 1st Irishman
The Mirror Crack'd Actor playing 'Jamie' Uncredited role
1986 Nomads Jean Charles Pommier
Remington Steele: The Steele That Wouldn't Die Remington Steele
1987 Taffin Mark Taffin
The Fourth Protocol Valeri Petrofsky/James Edward Ross
1988 The Deceivers William Savage
Noble House Ian Dunross TV miniseries
1989 Around the World in 80 Days Phileas Fogg TV miniseries
The Heist Neil Skinner TV-Movie
1990 Mister Johnson Harry Rudbeck
1991 Murder 101 Charles Lattimore TV-Movie
Victim of Love Paul Tomlinson TV-Movie
1992 The Lawnmower Man Dr. Lawrence Angelo
Live Wire Danny O'Neill
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire Stuart Dunmeyer
Death Train Michael 'Mike' Graham TV-Movie
Entangled Garavan
The Broken Chain Sir William Johnson TV-Movie
1994 Love Affair Ken Allen
Don't Talk to Strangers Douglas Patrick Brody TV-Movie
1995 Night Watch Michael 'Mike' Graham TV-Movie
GoldenEye James Bond
1996 Mars Attacks! Professor Donald Kessler
The Mirror Has Two Faces Alex
1997 Robinson Crusoe Robinson Crusoe
Tomorrow Never Dies James Bond
Dante's Peak Harry Dalton
1998 Quest for Camelot King Arthur
The Nephew Joe Brady also producer
1999 Grey Owl Archibald "Grey Owl" Belaney
The World Is Not Enough James Bond
The Match John MacGhee also producer
The Thomas Crown Affair Thomas Crown also producer
2001 The Tailor of Panama Andrew Osnard
2002 Die Another Day James Bond
Evelyn Desmond Doyle also producer
2004 After the Sunset Max Burdett
Laws of Attraction Daniel Rafferty also executive producer
2005 The Matador Julian Noble also producer
2007 Seraphim Falls Gideon
Butterfly on a Wheel Tom Ryan also producer
Married Life Richard Langley
2008 Mamma Mia! Sam Carmichael
2009 The Ghost Adam Lang

References

External links

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