Pierce Brendan Brosnan (Honorary) OBE (born May 16, 1953) is an Irish actor and producer, who currently has United States citizenship. He is best known for portraying James Bond in four films: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. His fans credit him with reviving the James Bond film series after a six year hiatus caused by the major legal and financial issues of MGM, the distributor of the series.
Biography - Early life
Born an only child in Ireland in Drogheda, County Louth, Brosnan lived in nearby Navan, County Meath. He was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. 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. After school, Brosnan desired to be an artist and started training in commercial illustration. 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, he became a television star in the United States with his leading role in the popular miniseries Manions of America starring with Kate Mulgrew, David Soul and Linda Purl. He followed this with his 1982 portrayal of Robert Gould Shaw in the Masterpiece Theatre documentary that chronicled the life of Virginia-born Lady Nancy Astor - the first woman to sit in British Parliament. His stunning portrayal of the love deprived Shaw garnered Brosnan a 1985 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. In 1982, Pierce shot to popularity in the United States playing the ruggedly handsome title role in the popular NBC romantic detective series Remington Steele, starring opposite Stephanie Zimbalist as agency creator Laura Holt. In 1986 Brosnan was actually offered the job as James Bond before the Remington Steele series could be completed, but he was unable to break the contract with the producers. In 1992, he shot a pilot for NBC called Running Wilde, playing a reporter for Auto World magazine whose stories cover his own wild auto adventures. Jennifer Love Hewitt played his daughter, but the series wasn't picked up and the pilot never aired.
Brosnan had been recognized as a potential for the portrayal of James Bond as early as 1981, on the set of For Your Eyes Only, where director John Glen spotted the actor with his wife Cassandra Harris (who was appearing in the film), and believed he would be highly suited to the role.
In 1986, with Roger Moore's retirement from the role, Timothy Dalton was approached once again, after previously having turned it down when Sean Connery quit in 1971; however, the 1986 film adaptation of Brenda Starr kept Dalton from being able immediately to accept it. A number of actors were then screen-tested for the role - notably Sam Neill - but ultimately passed over by Cubby Broccoli. Brosnan, whose television series Remington Steele had just ended, was offered the role, but publicity revived Remington Steele and forced Brosnan to back out of the role of James Bond, due to his contract with the show. Dalton then became available and accepted the role for The Living Daylights (1987), which was a box-office success; his 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 the cancellation of a proposed third Dalton film in 1991 (rumoured 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 had inspired him to enter show business.
Aware of the danger of being typecast as James Bond, Brosnan asked EON Productions, when accepting the role, to be allowed to work in other projects between Bond films. The request was granted, and for every Bond film, Brosnan appeared in at least two mainstream films, including several he had produced. For a time, rumour was that his Bond contract forbade him from wearing a dinner suit in any non-Bond film; that rumour 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 the title role in Grey Owl, a biopic about the eponymous Canadian conservationist.
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, and Brosnan returned 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 fans were divided about whether it was great and a huge step forward for the franchise, or one of the weakest entries in the series - shattered all previous Bond films in terms of worldwide box office gross, and is currently the highest-grossing Bond film of all time (although not with inflation counted.)
In early 2004, 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; it was his last performance as James Bond.
Shortly after, the media began questioning whether or not Brosnan would reprise the role for a fifth and final time, (in Casino Royale). Brosnan kept in mind that both aficionados and critics were unhappy with Roger Moore playing the role well into his fifties, but here he received popular support from both critics and the franchise fanbase for a fifth installment. 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 rumoured numerous times to have been 'fired' from the role to make way for a new and younger actor. This was denied by MGM and EON Productions. 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 he 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. Unconfirmed reports cite that disagreements over creative control and financial terms were why negotiations broke down.
After the announcement of Craig as the next 007, Brosnan's Bond wax figures at all Madame Tussauds venues - including London, New York City, and Las Vegas - were removed. While it may be incorrect to suggest that Brosnan was fired from the role, as 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.
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