Pierce Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland on May 16, 1953. Brosnan was an only child whose father, Thomas, worked as a carpenter, and mother, May, worked as a nurse. Brosnan considers Navan, County, Meath, to be his hometown. He lived his first 12 years there before his parents split, and he moved to London with his mother.
Brosnan worked as a stage manager in London and studied drama, picking up theater work where he could find it. He also studied to be a painter and considered a career as a commercial illustrator but couldn’t stay away from the theater.
In 1982, Brosnan moved to Southern California and his career took off when he landed the lead role in the TV detective series Remington Steele. Brosnan’s first hit on the big screen was Mrs. Doubtfire in 1993.
He had been offered the James Bond role in 1986 but couldn’t take it because of contractual obligations with the Steele show. In 1995, Brosnan finally got the chance to play the iconic role in Goldeneye. He played Bond three more times: Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day before Daniel Craig took over the role in 2006.
Ask Brosnan his the movie he’s most proud of, however, and he will answer without hesitation: The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). Other successful films include The Tailor of Panama (2001), Laws of Attraction (2004), The Matador (2005) Mamma Mia! (2008) and The Ghost Writer (2010).
A Thomas Crown sequel, The Topkapi Affair, is in the works for 2012, with Angelina Jolie co-starring.
Brosnan was nominated for a Golden Globe supporting actor award for his performance in the TV series Nancy Astor in 1985. He won the Blockbuster Entertainment favorite actor award for his performances in the Thomas Crown Affair and The World Is Not Enough in 1999.
In 1997, he got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Brosnan married Keely Shaye Smith, a television journalist, in 2001. They have two children, Paris and Dylan. Brosnan’s first marriage, to Australian actress Cassandra Harris, lasted from 1980 until her death in 1991. He adopted her two children, Charlotte and Christopher, and they had a son, Sean.
Brosnan hasn’t been shy about political activism. He has been an outspoken supporter of gay marriage, Greenpeace and numerous environmental causes.
He has been especially active in marine environmental efforts, campaigning to preserve whales, dolphins, tuna and seals. In 1997, Green Cross International President Mikhail Gorbachev honored Brosnan with an Environmental Leadership Award.
Brosnan has also begun selling his paintings to raise money for charitable causes. After giving up art for the theater, he started painting again in the 1980s during his first wife’s illness. He said he found art to be therapeutic during the difficult times.
Becoming an American:
Brosnan says he “got lucky” when he came to America. He says he didn’t get serious about seeking citizenship for over two decades.
He finally became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 23, 2004. He says he had no choice in the matter. President George W. Bush made him do it.
"I had to! I became an American so I could have a voice and vote Bush out of office,” Brosnan said while filming in the Bahamas in 2004. “It is tragic what he has done, from the war in Iraq - where are the weapons of mass destruction? - to the environment. I have lived in America for 23 years, I have an American wife (Keely Shaye Smith), three American sons, and I love this country and it saddens me to see what Bush has done."
Brosnan also has retained his Irish citizenship, saying, “Irishness is in everything I do. It’s the spirit of who I am.”