Monday, November 12, 2007

Male on Monday: Pierce Brosnan

This Monday PHS columnist Kate Walker reveals the inspiration behind a couple of her personal favourite heroes.

I’ve always been a sucker for an Irishman. I think I was imprinted with the image of the black-haired, blue-eyed, soft voiced hunk fro the moment that I first met my uncle John, a man who looked like a young James Mason. And that would have been way back when I was in my cot.

So I had no hope of not becoming addicted when I turned on the TV back in the 1980s and discovered a miniseries called The Manions of America and discovered the perfect Irish hero in the 28 year old actor who played Rory O’Manion - Pierce Brosnan. (The series also provided an early role for David Soul, apparently, but I didn’t notice him.)

A couple of years later, Remington Steele made its way over to the UK and I was hooked. Okay, so sometimes I found the series irritating,, ridiculous, but I was happy to watch it if it meant watching Pierce Brosnan. And this was back in the days before I could even justify the indulgence with the name of research. Looking at the pictures from that time, I can only say that Brosnan is a man who has got better with age. He might have been disappointed not to get the role that many people thing he was born to play – that of James Bond - at his first attempt, but personally I’ve always believed that the few extra years between 1986 when Bond was offered to him in the production of The Living Daylights, and 1995 when he actually starred in Goldeneye meant that he was far better qualified to speak the words ‘The name’s Bond – James Bond,’ with just the right style and panache that was needed.

Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born on May 16, 1953, in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland. Brosnan's family moved from his native Ireland to London. His father abandoned him and his mother before his first birthday. Brosnan lived with his grandparents up to the age of eleven, where he later reunited in London with his mother.

Brosnan left school at fifteen and joined and started training in commercial illustration at Central St Martin's College of Art and Design. When he was 16, a circus agent saw him busking as a fire-eater and hired him. He later trained for three years as an actor at the Drama Centre, London. His first major performance came on the London stage in Filumena.

After several stage roles in London, he moved to Los Angeles, where he was offered the lead in the detective series Remington Steele, which debuted in 1982. He won over American television audiences with his good looks and charm. They tuned in to catch the show’s latest mystery and watch the sparks fly between the two lead characters played by Brosnan and his co-star Stephanie Zimbalist. Offered the role of the famous fictional British spy, James Bond, in 1986, Brosnan tried to get out of his contract for the show, but failed. The series ended the next year.

In 1980 Brosnan married actress Cassandra Harris and he adopted her two children Charlotte and Chris. The couple also had a son, Sean. But in 1987 Cassandra wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and on December 28th 1991, she died. 3 years later, he found love again in 1994 after meeting environmental journalist Keely Shaye Smith during an interview and their son Dylan was born in 1997, another son, Paris, was born in 2001, the year in which Brosnan and Keely married marry at Ballintubber Abbey, Ireland.

Besides playing the smooth, but deadly superspy, Brosnan has tackled numerous dramatic and comedic roles, including my personal favourite The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) with Rene Russo, Laws of Attraction (2004) with Julianne Moore, and The Matador (2005) with Greg Kinnear. He is also reportedly slated to appear in a sequel to the comedy smash Mrs. Doubtfire.

In addition to his stellar film and television career, Pierce Brosnan, who is 6'1" tall, with black hair and blue eyes. is a man for whom the word ‘charming’ might have been coined, and he is also deeply committed and involved in charitable and environmental issues.
He 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 prints of his works are given to a trust to benefit "environmental, children's and women's health charities." Since Cassandra's 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 raised more money in a single day than any other breast cancer fundraiser.

He and Keely regularly volunteer their time and talent to support numerous environmental causes such as marine mammal and wetland protection, and anti-nuclear, clean air and clean water campaigns.They are also committed to a long term campaign with the NRDC to challenge the United States Navy's deployment of a new sonar system in over 75% of the world's oceans, citing scientific evidence that low-mid and high frequency sonar poses a grave threat to whales, dolphins, seals, and other marine mammals.

For over a decade, they have lobbied against legislation designed to weaken federal standards for labeling canned tuna "Dolphin Safe." From 1997 to 2000, they worked with the NRDC and IFAW to stop a proposed salt factory from being built at Laguna San Ignacio on Mexico's Baja California peninsula. Their unprecedented victory prevented the destruction of the last pristine breeding ground for the Pacific gray whale.Both the Environmental Media Association and Women In Film have honored them with humanitarian awards, while Heal the Bay, The American Oceans Campaign and the NRDC have honoured them for their ongoing commitment to environmental issues.

In 1997, Green Cross International President Mikhail Gorbachev presented Pierce with an Environmental Leadership Award, citing him as "a truly committed leader whose bold actions and clever voice have been instrumental in marine mammal protection, as well as that of fragile ecosystems." Additionally, they are devoted to women's healthcare and global children's issues. Pierce serves as Campaign Chairman for the Entertainment Industry Foundation

In 1996, Pierce Brosnan and Beau St. Clair formed their Los Angeles-based production company, Irish DreamTime, with the goal of fostering new talent and producing independent and studio films.

Some of his many accolades include a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 Chicago Film Festival, the International Star of the Year at the Cinema Expo in Amsterdam, an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the Dublin Institute of Technology, an Honorary Doctorate from the University College Cork and an Order of the British Empire bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen.

Three years after accepting the Bond role, Brosnan received star number 2,099 on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Dec. 3, 1997.

Recent projects include Married Life, an ensemble piece, written and directed by Ira Sachs and starring Christopher Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Patricia Clarkson is due for release this fall. And Pierce has also been in the Greek Islands filming the musical Mamma Mia.

Oh yes – and Mr Brosnan was also the inspiration for Pierce Donellan in my 1997 book The Unexpected Child and Sean Gallagher in Fiancée by Mistake in 1998.

Kate would love to write another Irish hero but at the moment she's fully occupied with a new Italian hero who is demanding that she write his story.

Her latest book - The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife with - surprise, surprise - a Greek hero is out in both Harlequin Presents and Mills & Boon Modern this month.
To find out more about Kate and her books you can visit her Website or her Blog...
Thanks Kate!


  1. Ooh...I knew there was a reason I loved Pierce...I'm a sucker for the dark haired blue eyed Irish look too!!!

    This is well timed, Kate, as I'm just about to start editing the recent Modern Heat I finished, where Pierce was the inspiration.
    Must get out pics again.
    Must get out collage again.
    Must study those Pierce pics in depth again... ;)

  2. Omigosh!!!

    I absolutely love, love, love, Pierce Brosnan. I grew up on Remington Steele and wouls still watch the reruns if I could. He is just sooooo scrumptious!!!!


  3. Well done, Cathy! I have a real soft spot for Mr Brosnan. In fact I adore him. He was the inspiration behind my hero Jack Devlin in my second Mod Ex book The Mile High Club — black hair, blue eyes, charming but brooding, although not Irish mind you.

    And now I'm going to lower the tone completely and say did anyone notice his exceptionally gorgeous bum in The Thomas Crown Affair? (here's hoping it wasn't a stunt butt!) So nice to know he's such a principled and generous guy to boot. I've got to say, too that I always had a squeaking suspicion Queen Norah used him as her inspiration for Roarke in the In Death stories (at least, I always pictured him in the role). Does anyone else think so too?

  4. Kate, of course I admire your taste in men (and cats) and Pierce is one of the best. He was the 'visual' in my head for Jake Brosnan, the hero of my first Presents, Lightning Storm. I, too, was hooked when I saw him as Rory Manion and I've been an avid Pierce-appreciator ever since.

    Tamelia, you know of course, that you can have all the old Remington Steeles on DVD now so you can watch them over and over to your heart's content.

  5. Kate,

    Now that's plain greedy! Using him as the inspiration for TWO of your books!(G)

    Here's hoping you write plenty more inspired by charming Irishmen.


  6. I've been away teaching in Wales and I've only just got back - good thing I'd written and posted before I went away!

    Nicola - you poor thing - having to do so much redsearch! I admire your dedication to the cause . . . can I join you?

    tamelia - like Anne, I'd suggest you find the DVD os Remington and do a little research of your own.

    Heidi - a great hero inspiration works for so many heroes doesn't he? And it is great to discover that as a man he's a hero material in more ways than his looks. And lowering the tone or not - I agree!! ;-) Pierce as Roarke . . .Hmm now there's a great thought.

    Hi Anne - Sid would have you know that he's a Pierce Brosnan of cats. Great to know you were inspired at about the same time as I was - but then our taste for heroes does run along similar lines. I met someone this weeked who claimed that YOU brought Hugh-in-a-towel to Australia! I had to disillusion her on that!

    Annie? Greedy? I think not! More like a sensible economy - when you find great hero inspiration, you have to make good use of it!


  7. Kate,

    What's not to like about tall, dark & handsome? LOL I've always liked Pierce and remember "seeing" him for the first time on 'Remington Steele.'

    If you want some more inspiration consider the following-even though they are no longer alive -- Gregory Peck and Tyrone Power.