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Irish-American actor, Pierce Brosnan (b. 1953), was in kinship and foster care as a child. 

Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in County Meath, Ireland. His father, Thomas Brosnan, left the family soon after Brosnan’s birth. Then his mother, May, left Ireland to work in London when Brosnan was four years old.  

 My mother was very courageous. She took the bold steps to go away and be a nurse in England. Basically wanting a better life for her and myself (Chutkow).

Brosnan remained in Ireland with his maternal grandparents. He felt loved but was often lonely because he was an only child. Brosnan only saw his mother once or twice a year. 

We lived on the outskirts of the town of Navan, so there was the countryside to play in. My grandfather was a really wonderful, kind, gentle man, and very well respected in the community. My grandmother was a darker person, I really can’t speak very clearly about her, but she had a certain magic as well (Chutkow). 

After his grandparents died, Pierce lived first with an aunt, then with an uncle. When relatives would have him no longer, he was “sent to live with a woman named Eileen, who had a place in a poor part of town” (Chutkow). Brosnan shared a room with three lodgers, all of whom were adult men.  

At the very end of the room, there was my little bed. With a curtain around it, with newspapers pinned on it, so the light wouldn’t shine in when the guys came home (Chutkow). 

Eileen had her own children and Brosnan enjoyed playing with them. He remembers Eileen fondly as a “big-bosomed woman, baking bread with the apron wrapped around her. A big, warm momma. And those were my last three years in Ireland” (Chutkow). 

When Brosnan was eleven years old, his mother passed her final nursing exams. On August 12, 1964 he left Ireland to live with his mother and stepfather in London. It was the same day that Ian Fleming, the author of popular James Bond spy novels, died.  

When Brosnan was twelve years old, he asked Roger Moore for his autograph:

…my mom and dad had taken me to Battersea Park. I lined up by the Ferris wheel and waited my turn to get his autograph. I wanted to be somebody like him. Maybe that’s why I waited. Little did I know my time would come to someday enter onto the stage as 007 (Brosnan). 

Although neither had any idea at the time, both Moore and Brosnan would someday fill the famous role as James Bond. 

Only on reflection do I see how much of an influence Roger Moore had on me as a young Irish immigrant lad from the banks of the River Boyne. By the time I came to stand on the stage as Bond, the performances of Sean Connery and Roger Moore were difficult to shake from my DNA (Brosnan). 

When he was young, Brosnan had no desire to be an actor. He began his working life as a trainee commercial artist. But one morning, a colleague invited him to join his theatre club. Brosnan had found his new passion. 

When I found acting, or when acting found me, it was a liberation. It was a stepping stone into another life, away from a life that I had, and acting was something I was good at, something which was appreciated. That was a great satisfaction in my life (Chutkow). 

Brosnan soon gave up his career in commercial art to become the youngest founding member of the Oval House Theater Company. During the day, he worked odd jobs as a waiter, in a factory, and cleaning houses. In the evenings, Brosnan performed in fringe theater. 

After two years as a performer, Brosnan decided to study acting at the Drama Centre London. Over the next three years, Brosnan began to get roles on stage in the West End, on TV, and in films. 

Shortly after finishing drama school, Brosnan met his first wife, Australian actor Cassandra Harris. Brosnan soon moved in with Harris and her two young children. They struggled with finances in the early days of their relationship, then got married in 1977.

We courted, we wooed, we set up a little house together, in Wimbledon, we posed as man and wife… And suddenly I had a family. And two children… It just felt so right, only because Cassie had such faith in me and we had such a wonderful outlook on life (Chutkow).

In 1982, the family moved to Los Angeles to further their careers. Soon after, Brosnan was cast as Special Agent Ben Pearson in the American police procedural, Remington Steele, which aired first in 1982 and continued production until 1987. 

At the age of thirty-three, Brosnan met his father for the first time while filming for Remington Steele in Ireland. He regretted that the meeting took place under these circumstances, as the man felt like a stranger to him.  

Our trip to Ireland generated a lot of press, and I suspected my father might surface. And he did. One Sunday afternoon he came to the hotel. He came up from Kerry, with many first cousins I never knew. There came a knock on the door and you knew that when you open the door, the man you’re going to see is your father (Chutkow). 

Brosnan and Harris’ son, Sean, was born in 1983. The couple were together until 1991, when Harris lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Brosnan began painting as a way of coping with her illness and death. 

Brosnan first met his current wife, Keely Shaye Smith, at a beach party in Mexico in 1994. Smith is an American journalist, author, and TV presenter. The couple married in 2001. They have two sons, Dylan and Paris, who grew up moving between Los Angeles and Kauai, Hawaii.  

Brosnan brought his sons onto movie sets as children where they frequently observed him chatting with fans.  

“I always thought he had a lot of friends, growing up,” Dylan says, “because people would come up to him in the street, and he’s like the nicest guy, so he talks to everyone for a really long time” (Pappademas). 

Brosnan began in the role of James Bond in 1994. He made four films: GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002). 

Brosnan started his own production company, Irish DreamTime, which has produced twelve films. He has starred in many roles for the company, for example as Thomas Crowne in The Thomas Crowne Affair (1999) and as Peter Devereaux in The November Man (2014).  

One of Brosnan’s more recent roles is a DC magical superhero, Doctor Fate, in Black Adam (2022). In his latest film, Brosnan plays a WWII Royal Navy veteran in The Last Rifleman, based on a true story of an octogenarian who returns to Normandy for the seventieth anniversary of D-Day.  

Brosnan and his wife are environmental activists. They have campaigned for the environmental advocacy group the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to successfully protect the last pristine breeding ground for the Pacific gray whale, and to stop the Naval deployment of sonar systems that have been shown to kill sea life. As philanthropists, they have supported forty charities for a range of different causes. They used the proceeds from coverage of their wedding to build a school for children in Tibet to learn practical skills. They also donated $100,000 for a new playground at a local school near their home in Hawaii. 

Brosnan is now a proud grandfather of four. These days, he spends much of his free time painting. Brosnan’s inspirations include Surrealism, and pop artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Brosnan’s retrospective gallery show opened in the Spring of 2023 at Seasons LA. 


Brosnan, Pierce. “Bond on Bond: An Appreciation.” Variety, vol. 336, no.4, (2017): 22-23. 

Chutkow, Paul. “Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan.” Cigar Aficionado, December 1997.,2540,2,00.html 

McKnight, Jenni. “Who is Pierce Brosnan’s wife Keely Shaye Smith? Everything you need to know.” Hello! Magazine, 21 Feb 2023. 

Pappademas, Alex. “The Brosnan boys.” GQ Magazine, 22 Sept 2022. 

“Pierce Brosnan Charity Work, Events and Causes.” Look to the Stars, the World of Celebrity Giving. 

“Pierce Brosnan Irish American Actor.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

Pierce Brosnan Website.  

Shahid, Sharnaz. “Pierce Brosnan celebrates baby news with his family.” Hello! Magazine, 18 Nov 2022. 

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