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Saturday, 4 August, 2001, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Brosnan's life behind Bond
Pierce Brosnan
Brosnan has starred in three Bond films
Pierce Brosnan blasted his way onto the big screen as the tall, dark and handsome James Bond only six years ago.

His role as the suave ladies' man with a penchant for gadgets is one that suits the star well - Brosnan is only the third actor to have played Bond in more than two films.

The other two stars are, unsurprisingly, Sean Connery and Roger Moore, putting the Irish-born Brosnan in good company as far as die-hard fans are concerned.

He has starred in three Bond films: The World is Not Enough (1999), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and GoldenEye (1995). A fourth film is in the pipeline.

The World is Not Enough
He stars as the daring, womanising secret agent
But playing the globe-trotting secret agent is not Brosnan's only claim to fame.

He also landed the starring role in successful TV detective show Remington Steele in 1982, along with co-star Stephanie Zimbalist.

When the series was due to end in 1986 he was snapped up by Bond's producers to star as the secret agent.

But Brosnan, now aged 49, had to turn down the glamorous part when Remington Steele was commissioned for a fifth series. Brosnan found himself contractually obliged to remain with the show.

Instead, the role went to Timothy Dalton.

Brosnan and Shaye Smith
Brosnan and Shaye Smith have two sons
So it was not until 1995 that he could finally raise an eyebrow and truly say: "My name is Bond, James Bond."

All of this was, of course, a lifetime away from his beginnings in Ireland. Born in 1951 in Navan, County Meath, his family moved to London when he was a young boy.

After leaving school he worked as a commercial illustrator before training at the London Drama Centre.

The young actor found work in the West End before making his first film appearance in 1980 in The Long Good Friday, a British gangster movie.

One TV mini-series later and Brosnan found himself up for the part of Remington Steele in 1982.

Tragedy

The show proved immensely popular, and Brosnan's on-screen chemistry with Zimbalist had viewers hooked.

But while his career was taking off, Brosnan suffered great tragedy in his personal life.

After Remington Steele finally ended in 1987, the star had to cut back on filming when his wife Cassandra Harris Brosnan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The actress died on December 29, 1991, leaving two children from her first marriage and a third from her 10-year marriage with Brosnan.

He adopted his first wife's children, Charlotte and Christopher, after their father died in 1986.

Sean Brosnan
Sean Brosnan survived a horrific car crash
The actor managed to rebuild his life, however, and found a new relationship with former TV actress Keely Shaye Smith, 36.

The couple have two young sons, Dylan, born in 1996 and Paris, who was born last February.

They planned to marry last year but were forced to postpone the wedding after Brosnan's son Sean was in a car crash.

Sean Brosnan, aged 16 at the time, suffered multiple fractures and spinal injuries when the vehicle he was in plunged down a bush-covered bank on the Malibu coast.

Brosnan said afterwards that the medical team saved his son from "the jaws of death".

Grey Owl
Grey Owl: Straight to video in US
But despite such personal trauma, the actor was able to continue working.

He took parts in several TV shows before landing a starring role in a film adaptation of Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man in 1992.

Brosnan played a scientist who played God with a simple-minded gardener by giving him access to intelligence-enhancing drugs and virtual reality.

Several films followed, including a minor role in Mrs Doubtfire, starring Robin Williams, before the Bond role was his.

'Lazy'

But when GoldenEye came out in 1995, a Bond film had not been made for six years, and there was no certainty it would still appeal to audiences.

Brosnan persevered regardless and won over both fans and critics alike.

But his career has had its troubles, and Brosnan was outspoken last year over his film Grey Owl.

Last November he accused Hollywood executives of being "lazy and lacking in imagination" over their decision to send it straight to video in the US.

The film, which cost 20m, is the true story of an Englishman who hid his true identity to live the life of a Canadian Indian.

Producer

He had more success with The Thomas Crown Affair, in which he starred and co-produced.

The 1999 re-make of the Steve McQueen classic, co-starring Rene Russo, was received well by critics.

It was the third film Brosnan produced, alongside The Nephew in 1998 and The Beautiful Game in 1999.

In the same year, The World is Not Enough netted $37m (23.25m) at the US box office over its opening weekend - the best ever opening for a Bond film.

And with another Bond spectacular up his sleeve and his wedding in Ireland finally taking place, Brosnan can sit back and enjoy some hard-earned happiness.

See also:

16 May 00 | Entertainment
007 forced to postpone wedding
25 Apr 00 | Americas
Brosnan's son on the mend
01 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Brosnan defends 'imperfect' Grey Owl
14 Aug 99 | Tom Brook
Brosnan bonds with McQueen role
22 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Bond's box office record
15 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Brosnan's hometown honour
19 Aug 99 | Edinburgh Festival 99
Brosnan crowns film festival
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