Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in Navan, County Meath, Ireland on May 16, 1953. He moved with his family to London in 1964 [apparently on the very same day that Ian Fleming died], where one of the first films he saw was Goldfinger. He became a commercial artist after leaving school, but was introduced to acting by a co-worker who was in a theatre group in the evenings. He left his job for the life of an actor, and entered the Drama Centre in London, where he studied acting for 3 years.
After several years of stage work throughout the UK, he began to work in television and film. His "big break" came with the 1981 ABC-TV mini-series The Manions of America, which led to him getting the title role in the popular long-running detective series Remington Steele, which debuted in 1982.
He moved with his wife and children to Los Angeles, California, where he Steele was filmed. The series was quite successful, running for more than 4 seasons and 92 episodes. It catapulted Pierce to major stardom in the U.S.
Rumors began as early as 1984 that Pierce would replace Roger Moore as the next James Bond. Due to contractural obligations, he was unable to accept the role when it was originally offered to him in 1986. [See "The Road to Bond"]
Pierce remained busy as an actor despite that setback, making TV mini-series, theatrical films and made-for-cable movies, as well as several TV commercials.
On June 8, 1994, Pierce Brosnan was unveiled at a huge press conference in London as the 5th 007. His first Bond film, GoldenEye, grossed over $350 million worldwide, more than any other Bond film to that point. His 2nd Bond film, 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, grossed more money in the US than GoldenEye. His 3rd Bond film, 1999's The World is Not Enough, and had the largest opening weekend in James Bond and MGM studio history.
Aside from the Bond and Steele roles, Pierce has had a varied and extensive film and TV career, playing roles ranging from archeologists to assassins, from Chris Columbus' comedies to Merchant Ivory's costume dramas. He also starred in director John (Die Hard) McTiernan's first feature film, Nomads. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1984 for his portrayal of Robert Gould Shaw in the BBC/Masterpiece Theatre production of Nancy Astor, and he won the Best Actor in a Theatrical Action Film prize at the 1996 Blockbuster Awards, for his role as James Bond in GoldenEye.
In his spare time, he is an accomplished painter. He has also been very active in cancer fund-raising and supporting environmental causes.
His first wife, Australian actress Cassandra Harris (d. 1991), was a "Bond girl" herself, portraying Countess Lisl in For Your Eyes Only. There is a whale watch memorial dedicated to her in Malibu, California. He has 3 children with Cassandra -- Sean (b. 1983) and stepchildren Charlotte (b. 1971) and Christopher (b. 1972) -- and 2 sons, Dylan Thomas (b. Jan. 1997) and Paris Beckett (born Feb. 2001), with his fiancee, former TV correspondent/soap actress Keely Shaye Smith. Pierce became a grandfather in August 1998 when Charlotte gave birth to a daughter, Isabelle Sophie.