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Pierce Brosnan in Greatest Heists

10 little known facts about Pierce Brosnan

Image: Greatest Heists With Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan is recognised around the world for his portrayal of James Bond in four films from the iconic franchise. But his latest role takes a look at some real-life action figures who are on the other side of the law.

Greatest Heists With Pierce Brosnan explores the most elaborate heists from history to reveal the meticulous planning, daring execution and shocking aftermath of each case. From the Baker Street Heist to New York’s Lufthansa Heist, these are some of the most high-profile robberies of all time.

Ahead of the series premiering Monday, 1st May on Sky HISTORY, here are some little-known facts about our suave and sophisticated host.

1. He was raised by his grandparents

Pierce Brosnan was born on 16th May 1953 in County Louth, Ireland. He had a turbulent upbringing after his father abandoned the family when he was just a child. His mother also moved to London when he was four years old to pursue a career as a nurse and earn more money for the family.

The actor has spoken candidly about his childhood in interviews, describing his family as ‘fractured’ but also calling his mother ‘courageous’ for the sacrifices she made for him. As an adult, he cherishes his family more than ever and likes to remain as close to his children as possible while also allowing them the space to chase their dreams.

2. He originally wanted to be a painter

Pierce has admitted that his school days were ‘pretty tough’ and he left at 16 without any real idea of what he wanted to do. He was a big fan of art, especially painting, and decided to train at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London.

Since shifting his focus to acting, Pierce continues to paint a lot as a hobby. In fact, while away on shoots he will often have a temporary studio set up in his accommodation so he can paint to his heart’s content. In 2018 he sold a painting he’d done of Bob Dylan for $1.4 million to raise money for amfAR, an AIDS research charity.

3. He is a professionally trained fire eater

While attending an acting workshop in 1969, Pierce noticed a professional street performer who was teaching people how to eat fire. He decided to join in and ended up learning a skill that he is still very proud of to this day.

Pierce hasn’t shown off this talent too often throughout his career, although he did perform briefly during an episode of Muppets Tonight.

4. He suffers from claustrophobia

While James Bond may appear to be a man who is afraid of nothing, the truth is that Pierce suffers from quite serious claustrophobia. The fear of enclosed spaces is one of the most common phobias with it affecting approximately 12.5% of the population.

The affliction hasn’t held him back too much throughout his career though. However, there were reportedly several scenes in the 1997 disaster thriller Dante’s Peak that he had difficulty filming.

5. He has a permanent scar on his lip

It’s almost impossible to perform as one of the world’s biggest action stars without picking up a couple of battle wounds. While filming a scene for Tomorrow Never Dies, Pierce was accidentally struck in the face by a stuntman.

The mishap left a pretty significant scar above his lip. The film’s scenes had to be filmed from his left side in order to hide the new injury from the camera.

6. He originally turned down the role of James Bond

Despite James Bond being one of the most iconic roles in film history, Pierce had to turn it down when he was first approached. He was playing the titular character in the television series Remington Steele when the show was cancelled in 1986. He was offered the role of James Bond and was ready to star in The Living Daylights.

However, just before his contract expired, NBC changed their minds and renewed Remington Steele for one more series. Pierce was therefore forced to withdraw from the film and the role went to Timothy Dalton instead.

It wasn’t until 1995 that Pierce’s Bond hit the silver screen. He played the spy in a total of four films; GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.

7. He is known for his extensive charity work

Outside of selling his artwork to raise money, Pierce has worked with numerous charities throughout his life and has been an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland for over two decades. He has helped raise money for organisations in a variety of areas, such as women’s and children’s charities and conservation societies.

On a smaller scale, Pierce and his wife, Keely Shaye Smith, donated $100,000 to replace an unsafe playground at a school near their home in Hawaii.

8. He is the owner of a platinum record

In 2008, Pierce starred in Mamma Mia! the hit musical-film based on the songs of ABBA. Several members of the cast were criticised for their vocal performances, which were recorded live during filming.

However, he took it all in his stride and said he loved the whole experience. He also pointed out that he got to sing with Meryl Streep and that his performance earned him a platinum album for the movie’s soundtrack, so he’s not taking too much notice of the critics.

9. He was once voted as the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

Throughout his illustrious career, Pierce has won and been nominated for several prestigious awards, but in 2001 he won perhaps the most distinguished of them all.

Pierce was named by People magazine as the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’, the year after Brad Pitt scooped the prize. According to the publication, Pierce was chosen because: ‘He's intelligent, captivating and his real beauty emanates from the soul. And, like a fine wine, he's aging beautifully.’

10. He has an affinity with the sea

Having grown up on the banks of the River Boyne and spending many of his childhood weekends on the beaches in Galway, Pierce loves to be near the water. He has lived in Malibu for much of his adult life and has recently set up a more permanent base in Hawaii where he paddleboards, snorkels and fishes. ‘I need the water. I need to be beside the ocean,’ he explained in an interview with Gentleman’s Journal.