Pierce Brosnan Gets Candid About Growing Up Without a Dad and Developing 'Fatherly Instincts' On His Own
By Zach Seemayer
Pierce Brosnan is opening up about learning how to be a dad without having had a father in his own life.
The former James Bond star recently sat down with Esquire for a photoshoot and a candid interview about his turbulent life, while promoting his new AMC Western drama series The Son.
In the series, set in Texas during the Mexican Revolution, Brosnan plays Eli McCullough, the head of a cattle baron dynasty who begins to shift his family's interests into the burgeoning oil business.
The series deals heavily with family legacies and the relationships between fathers and sons. Eli's character struggles with the impact of growing up with an absentee father -- an experience Brosnan can relate to.
"I know what it's like to bring up sons," said the 63-year-old star, who has four of his own. "It can be a very arduous road… My fatherly instincts are purely my own. They relate back to no one, because there was no one."
The actor's father, Thomas, abandoned the family when Brosnan was still a baby growing up in a small town in Ireland. In need of work, Brosnan's mother, May, moved to London, leaving the young child to live with relatives.
According to Brosnan, he only met his father once, when he was 31, while filming an episode of his hit TV series Remington Steele in Ireland.
"I had a Sunday afternoon with him… [we shared] a story about this and that, had a few pints of Guinness, and we said goodbye," Brosnan recalled. "I would have loved to have known him. He was a good whistler and he had a good walk.... That's as much as I know about him."
In the emotional interview, Bronsan also opened up about losing his wife, actress Cassandra Harris, their daughter, Charlotte, and his long-time producing partner, Beau Marie St. Clair, all to ovarian cancer.
"I don't look at the cup as half full, believe me," Brosnan said. "The dark, melancholy Irish black dog sits beside me from time to time."
Bronsan and Harris were married for 11 years before she died in 1991 at age 43. Charlotte -- who was Harris' daughter from her previous relationship with Dermot Harris, and later legally adopted by Bronson -- died nearly 12 years later in 2013. St. Clair died in January 2016.
In 2001, the actor remarried, tying the knot with journalist Keeley Shaye Smith. The couple share two sons of their own, 20-year-old Dylan Thomas and 16-year-old Paris.
While not filming, Brosnan said he's beginning to appreciate his respites from work, and has taken up painting while splitting his time between the family's home in Malibu, California, and their home in Hawaii -- which he said he considers his two main indulgences.
"You don't need a big home," Bronsan explained. "You need a good table to sit at, a good bed to sleep in, a view, and a great bottle of wine."
Brosnan's interview appears in the April issue of Esquire. The star's highly anticipated period drama, The Son, premieres Saturday at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 8 p.m. CT on AMC.