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While Daniel Craig’s recent turn as James Bond has ditched some of the more exuberant gadgetry in favour of stone-cold realism, the modern era of 007 arguably owes its success to Pierce Brosnan. Coming six years after Timothy Dalton’s regularly dismissed outings as the super-spy, Brosnan’s quadruplet of Bond films – starting with 1995’s GoldenEye and ending in 2004 with Die Another Day – kick-started the ‘new’ series of movies that continued throughout the turn of the millennium, as well the Drogheda-born actor’s career.

But while Bond fans can be thankful to Brosnan for handling the pressures of the role with aplomb, the star himself was even more grateful for the chance to establish himself at the forefront of the most famous franchise in film history. Four years prior to GoldenEye, he had lost his first wife, Cassandra, to ovarian cancer aged 43, and in the ensuing time Brosnan had been forced to juggle a career on-screen with his duty as a father to three: two stepchildren from ...

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