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Brosnan. Pierce Brosnan.

Pegged as the best Bond since Sean Connery, the former "Remington Steele" star takes a hard look at himself.
Paul Chutkow
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97

(continued from page 5)

"No. No. And of course the burning question beneath the course of the conversation was, 'Why did you leave?' But how do you cut to such a question after such a long absence? I was 33 at the time. I had been angry with him. And I was angry after the meeting. Because I didn't ask him the questions. There was enough pain already."

During his third year doing "Remington Steele," Brosnan developed a taste for fine cigars. "I wouldn't call myself a connoisseur, but I know a good cigar when I see one. I enjoy them. People give me fine cigars and I enjoy sharing them with people who really appreciate a fine cigar. There have been times when I've gone out with business guys and smoked cigars, and they've been among the most pleasurable evenings I've had. Good cigars and good company. Hard to beat."

Years later, when he made the recently released Dante's Peak on location in Idaho, cigars again proved to be one of the great pleasures of his day. "I had my fishing rod with me, I'd take a walkie-talkie with

me, so the set could be in communication with me, and I would spend the morning fishing. Or sometimes I'd go out in the evenings. The cigar was always a great companion."

Painting, too, remains one of his closest companions. His work is figurative and he works with color, and he usually travels with an easel and paints. "Painting and smoking a good cigar is wonderful," he says. "They help me relax."

As his El Rey del Mundo burns down low, Brosnan comes to his first rendezvous with Bond. In 1986, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, the famous Bond producer, was looking for the right man to take the mantle from Roger Moore. Brosnan was exactly what Broccoli had in mind. "I was offered the Bond, I tested for the Bond, came here to the studio. I had been through wardrobe and had even been photographed with the late Cubby Broccoli. But there was a clause in my contract [for "Remington Steele"] that said if the show got canceled, NBC had 60 days to try to place it with another network." On the 59th day, NBC decided to renew the series, and Mary Tyler Moore Productions refused to let him out of his contract.

"Cassie, I think, took it harder than I did. Because you want for your partner in life, you want the best for your partner. It just didn't happen. Timothy Dalton was signed the next day. And I became the guy who coulda been, shoulda been, might have been Bond."

Losing Bond hurt--and worse was to come. By now Brosnan had expanded his credentials with lead roles in the NBC miniseries "Noble House" and in a miniseries for the BBC called "Nancy Astor," and he had co-starred with Michael Caine in the film version of Frederick Forsyth's The Fourth Protocol. In 1987, still fuming about the Bond that should have been, Brosnan and Harris went to India, where he was to play the lead in The Deceivers, a Merchant-Ivory production.

During the shoot in India, in the baking heat of Rajasthan, the usually effervescent Harris began to tire and feel run down. "She got very fatigued, very worn out, and we weren't sure what it was. She had had pain, slight pains, and in a checkup, six months before, the doctor had said, 'It's all right. Don't worry.' If only he had looked closely. When we finished in India, we came back to London. She went to the doctor and he took her into the hospital the very next night."

The diagnosis was full-blown ovarian cancer. "A young woman making her way through life, as a mother, as an actress. When your partner gets cancer, then life changes. Your timetable and reference for your normal routines and the way you view life, all this changes. Because you're dealing with death. You're dealing with the possibility of death and dying. And it was that way through the chemotherapy, through the first-look operation, the second look, the third look, the fourth look, the fifth look.

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