Pierce Brosnan

Thanks to his casual charm and self-deprecating comedic chops, Irish-born actor Pierce Brosnan firmly established himself as a commanding presence with his first introduction to American audiences as the sophisticated, but often inept con man-turned-private investigator, "Remington Steele" (NBC, 1982-87). Almost immediately, there were calls in the media for Brosnan to assume the mantle of James Bond from the aging Roger Moore. But strict contractual obligations for television actors prevented him from departing to take on the role many felt he was born to play. Once free of his contractual obligations, Brosnan made his first of four appearances as the debonair agent 007 in "Goldeneye" (1995), a high-octane adventure that revamped a franchise thought to be on its last legs. After three more blockbuster Bond films, "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997), "The World is Not Enough" (1999) and "Die Another Day" (2002), Brosnan was unexpectedly cut lose by producers with little explanation. Brosnan managed to subvert his suave image with an uproarious performance as a brash hit man in "The Matador" (2005), which not only helped heal his wounds of losing out on Bond, but also allowed him to demonstrate a wider range many before had thought he lacked.