Celebrated Living Spring 2001

"I think style comes from confidence,
it comes from a joy of life."

Who could be more stylish than Pierce Brosnan, who stepped into the handmade shoes of Sean Connery as James Bond? Hailed as "The New Cary Grant," by People magazine, Brosnan packs much substance beneath his impeccable style. Born in County Meath, Ireland, he worked as circus fire-eater, commercial illustrator, and London cab driver before finding his way as an actor, arriving in America to star in Remington Steele. He's currently starring with Geoffrey "Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis as an ever-elegant British spy the film adaptation of the John le Carre novel The Tailor of Panama. In addition to being a movie star Brosnan dedicates his time to a wide variety of environmental causes and charities. And while he lives in Malibu,"California, with environmental journalist Keely Shaye Smith and their children, Brosnan's home is a world, which he he views as constantly threatened. "One likes to breathe clean air, eat healthy food,and drink clean water," he says. "I think we all want that. So if you really like these things and appreciate them, then I think they're worth fighting for." Here are the places and things Pierce Brosnan is fighting to preserve, and the good life lessons he's learned. — Mark Seal

Be Passionate - - and Proactive: "My biggest passion is my family. And my second is the world that we live in. Consequently, I have involved myself in a number of causes, including San Ignacio Lagoon [Natural Resources Defense Council, 212-727-2700; www.nrdc.org] in Baja California Sur, Mexico. San Ignacio Lagoon [the last pristine nursery lagoon for gray whales in the world] is a very remote area and should remain so. The less fingerprints on it, the better. I went with my son. We went out on little boats during the day along this gorgeously ragged and rugged coastline with the whales — the mothers and calves. The mothers would bring their calves up so we could pet them. To be entrusted with a baby whale is one of the most gorgeous sensations. When you see them rise up underneath the boat, their spouts spouting, it's quite magical."

Preserve the Ultimate Luxury: "The ultimate luxury is time. Time to do the things you want to do. Time to be able to take care of your family. Time to enjoy nature. Time to paint or do carpentry. Time to write down your thoughts. But with computers and information and the media, it's very hard to stay still now. There are so many interferences in our lives. Some of them are good. Mainly it's just a bombardment of information. Once in a blue moon I pick up the papers that arrive on the doorstep. But usually I step over them."

Honor Your Home: "My prized possession, I suppose at this moment, is this beautiful house in Malibu. It is a 1950s house shrouded in eight magnificent Australian Christmas trees. It sits on the beach, is spacious enough for the family, yet is very intimate. It's not grandiose, and that's what I like. I like things that are old. I like things with character. I like things that are handmade. I like stuff that has been cared for. Certainly, as a possession, this house has filled the family with great joy."

Never Forsake Your Homeland: "Ireland is a place that I dream of and a place that I want to go back to. I had a very strong passion to go back to Ireland throughout the making of Goldeneye, my first James Bond film. When we got through with the last shot, a car was waiting to take Keely and myself off to Ireland. We went to Dublin and slowly made our way down, following our noses, to Kerry, because that's where my old man was from. I wanted to see where the Brosnan name came from. I looked at people who looked like me: the dark hair, the kind of Chinese eyes. But what I also saw was this glorious land of lush green and rolling hills, dappled with beautiful palms and plants that are now part of my life in Southern California. And what I found was that the Gulfstream of Mexico comes up and kisses the toe of Ireland."

Travel to Places That Transport You: "Bora Bora is one of the most majestic and mystical islands on the earth. When you fly in and this edifice rises up from the clouds, you're transported. It's kind of primeval. I was taken there by Keely a number of years ago. So for our relationship, it has great meaning. We sometimes stay on a friend's boat and have stayed at the Hotel Bora Bora [011-689-604-411]. Both are wonderful. In Malibu, there's the Punta Piuma [818-591-0218], a place that I went to yesterday, actually. Right here in my own backyard of Malibu is this stunning piece of property, which they let out for special occasions. It's at the top of the mountains, and has a prayer circle and a house of Frank Lloyd Wright's design. You step on that land and you're transported."

Embrace the James Bond Within You:"I suppose the epicenter of all that is James Bond would be Goldeneye [876-975-3354] in Jamaica. I went there after the first film I did. Chris Blackwell, the hotelier, owns it. And, of course, it's the home of Ian Fleming. From a very simple dwelling of very charming and elegant lines comes all the grandiose imaginings of this fellow Fleming. It was interesting to be there. There are certain places that have a 'Bondesque' feel. I was in Kuala Lumpur recently. There were elements of that — only elements, though — architecturally. It's so money-oriented, Kuala Lumpur. For sophistication and gambling and the kind of oozing of elegance and mystique and danger, where would that be? I suppose Hong Kong always has it."

Keep Your Tastes  Simple:  "I live a very simple life away from the movies. Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi [310-573-1660] in Santa Monica is the finest restaurant. It's very casual, very Italian, and the food is magnificent. Most people want to open a restaurant and turn a fast buck. There's no face to those restaurants. With Giorgio's, the man [owner and chef Giorgio Baldi] is there. You see him working around the clock. The food is impeccable, tasteful, and so simple, but with all kinds of sophistication and class."

Understand the Secret of Style: "I think style is having confidence and liking one's self. As we all know, when you feel good about yourself, it doesn't matter what you put on. If you feel strong, then you can wear anything. I think style comes from confidence; it comes from a joy of life. You don't have to have money to have style."

Learn How to Mix a Great Martini: "Shaken, because stirring bruises the alcohol. I have no idea of the physics of it, but I heard it and I believe it." 

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