Pierce Brosnan Opens Up About Losing First Wife, Daughter to Ovarian Cancer

Pierce Brosnan gave a rare interview about the deaths of his first wife, Cassandra Harris, and his daughter, Charlotte, to Esquire magazine while promoting his new show The Son.


Pierce Brosnan Esquire
Pierce Brosnan in 'Esquire.' Christian Anwander

Harris passed away in 1991 from ovarian cancer. More than two decades later, in 2013, Charlotte died from the same disease at age 41. Brosnan and Harris also had son Sean, 33, and son Christopher, 44. (Brosnan adopted Harris’ children Charlotte and Christopher.)

Pierce Brosnan Cassandra Harris
Pierce Brosnan and wife Cassandra Harris attend the California Fashion Industry Friends of AIDS Project Los Angeles Fifth Annual Fashion Show & Dinner Benefit Salute to Gianni Versace on Feb. 13, 1991, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, CA. Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage.com

“I don’t look at the cup as half full, believe me,” Brosnan told Esquire magazine, reflecting on his past. “The dark, melancholy Irish black dog sits beside me from time to time.”

Brosnan also had a rough childhood. His father, Thomas Brosnan, abandoned him and his family when the actor was an infant in Ireland. Afterward, he mainly lived with his relatives because his mom worked in London. “There were two lodgers — workingmen, one in the factory and one in the sawmill,” he told the mag. “I had a metal bed with a curtain around it…. That was my room and my haven and my space.”

Pierce Brosnan daughter Charlotte Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan and daughter Charlotte Brosnan attend the Official BAFTA aftershow party at Grosvenor House Hotel on Feb. 19, 2006, in London. Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Thomas would later reappear when Brosnan was filming Remington Steele in Ireland in 1984. “I only met Tom the once,” the Remember Me star said. “I had a Sunday afternoon with him. A story about this and that, had a few pints of Guinness, and we said goodbye. 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.”

Brosnan portrays a father in the new AMC series, The Son, which was adapted from Philipp Meyer‘s 2013 novel. His character Eli McCullough works in the oil business and passes on his legacy to his dynasty family. “I know what it’s like to bring up sons and it can be a very arduous road,” he told Esquire. “My fatherly instincts are purely my own. They relate back to no one, because there was no one.”

Pierce Brosnan The Son
Henry Garrett as Pete McCullough and Pierce Brosnan as Eli McCullough in 'The Son.' Van Redin/AMC

Brosnan is now married to wife Keely Shaye Smith. The couple, who tied the knot in 2001, are parents of sons Dylan, 20, and Paris, 16.

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