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CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Profiles of John Walsh, Pierce Brosnan

Aired December 14, 2002 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Crime of the century...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, he's the television force who has helped put many of America's most wanted behind bars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: We're the fifth longest running show in the history of television.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: But before he became a TV crime fighter, a phone call that no parent should have to get.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: I was so heart-broken. I wished I was in another place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: He turned his tragedy into a campaign for justice and children's rights. Now, he's hosting a new talk show, TV crusader, John Walsh.

Then he's the Irish-born actor who pumped new life in 007. Behind the superstar, superspy, a family man who has lost love to tragedy and found it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERCE BROSNAN, ACTOR: You know, you curl up and go on or you raise your head up and get on with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Now, he's taking on a new role in a movie that hits close to home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROSNAN: I'm a father. I'm Irishman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The real man behind James Bond, Pierce Brosnan. Their stories and more now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

DARYN KAGAN, GUEST HOST: Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Daryn Kagan.

When a killer is on the loose, when a child goes missing, when the trial trail goes cold, John Walsh is there rallying a nation of tipsters, flushing out the bad guys. At least, that's the John Walsh that Americans see on Saturday night.

But each weekday, on daytime television, another side of Walsh, that of a talk show host. And the new "John Walsh Show" is as much about passion as it is about crime. It's the latest vehicle for a man who has turned a lifetime of grief into his own personal crusade. Here's Martin Savidge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now from our Washington crime center, John Walsh.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the driving force behind "America's Most Wanted."

WALSH: This week, your tips have led to not one but two captures.

SAVIDGE: John Walsh, the nation's go-to guy, from fugitives to missing children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the hardest working guy that I've ever met in show business.

SUSAN SCHINDEHETTE, CO-AUTHOR, "JOHN WALSH: TEARS OF RAGE": I think he has probably visited almost every single city in the United States talking to people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a man, who in 20 years, hasn't mellowed.

SAVIDGE: John Walsh has become synonymous with crime busting, with catching the uncatchable, with giving a voice to the voiceless. After 16 years on "America's Most Wanted," Walsh is a certified pop culture icon, wrapped in a leather jacket.

SCHINDEHETTE: I think that John Walsh is right up there in the pantheon of both American pop culture and American sociology, and I would dare say American history. You can't get through an airport with this guy. And it's not the big important businessmen who come up and want to talk to him; it's the people behind the food counters, it's the baggage handlers, it's the waitresses in the restaurants.

SAVIDGE: John Walsh has struck a chord in America, in prime time on "America's Most Wanted."

WALSH: Good evening from Washington, I'm John Walsh.

SAVIDGE: His rapid-fire delivery, capable of mustering nationwide manhunts with just a few words. But since September, Walsh has been ministering as much as mobilizing and he's been doing so on daytime television.

WALSH: Thanks for watching. Please stay safe.

ALEXANDRA JEWETT, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE JOHN WALSH SHOW": He's not allowed to come to work in his leather jacket.

SAVIDGE: For "The John Walsh Show," America's best-known crime fighter has traded his leather jacket and tough guy persona for a blazer, a smile, and a studio audience.

WALSH: Thank you.

"The John Walsh Show" certainly is not "America's Most Wanted." It's not about fugitives. It's not all about crime. It's not just about the criminal justice system. It's about a lot of things that I think impact the public, things that I don't have time or the ability to talk about on "America's Most Wanted."

SAVIDGE: Talk show host, crusader, activist, John Walsh has been in the public eye for more than 20 years. Twenty years he never could have imagined. Twenty years no father should have ever had to endure.

John Walsh was born the day after Christmas, 1945, in Auburn, New York, the first of four children.

SCHINDEHETTE: John grew up as part of a big family in upstate New York, Irish catholic, very traditional values. He had a wonderful, wonderful father. And I've met his mother, who has now passed away and she was a lovely, lovely woman.

SAVIDGE: Walsh idolized his parents, especially his father, who was known as Gentleman Jack, or more often by his nickname, Adam.

WALSH: I had a great father. He went to Notre Dame. He was a World War II hero, a B-24 bomber pilot.

SAVIDGE: The Walshes may have had adoring children, but they also had their hands full.

WALSH: I was lucky and blessed, but I was wild. I just loved to have fun. I loved dangerous sports. In those days, you know, people didn't get a gun and kill somebody. You fought. You know, we fist- fought. And, you know, I have to say that I liked bar fighting. I actually liked it.

SAVIDGE: If John Walsh sometimes fought for fun, he more often than not fought to protect. Somewhere early on, Walsh had picked up the idea that it was his job, his duty, to take care of things. SCHINDEHETTE: John really felt this kind of overwhelming sense of responsibility that he was tougher and stronger and smarter and would last longer than anybody who came up against him, and that it was his job to take charge and take care of it.

SAVIDGE: Walsh was popular growing up even more so when he entered college. He was single, and loving it until a young woman named, Reve Drew, walked into his life.

WALSH: I met Reve when I was in college. She was a beautiful lady, very, very attractive. And I remember one of my buddies, I think he was a football player, said, "You know, there's this beautiful gal that wants to meet you over here. And I'm going to take you over and introduce you to her." That was the beginning.

SAVIDGE: John Walsh and Reve Drew began dating. The couple eventually left upstate New York for Florida.

WALSH: I love the water and I love the ocean. I love to dive. I love to snorkel. I used to do a lot of spear fishing. And I love being a beach boy and a lifeguard.

SAVIDGE: Walsh may have been carefree but he was also in control. He was ready to take on the world. By 1971, the self- described hell-raiser was married and working as a marketing executive in the hotel business.

WALSH: I got into the hotel business, which was an exciting business, the resort business. I got involved with the Bahamas. I love the Bahamas, some of the best diving in the world. I love the Bahamian people, very gentle, kind people.

SAVIDGE: Walsh's work took him around the world, away from home, away from Reve.

WALSH: Well, I always thought that being a father would be a huge responsibility. And I think Reve thought the same thing. It wasn't something to take lightly.

SAVIDGE: On November 14, 1974, after more than four years of marriage, Reve gave birth to a baby boy a son, the Walshes named Adam, after John's father.

SCHINDEHETTE: Oh, we said he would be thrilled if it were a little girl or a little boy, we really didn't care. And then he looks at you, and he says, but it was a boy. And after Adam was born, these two carefree people, I think, shifted their sights.

SAVIDGE: The Walshes doted on their new son. They took him to the Bahamas to share John's love of the ocean. They took him to Disney World. Adam was never alone.

WALSH: A lot of people used to say, "Adam is so gracious. He's so loving. He's so kind. He lights up a room when he comes in the room. He speaks, you know, way beyond his age. He's so gentle. He was a great artist. He's an old soul." And it kind of summed up Adam. He was that kind of a loving -- he was so -- he was very different than me.

SCHINDEHETTE: Reve said to me, she said, "I remember it's as if we all just followed him around."

SAVIDGE: The Walshes hovered over Adam partly out of instinct, but mostly out of love, out of joy.

When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, John Walsh's joy turns to grief.

WALSH: We don't exist to bury our children. You're not supposed to bury your children. They're your legacy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (voice-over): From the moment he was born, Adam Walsh was the center of his parents' universe. John and Reve Walsh were a constant presence in their son's life.

WALSH: Reve was a full-time, stay at home, 100 percent devoted mom. She brought Adam school, to private school, brought him every single day, picked him up every single day.

SAVIDGE: If the Walshes were sometimes overprotective, Adam didn't seem to notice. In the summer of 1981, Adam was six, and he was learning to play baseball. And when he wasn't running the base, Adam was with Reve, as she went about her daily routine in Hollywood, Florida.

On July 27, 1981, Reve and Adam Walsh were running errands. It was an ordinary day. They stopped at the Hollywood mall and went into Sears to buy some lamps.

SCHINDEHETTE: She and Adam went into the store, and in the center of the toy department was something that was brand new, brand new. They were called videogames. No one had really seen much of them. And as soon as they got to the videogame, Adam said, "Mom, mom, can I stay here and play with the games?" And she said, "OK, Adam. Now, I'm going to be over in the lamp department. It's just around the corner."

SAVIDGE: Reve didn't specifically tell Adam to stay put. She had never had to warn him before.

SCHINDEHETTE: Reve came around the corner and went back to where the videogames were. And she said to me, "It wasn't just that Adam wasn't there," she said, "It was so quiet all of a sudden. All of a sudden, no one was there."

SAVIDGE: Suddenly, the little boy who strayed had vanished. Reve knew immediately that something was wrong, but she couldn't get anyone to listen. So she called the one person who had always taken charge.

WALSH: And I first demanded to go back to the Hollywood Police Department. It took me about an hour to realize that these police, some of them well intended, some of them with kids of their own, some of them I don't know if they cared or not, but basically didn't have a clue what they were doing, never had a missile child case there let alone one that possible foul play was involved.

SAVIDGE: As the hours turned into days, still no sign of Adam. So, John Walsh turned to his experience in marketing. He and Reve would go before the cameras, grief-stricken parents pleading for their son's return.

WALSH: And with 1.8 children missing, it's damn time somebody did something about it besides me.

SAVIDGE: No matter how painful, no interview was denied.

WALSH: We started, you know, to try to use the media, use whatever, use any resource that I had to try to get that little boy back.

SAVIDGE: Even as John Walsh poured all of his energies into finding Adam, even as he and Reve made their private suffering public, Walsh couldn't ignore a growing sense of dread.

WALSH: There was a time when it dawned on me he's been gone way too long, and we haven't gotten one tip. We haven't gotten one clue. And even though I don't want to say this to Reve, in my heart of hearts, I felt that something was terribly, terribly wrong, and that it had gone way too long.

SAVIDGE: Two weeks after Adam vanished, the remains after small boy were found in a canal 150 miles north of Hollywood, Florida. John and Reve Walsh were in New York at the time. They had just appeared on a national morning show. John was in the hotel by himself when the phone rang.

WALSH: The worst phone call in my life, the worst day of my life. He was my best friend. And he said those remains -- my son was decapitated -- was Adam. And that's all I remember.

I remember smashing things and wrecking things, and throwing things around. And I don't remember breaking them breaking into the room, but I was told they did, security. And I guess they got a hotel doctor, or some -- a doctor from somewhere, and I told them what I had to do was call Reve. I had to find Reve because I didn't want anybody else to tell her. I wanted -- I wanted to tell her myself. I said, "You know, this is going to be the hardest thing that I've ever done. I have to do it myself." And it was the hardest thing.

SAVIDGE: John Walsh, the man who had always taken charge, the man who had always been in control, now found himself without bearing. Walsh's life, his son's life, his marriage, all out of his hands. WALSH: I didn't want to be here. I didn't want to be in a place that allowed children to be killed in that heinous way. I didn't want to be on this planet. I was hoping that I would get killed in an accident so it wouldn't look like suicide and break my mother's heart and my family's heart. I just hoped that I would break my neck or die. I did everything.

SAVIDGE: But no matter how much Walsh wanted to join his son, something inside him wouldn't allow him to give up. When our look at John Walsh continues, tears become rage.

WALSH: I had no idea that when I got to Washington, D.C., it would be so hard that I would be vehemently opposed by the FBI and the Justice Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The abduction and murder of his son, Adam, nearly consumed John Walsh. For a time, he didn't want to go on.

WALSH: I don't know who would do this to a six-year-old child. I can't conceive of it. We don't exist to bury our children. We're not supposed to bury your children. They're your legacy. They're your immortality.

SAVIDGE: Desperate and grieving, Walsh looked for answers, but all he found were more questions.

ERNIE ALLEN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: Twenty years ago, if your child was abducted, you were pretty much on your own. Today, there's a national network for disseminating images and information. There are 50-state missing children clearinghouses. Twenty years ago, there were none.

SAVIDGE: John and Reve started a local missing children center out of their garage. And eight weeks after Adams' death, they testified before Congress on behalf of the Missing Children's Act, which would require authorities to keep files on missing children and unidentified bodies. John Walsh had come to Washington for help, for action. What he ran into was resistance.

SCHINDEHETTE: He was a nobody from Florida, and it was a sad story and he lost his little boy. And they wanted to pat him on the head and have him go away.

WALSH: We don't even know how many of our children are missing.

SAVIDGE: But John Walsh didn't go away. He wouldn't give up.

WALSH: Any coroner will tell that you most children are murdered in 24 hours.

SAVIDGE: And his persistence paid off.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The criminal justice goes far deeper.

SAVIDGE: In 1982, Walsh was there when President Ronald Reagan signed the Missing Children's Act into law. Two years later, Walsh's active activism helped to establish the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.

WALSH: Children are safer by the president...

SAVIDGE: By this time, Walsh was becoming a very familiar face not only in Washington, but also around the country. Walsh continued to hone his on camera skills through press conferences and talk show appearances, appearances that impressed executives at a fledgling new network called FOX.

WALSH: I became a victim of crime when my young son, Adam...

SAVIDGE: They had an idea for a new program that would profile wanted criminals, and solicit tips from viewers.

WALSH: We'll brief you on how outlaws think and behave and where they may be hiding.

LANCE HEFLIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": They tested people like Treat Williams and Hal Holbrook and other people. And they looked around and said, "No, we want something different, somebody who has that certain kind of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that we need." And it just happened that John was leading his crusade for children's rights at the time.

WALSH: I asked Reve. I said, "You know, Reve, they said they want me to do a pilot. I don't know what a pilot is." And Reve said, "You know what, do it. That's what we're about."

WALSH: Good evening from Washington D.C., I'm John Walsh.

SAVIDGE: "America's Most Wanted" debuted in February of 1988.

WALSH: Our first case is from the FBI's ten most wanted list.

SAVIDGE: The first person profiled, David James Roberts, was caught three days later.

ANNOUNCER: "America's Most Wanted" is where America fights back.

SAVIDGE: And the once reluctant John Walsh has been the host for the last 14 years.

WALSH: Good evening.

SAVIDGE: In that time, "America's Most Wanted" has led to the capture of more than 700 fugitives. ANNOUNCER: "America's Most Wanted: Final Justice."

SAVIDGE: From Hollywood, Florida, to Washington, D.C., from activist to television crime fighter. Along the way, John Walsh and his wife, Reve had filled their lives with three more children -- Meagan, Callahan (ph) and Hayden (ph). John Walsh is thankful and proud but he is not without his personal feelings. In August, Reve filed for divorce.

WALSH: About 80 percent of parents of murdered children wind up in divorce. And you know I have a beautiful wife, who's been a great woman, a good woman. And you know, I hurt that woman, and I was a lousy husband. I've always tried to be a good father, but I was a Lousy husband.

SAVIDGE: Walsh says he and Reve are trying to work things out and he's hopeful they are will. Walsh says he's doing the best that he can, but he and his wife are still haunted by the death of their son.

Adam's disappearance and murder has remained a mystery. In 1997, however, John Walsh published "Tears of Rage." In it, he and his co- author combed through Adam's 10,000-page police report. They also named a suspect.

WALSH: I believe that Atis Toole (ph), infamous, horrible, coward, low-life serial killer, who died on death row in Florida from AIDS and cirrhosis of the liver, killed Adam. He had confessed to Adam's murder on several occasions in spite of the media saying that he recanted his story. He didn't recant his confession. His lawyer did.

SAVIDGE: John Walsh is direct. He's tough talking, but he's also empathic. It's a side of Walsh that wasn't on display much until his new daytime talk show.

JEWETT: As an interviewer, John is less of a formal, trained journalist and he's more of a human being that people are easily able to open their hearts to and share their stories.

SAVIDGE: Over the last 20 years, John Walsh has been a tireless advocate not only for children's rights, but also victim's rights. He has fought for new laws and has helped thousands and he's done it all with one person in mind.

WALSH: I have often thought that I wanted to make sure that Adam didn't die in vain, that his beautiful little life wasn't in vain. And I think that he's up there, saying, "Go get them, Dad, hang this there."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: Nearly 2,000 children are reported missing each day in the United States. Most are recovered quickly, but according to the Department of Justice, more than 58,000 children a year are abducted by a non-family member. For more information on how to protect your children, call 1-800-The-Lost.

ANNOUNCER: And next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, he's the Hollywood heartthrob who's had his share of heartache and loss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROSNAN: Life becomes very sweet in the dark moments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: How Pierce Brosnan has moved past the pain when we return.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAGAN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, Pierce Brosnan is Bond, James Bond. But 007's man of action is more than just Hollywood's most famous spy and he's in more than just one movie this holiday season. For Brosnan, the film, "Evelyn" is a more dramatic departure from Bond, a more personal film that in many ways mirrors his own life and losses. Mike Mockler has our profile.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE MOCKLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pierce Brosnan is back, as James Bond.

BROSNAN: I have your attention.

MOCKLER: He's doing what he does best, battling bad guys, bonding with beautiful women...

BROSNAN: Put you back into it?

MOCKLER: ... and saving the world. But Pierce Brosnan is also showing a different side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you come to take me home?

BROSNAN: Yes, yes. I'll be taking you home soon, Beth.

MOCKLER: He's starring in "Evelyn," a drama set in 1950's Ireland based on a true story about a father separated from his children. It's a project Brosnan produced, and one which parallels his own upbringing.

BROSNAN: Well, your being story isn't going to get my kids back now, is it?

I'm a father. I'm an Irishman. There's many reasons for making the story.

What kind of mother would do that?

MOCKLER: Two sides of Brosnan onscreen, reflecting two sides of Brosnan in real life.

ANNE-MARIE O'NEILL, SENIOR EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: He is this handsome, dashing hero of James Bond, but at the same time he is a family man. He seems to have really solid values.

MOCKLER: Values, which have been tested and reaffirmed. Through the grief of losing his first wife, and the joy of finding love again.

BROSNAN: The pain just makes you stronger. The pain just makes you happier, ironically, because when you are in those deepest, darkest moments of some kind of dying, you just -- you can only stay there for too long or so long and then you have to -- you know, life becomes very sweet in these dark moments.

MOCKLER: Pierce Brosnan didn't have an easy childhood. Born in rural Ireland in 1953, his father a carpenter, walked out on the family when Brosnan was two. His mother, Mae (ph), moved to London to study nursing when he was four. Brosnan stayed behind with his grandparents.

BROSNAN: And I was taught by the Christian Brothers who were, you know, a bloody mangled bunch as far as I was concerned. I'm sure they did some good, but I saw no good from the men that taught me, and the boys that were in the school that I was at.

MOCKLER: At age 11, he was reunited with his mother in London. There, the boy who would become Bond saw his first movie.

BROSNAN: This movie called "Goldfinger," this man with a hat that could take your head off, a naked lady covered in gold paint. So for a young Irish Catholic kid who lived in the countryside and was suddenly in this metropolis called London, this was wild. It was amazing.

MOCKLER: In London, Brosnan studied to become a graphic artist, but he also found himself drawn to experimental theater.

BROSNAN: I soaked up all of this energy and this life and joined a company, street theater, worked in the circus, fire eating. I did a couple of shows. That's all it was. I didn't travel. They were looking for clowns and they found one.

MOCKLER: Brosnan won a scholarship to London's renowned drama center and graduated in 1976.

BROSNAN: When I found the world of theater, I found a whole kaleidoscope of people that were not dissimilar to myself that came from broken backgrounds that were dreamers, that were -- but still -- that they were strong survivors in life, and that I could be anything that I wanted to be.

MOCKLER: Brosnan began pursuing a stage career, and in 1977, met a woman who would change his life, actress Cassandra Harris.

O'NEILL: They actually met at one of her parties. She was admonishing him for eating chicken out of the fridge that she was planning for her children's lunch the next day.

MOCKLER: Three years later, they would marry and Brosnan would adopt Harris' two children from a previous marriage, Charlotte and Christopher. The pair would have their own son together, Sean.

In 1980, Brosnan got his first movie role, playing a hit man in the film, "The Long Good Friday." Harris's career was also doing well. She became a Bond girl in 1981's, "For Your Eyes Only."

CASSANDRA HARRIS, ACTRESS: When you're ready to leave, you can take my car.

MOCKLER: And Brosnan happened to meet the film's producers. Then in 1982, Brosnan hit it big. He won the title role in the light- hearted detective series, "Remington Steel." The popular show defined Brosnan as the suave, handsome and sophisticated leading man.

BROSNAN: The heaviest thing that Remington ever lifts is his collar bar, really. He doesn't go in for anything physical. He's a gentleman of leisure, champagne and laughter.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: And he was just charming. It was one of those things like when George Clooney finally broke through in E.R. where everyone sort of said, "Who is this charming, good-looking guy?"

MOCKLER: Brosnan's performance drew the attention of the producers of the James Bond films whom he'd gotten to know through his wife.

ROZEN: It was pretty clear that Roger Moore was getting a little old for the Bond role. You could sort of hear his knees cracking every time he gave chase to a bad guy. So they were shopping for a new Bond and you kept hearing Brosnan's name.

MOCKLER: Brosnan was offered the role, but couldn't take it. NBC, which had canceled "Remington Steele," changed its mind, hoping to ride the Bond buzz surrounding its star. Brosnan was held to the contract and stayed Steele. Timothy Dalton became James Bond.

When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Pierce Brosnan get as second shot at playing 007, but his personal life takes a tragic turn.

BROSNAN: No one escapes the pain. The pain is just going to be there. You either -- you know, you curl up and go on or you raise your head up and get on with it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MOCKLER (voice-over): By the mid 1980's, Pierce Brosnan seemed to have it all. He was an established television star, thanks to "Remington Steele."

BROSNAN: But before I go.... MOCKLER: He'd begun to branch out into the movies, playing a villain in "The Fourth Protocol." Off screen, he was a devoted husband to wife, Cassandra, his companion of a decade.

O'NEILL: By all accounts, Pierce and Cassandra were incredibly close with children they loved and cared for, and it was a very tight- knit family.

MOCKLER: But in 1987, his life turned upside-down. Cassandra was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

BROSNAN: Well, you feel very impotent. I mean throughout those four years, Cassie was the one dealing with the disease. The children, our three children and myself dealt with it. She showed great courage. I had a partner who met it head-on.

MOCKLER: After undergoing eight surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy, Cassandra Harris died in 1991, at the age of 39.

BROSNAN: It was very simple. It's very simple, you just -- we took her off life support in the end. She didn't want that, so, you just pulled the switch.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Was the family there, too, the children?

BROSNAN: No, it was just me. The children were at home. But they knew, so they said goodbye and we made our peace, and it was very simple.

MOCKLER: Thirty-eight-year-old Pierce Brosnan found himself playing two roles. He was an actor, trying to energize his film career and he was a single father to three children.

BROSNAN: It's been tough and heavy this year, just kind of realizing the full loss when you wake up and you realize, you know, she's gone, and you've got the three kids. And you're making the decisions and you're kind of -- you have this inner dialogue the whole time, you know -- Daddy, Mommy, Daddy, Mommy -- within yourself.

MOCKLER: In 1993, Brosnan's career got a much-needed boost, a role in the comedy, "Mrs. Doubtfire."

BROSNAN: I said to my agent, "Look, just get me supporting roles. Forget about leading men. Just get me good character work." And along came this glorious film with this great man, Robin Williams.

ROZEN: He did he exactly what he was supposed to do in the movie. He looked gorgeous. He allowed himself to be made fun of, and he was just fine. And I think that made Hollywood reconsider him. Oh, here's this really good-looking guy who can hold a scene with Sally Field and with Robin Williams and let's see what else we can do with him.

MOCKLER: That something else was Bond, James Bond.

TIMOTHY DALTON, ACTOR: Honey Finey (ph), I'll need travel documents for Tangiers, by British (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MOCKLER: Producers were looking to revitalize the franchise that had been shooting blanks with Timothy Dalton in the lead role. In 1994, eight years after being offered the part, an older and wiser Brosnan finally became 007.

BROSNAN: You were expecting someone else?

MOCKLER: "Goldeneye" grossed more than $350 million worldwide.

ROZEN: Pierce Brosnan has a twinkle in his eye and is a more knowing Bond. It's a Bond who is sort of -- the whole time he's winking at you.

MOCKLER: Meanwhile, Brosnan's personal life was also transforming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you are not dating, forget it, how can someone get if touch with you?

BROSNAN: You bold woman, you. Well, I am dating. I'm dating a lovely lady called Keely Shaye Smith. So I'm happy, sorry.

MOCKLER: Smith was an environmental journalist. The two had met in a 1994 benefit for Ted Danson's American Oceans Campaign in Mexico.

O'NEILL: They apparently were attracted to each other, and he asked her out on a date. And then three nights later, they went out on this date and they stayed up until three in the morning talking.

BROSNAN: She's a beautiful woman and has given me great gifts in life and given me a -- and has given me a rebirth in many ways.

MOCKLER: In 1997, the couple had a child of their own, Dylan Thomas.

BROSNAN: I am the diaper changer and I've got it down to nine seconds. I do well.

KEELY SHAYE SMITH, ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALIST: He's very good.

BROSNAN: And this is a wonderful mama.

SMITH: I see he changes, so that's a good system. I must say, yes. I'm very -- I'm very lucky.

MOCKLER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, wedding bells are ringing, but the big day is postponed by a near tragedy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAGAN: Pierce Brosnan moves beyond Bond when we return, but first a Bond that went bust in this week's "Where Are They Now?"

ANNOUNCER: George Lassenby may be the most elusive James Bond of all time. He played bond in 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," his one and only James Bond movie. So where is George Lassenby now?

Now 63, Lassenby has taken on some big roles mainly on television. He starred on the short-lived 1984 soap opera, "Rituals."

GEORGE LASSENBY, ACTOR: Aren't you afraid of catching pneumonia?

ANNOUNCER: He also had a guest appearance on NBC's "The Pretender." He appears occasionally at James Bond fan conventions. Now, Lassenby is also a newlywed. He married former tennis pro, Pam Shriver, this past year.

Our look at Pierce Brosnan will continue after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOCKLER (voice-over): "Goldeneye," "Tomorrow Never Dies..."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bond.

MOCKLER: "The World is Not Enough."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Brosnan.

MOCKLER: James Bond films have made Pierce Brosnan an international superstar.

BROSNAN: When I came her 15 years ago, I remember coming here with my children and go down to the Hollywood walk of fame. You go down. You look at all the stars. You look at the people. You never think that you're going to end up on the sidewalk with a star.

MOCKLER: The role of the world's most famous secret agent fit Brosnan like 007's tuxedo, perfectly.

BROSNAN: Because of what happened in '86, after "Remington Steele" got canceled and being offered it and it being taken away from me, so when it came around those years later, there was a maturity, there was a confidence in oneself as an actor, as a man, and it worked.

Jinx.

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS: Oh, James! James! No, no, turn it off.

MOCKLER: Brosnan's latest bond film, "Die Another Day" is his fourth. Co-starring Oscar winner, Halle Berry, it grossed over $100 million in the first two weeks of release.

LEE TAMAHORI, DIRECTOR, "DIE ANOTHER DAY": He's taken over so success from Connery; there are those who would say he is the best Bond. He's made it his Bond and he's phenomenal.

BROSNAN: In some respects, I may have painted myself into a corner with playing a certain type of character. I'm fully aware of the type casting. I mean how could I not be? But there's more to life than Bond.

There's five grand there. Say it's on account of research. Call it entertainment expenses.

MOCKLER: Brosnan has tried to broaden his onscreen image. He received critical acclaim for his work in last year's, "The Tailor of Panama," playing the seedy secret agent.

Show me around a little.

ROZEN: Brosnan was terrific. He was playing it -- he brought this resonance to it because you knew he was James Bond and now, he was doing the anti-James Bond. But it was a smart performance. There was a real intelligence at work.

MOCKLER: Bond's multimillion-dollar paydays have also allowed Brosnan to produce his own movies, including the 1999 remake of the Steve McQueen heist film, "The Thomas Crown Affair.

BROSNAN: When we started working on the film, I didn't want to make a heist about money. Money doesn't particularly mean -- turn me on that much, but if I could steal something, and I love art and I paint, it would be great to walk into the Met and just take a painting.

MOCKLER: Brosnan's latest production is something different, "Evelyn" a drama set in 1950's Ireland.

BROSNAN: Hey, O'Leary, how is it now?

I'm at a point where I crave it and want it, to now really do what I set out to do when I was a younger actor and that was to play many different parts.

MOCKLER: Based on a true story, Brosnan plays Desmond Doyle, an Irishman who is abandoned by his wife and then had his children taken away from him and put in orphanages.

BROSNAN: If you ever lay a finger on my daughter again, I will tear you limb from limb.

You have to rattle the cage. You have to rattle your own psyche and just step outside and try different parts, emotionally. And that's just the work that I do in this film. You know, I just -- it was always there. It just that I hadn't done it and it hasn't been seen.

MOCKLER: Off screen, Brosnan is now the father of five. In 2001, he and Keely Shaye Smith had their second child, another son, Paris. O'NEILL: They seem to have a really happy relationship. He's very involved with their two young children. You know, they've got this big family and they do seem to have created another close-knit environment.

MOCKLER: However, the family suffered a serious scare in April 2000. Pierce's then 16-year-old son, Sean, was seriously injured when the Chevy Blazer he was riding in went off a Malibu cliff.

O'NEILL: The wedding was to be in May 2000, but then Sean had his accident and Pierce said he wanted his son to be able to dance at his wedding.

MOCKLER: Sean would recover, and Brosnan and Smith finally tied the knot in August 2001.

O'NEILL: Their wedding was a fairy tale wedding. It was in a castle in Ireland. They flew in 120 guests from L.A. and New York and London. All the family was there. And Keely, as a gift to Pierce, gave him a copy of a Rodin sculpture in ice. And he gave her the gift of spectacular fireworks at the end of the night.

MOCKLER: It's a love affair that Brosnan isn't shy about sharing with the world, including at this year's Chicago Film Festival where he received a lifetime achievement award.

BROSNAN: I would also like to thank my beloved wife, who made me live again and feel again, and I owe her the world. I love you dearly. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Question for both of you. What's the secret to a happy marriage?

BROSNAN: Solving problems, learning how to solve problems in life, head-on, with love.

SMITH: True love.

BROSNAN: True love.

SMITH: True love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And action.

MOCKLER: Brosnan will play James Bond one more time, but before then, he has another mission. The man named "People" magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" last year will turn 50.

BROSNAN: Bring it on, great. There's nothing I can do about it. You die if you worry and you die if you don't, so why worry, you know? Oh, it rattles me, yes. Yes, sure. It gives one pause to think and reflect and how did I get here so quickly, where did it all go? But ultimately, it's been wonderful. If I had to go tomorrow, I have had a great life.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KAGAN: That's it for this edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Daryn Kagan. Thanks for joining us.

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