HS LONDON - Pierce Brosnan has paid a heartfelt tribute to the late Sir Roger Moore in a essay about how the James Bond legend influenced his career.

The 64-year-old Irishman portrayed James Bond after the late acting legend, who passed away in Switzerland last week after losing a short battle with cancer, between 1995 and 2002.

The ‘Mama Mia’ star has recalled how he only realised the ‘Moonraker’ actor had influenced his decision to dedicate his life to the movie industry now he’s older.

Brosnan had always been a fan of Moore since he starred as Simon Templar in spy TV series ‘The Saint’ in the 60s.

In an essay penned for Variety magazine, he wrote: ‘’Only on reflection do I see how much of an influence Roger Moore had on me as a young Irish immigrant lad from the banks of the River Boyne. I guess the combination of Bond and the Saint ignited a flame for fame in my heart of innocent wonder. I wanted to be up there. Roger as the Saint made me believe in his world. And before I knew it, the man who was the Saint transformed into James Bond, an even greater hero to me as a boy.’’

The hunky actor - who played 007 in 1995’s ‘GoldenEye’, 1997’s ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, 1999’s ‘The World Is Not Enough, and 2002’s ‘Die Another Day’ - used to watch his screen idol on the TV and never considered being a movie star ‘’work’’, until he became one himself.

He added: ‘’Having by now fully immersed myself in the magic of movies, and with my appetite for more informed and character-driven work in films, I guess I slowly dreamt of being an actor as I watched their work, which never really seemed like work to me. Of course, I was only 12 years old. Only now after 40 years as an actor do I know the hard road it takes to be one. It’s only now, after all these years, that I know he was a hero.’’