May 30, 2017 12:25 PM

Pierce Brosnan is paying tribute to the man he calls his “first real hero.”

Though Brosnan briefly paid tribute to James Bond predecessor Roger Moore after the 89-year-old’s death last week, the actor elaborated in an essay for Variety in which he recalls seeing Moore for the first time on screen and feeling inspired to pursue acting.

“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,” Brosnan, 64, wrote. “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.”

The actor also recalls meeting Moore for the first time as a young boy and how he was the only actor he ever asked for an autograph, remembering how he “wanted to be somebody like him.”

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Before Brosnan would go on to play Bond in four films between 1995 and 2002, he had his first introduction to the sleek secret agent world when his late wife, Cassandra Harris, was cast as a Bond girl in Moore’s fifth outing: For Your Eyes Only.

“By then Roger was the man — the world was at his feet,” he recalls. “He was most gracious to the children and myself.”

Brosnan also praised Moore for portraying the iconic character “with exceptional skill and comic timing laced with a stiletto vengeance.”

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“Sir Roger enthralled the world for many years as Bond. Sir Roger played it to the end with impeccable good manners and a wicked sense of irony that was born of years upon the stage,” he added.

The Remington Steele star also said he remained in “awe” of the fellow actor until the end.

“By the time I came to stand on the stage as Bond, the performances of Sean Connery and Roger Moore were difficult to shake from my DNA. Roger came down to set one day on GoldenEye and wished me well. I was still in awe of the man,” he concludes. “Last time I saw him was at the Albert Hall for a tribute to Cubby Broccoli. What more can one ask for? I am so proud to have known the kindness and humanity of Sir Roger Moore.”

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