As he grew older, he pursued acting. A breakthrough occurred when he was acting in London and caught the eye of Tennessee Williams. The legendary playwright requested a meeting with Pierce and subsequently cast him for a small part in "The Red Devil Battery Sign."
Pierce's performance was well received, and Williams sent him a telegram that read, "Thank God for you, my dear boy."
"That made me hungry to be an actor," Pierce told The Guardian. "Once I found the world of acting, I clung to it with all my heart. It was liberating. I always dreamed of the movies. The stage, as exhilarating as it was, always terrified me. I wanted to be up on the silver screen."