Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Celebrity Retirement: Too Much Talk, Not Enough Action

You know what I am sick of reading stories about? I am sick of reading about celebrities who claim they are retiring.

I mean, if it was a rare occurrence, I could perhaps see it being newsworthy when the subject came up, but it seems like some performer is always coming out and saying that they are quitting the business.

For instance, just today, I read that Evangeline Lilly is reportedly considering retiring to do aid work in Rwanda.

If she actually does this, I will write a very positive entry about her. I have grave doubts that she will actually do that however. It just seems like something that is calculatingly said to make her look really good... like she is going to give up this ephemeral fame thing and do something tangible to help real people with problems.

And again, I hope she makes me eat those words.

My question is, how many of these people who announce that they are done acting or singing actually follow through with that claim for any substantial length of time? I would be willing to bet it was less than 10 percent. I'm not talking about those people who claim they want to take a bit of time off either. I have no quarrel with them. I just mean the people who say they are retiring.

The bottom line is, if you are intent on leaving the entertainment business, just do it. Don't announce in an interview that you are going to do it. Just do it. If you want to get out of the limelight, or you think you've accomplished enough, you can walk away.

I mean, think about Joe Pesci. He retired, and didn't make a big deal out of it... and when he finally came back to do another role (for Robert De Niro), people talked about it. He left the industry on his terms and came back on his terms.

I am also reminded of Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson retiring and sticking with it (thanks to Jeremy Barker from Popped Culture for uncovering this recent interview).

Basically, every time a celebrity says they are thinking about retiring I remember something that used to happen at the place I used to blog at so many years ago. It was a blogging network, and at times people would get fed up or bored and they would make a huge production about how they were leaving and deleting their blog. What they were really looking for was attention or pleas for them not to leave, but it got to the point where people caught on to that game and pretty much ignored them (because they never really left... even if they deleted their blog, they just came back and started another one).

Do you know what I did when I left? I didn't do or say a thing. I just left and started this blog, so in my own microcelebrity, I still practice what I preach.


Kristyn said...

Would you believe I actually had to google Evangeline Lilly? I don't watch Lost, so I had no idea who she is. I think the only thing I've seen that she was in was Freddy vs. Jason, and even then she was little more than an extra.

What I don't understand is how someone who's done almost nothing retiring? What happened to the old days, when you could look up an actor on IMDb and had to scroll, like, forever to get to the bottom of their work. Like, Gene Hackman or Kevin Bacon, or my favorite, Keanu Reeves, who has 6 things in progress right now! This chick has done practically nothing and now she's "retiring" and going to Rowanda?

She's doing it for the attention, in my estimation. Not going to Rowanda, but saying she will. She wants to retire and go there. It makes me dislike her and I've never even seen her in much. I like the stars that don't seek the lime light when they retire, I think you're right about that!

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't remember celebrities ever talking about retiring until recently. Other than someone like a Johnny Carson or Walter Cronkite who was doing the same job for decades and actually had a tangible job to retire from. I guess musicians can get away with "retiring", but they rarely want to.

What these people don't seem to get is that your typical celebrity doesn't retire - they just don't have a current job.

MC said...

Kristyn: That's what most of those "retirement" talks boil down to.

Thom: And then some of those people end up on reality tv because they want to hold onto the spotlight. I mean, yes, there are a few people that could walk away from it all and when they wanted to come back, Hollywood would be waiting for them... but most celebs don't have that luxury.