After starring as the lead role in 1997’s “The Boxer,” Mr. Day-Lewis disappeared from the screen. It wasn’t until five years later when the reclusive actor was coaxed by Martin Scorsese to star in “Gangs of New York” alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. During that time, he reportedly took up shoemaking in Italy. In 2002, he told The Guardian: “I didn’t really want to be involved with films. I just wanted some time away from it all. I need that quite often.”
He did not refer to that break as a permanent retirement. Nor did Mr. Day-Lewis announce a retirement after 2012’s “Lincoln,” his last completed film, although he reportedly told friends immediately afterward that he was off to Dublin to spend more time on his family farm.
Hollywood celebrities retire for various reasons: Many cite fatigue and frustration with the limelight. Others aim to spend time on other causes.
Even after announcing their retirements, some eschew them for comebacks. Audrey Hepburn went into semiretirement after 1967’s “Wait Until Dark.” She returned to the big screen nine years later for “Robin and Marian,” starring alongside Sean Connery, and went on to appear sporadically in movies before she died in 1993.
In 2013, Steven Soderbergh, the director of acclaimed films like “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Erin Brockovich,” announced that he was quitting Hollywood, citing his frustrations with the industry. He is currently working on a heist film called “Logan Lucky,” starring Channing Tatum.
Peter Fonda, a friend of Jack Nicholson, told Page Six in January that Mr. Nicholson has “basically retired,” a claim bolstered by the fact that Mr. Nicholson (a three-time Academy Award winner himself) hasn’t appeared in a film since 2010. However, Paramount announced the next month that Mr. Nicholson would be starring in the remake of “Toni Erdmann.”
Mr. Day-Lewis, who was born in London, is married to the actress Rebecca Miller, one of Arthur Miller’s two daughters. They have two sons together. If Mr. Day-Lewis truly doesn’t work in acting after “Phantom Thread,” he will leave behind a colossal body of work. Of his most recent work in “Lincoln,” A.O. Scott wrote in The New York Times, “The most famous and challenging beard of them all sits on the chin of Daniel Day-Lewis, who eases into a role of epic difficulty as if it were a coat he had been wearing for years.”
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