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Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis has announced his retirement from acting.
Day-Lewis’ publicist, Leslee Dart, said Tuesday in a statement: “Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor. He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years. This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject. ”
Day-Lewis’ last film, which has a Dec. 25 release, will reunite the actor with his There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson. While it has been reported to have the working title Phantom Thread, the film is still officially listed by its distributor as Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project. From Annapurna Pictures and Focus Features, it is set in 1950s London and will see Day-Lewis playing a fashion designer who caters to high society. According to Dart, the actor plans to participate in promotion for the movie, which is expected to be an awards-season contender.
Extremely selective about the roles he chooses and slow to sign on to any movie, Day-Lewis retreated from film once before, in the late 1990s, in what he described as “semi-retirement” to return to one of his main loves, woodworking, and at the time also moved to Florence, Italy, where he took up shoemaking.
After five years, Martin Scorsese persuaded the actor to return to filmmaking in Gangs of New York, in which Day-Lewis played colorful gang leader William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting.
Day-Lewis also famously quit the stage in 1989 when he walked out on a production of Hamlet mid-performance at the National Theatre in London, saying that he had seen his father’s ghost. He later explained that he’d been speaking metaphorically, saying, “I may have said a lot of things in the immediate aftermath and to some extent I probably saw my father’s ghost every night, because of course if you’re working in a play like Hamlet you explore everything through your own experience.”
The British actor, one of the most celebrated of his generation and known for the intense dedication he brings to each role, has been nominated for an Oscar five times and taken home the trophy on three occasions — for 1989’s My Left Foot, in which he played the physically challenged artist Christy Brown; for 2007’s There Will Be Blood, in which he played a driven, turn-of-the-century oil baron; and for 2012’s Lincoln, in which he played the title role of Abraham Lincoln.
The son of poet Cecil Day-Lewis and actress Jill Balcon, Day-Lewis made his film debut in an uncredited role as a child vandal in 1971’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. Having trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, he worked in England in both theater and television before he began to attract attention on film, appearing in 1985 in both the gay love story My Beautiful Laundrette and the E.M. Forster adaptation A Room With a View.
His roles have ranged from an American backwoodsman in The Last of the Mohicans to an Irish revolutionary in In the Name of the Father to a New York aristocrat in The Age of Innocence to a Puritan farmer in The Crucible.
Day-Lewis, who lives in Ireland with his wife, actress Rebecca Miller, has been quoted in the past as saying, “In every actor’s life, there is a moment when they ask themselves, ‘Is it really seemly for me still to be doing this?'”
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