LOS ANGELES, June 21, (Agencies): Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the most acclaimed performers of his generation, has announced he is retiring.
In a statement the 60-year-old star’s spokeswoman, Leslee Dart, said he “will no longer be working as an actor”, trade magazine Variety reported.
“He is immensely grateful to all of his collaborators and audiences over the many years”, Dart said. “This is a private decision and neither he nor his representatives will make any further comment on this subject”.
Day-Lewis, a master of method acting known for being extremely selective about his roles, is the only performer to have ever won three best actor Oscars.
He earned a golden statuette for “My Left Foot” (1989), in which he plays writer and artist Christy Brown, who was confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy; a second one for “There Will Be Blood” (2008), in which he plays a fierce oil man; and a third for the lead role in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” (2013).
He also earned Oscar nods for “Gangs of New York” and “In the Name of the Father”.
His last film is slated to hit theaters in December. The movie — which saw the actor reunite with “There Will Be Blood” director Paul Thomas Anderson — is about 1950s London, with Day-Lewis playing a fashion designer.
Born in London, Day-Lewis is the son of British poet Cecil Day-Lewis and actress Jill Balcon.
He made his film debut in 1971 in “Sunday Bloody Sunday” but then turned to the stage. He appeared on screen again more than a decade later in 1982, when he landed his first adult role.
His strong on-screen presence and remarkable range quickly set him apart, earning him praise from critics and audiences alike.
He was said to be so deeply invested in his roles that he would stay in character even when not shooting — as was the case with “Gangs of New York”, when he kept the New York accent and would be seen sharpening his knives at lunch.
He also reportedly listened to rapper Eminem to get into an angry mood for the role.
Apart from his Oscar performances, some of his most memorable other roles were in “My Beautiful Laundrette” (1985), “A Room With a View” (1985), “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988) and “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992).
But despite his stardom the actor shied away from the limelight, remaining throughout his career notoriously reclusive. He took long stretches of time away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to be with his family in Ireland and to learn “rural skills”.
During one such period in the late 1990s, while learning to be a cobbler in Florence, Italy, he was reportedly lured back to the US by producer Harvey Weinstein, director Martin Scorcese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio to take on the lead role in “Gangs of New York”.
“I was very happily out of the world of filmmaking”, Day-Lewis said at the time. “I was just happily working away at other things”.
In a sign that acting would not be his lifelong passion, he told a magazine in 2005: “In every actor’s life, there is a moment when they ask themselves, ‘Is it really seemly for me to still be doing this?’”
The actor is married to Rebecca Miller — the daughter of playwright Arthur Miller — a US actress and writer with whom he has two children.
From 1989 to 1994 he had a tumultuous relationship with French actress Isabelle Adjani, with whom he has one son.
The 60-year-old star, who has played presidents, writers, and gang leaders in a career that has spanned four decades, has one final film awaiting release, an untitled drama set in the world of high fashion. It is scheduled to hit theaters on Dec 25, 2017 and reunites him with Paul Thomas Anderson, who directed Day-Lewis to a best actor Oscar in 2007’s “There Will Be Blood”. Day-Lewis intends to help promote the movie, according to a person familiar with his plans.
Day-Lewis has been praised for his shape-shifting acting and versatility. He is known for going to extreme lengths for his performances, frequently remaining in character off-screen. He has also starred in musicals (“Nine”), adventure epics (“The Last of the Mohicans”), and period dramas (“The Age of Innocence”).
The method master once learned Czech to play a philandering doctor in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, listened to Eminem records to channel rage in “Gangs of New York”, and confined himself to a wheelchair for “My Left Foot” to play Brown, who had cerebral palsy.
Day-Lewis, who is the son of poet Cecil Day-Lewis and English actress Jill Balcon, made his screen debut at the age of 14 in a bit part in 1971’s “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”. He first gained attention on the stage and on television before dazzling critics in 1985 with the one-two punch of “My Beautiful Laundrette” and “A Room With a View”, convincingly playing a street tough and an upper class Edwardian.
Although he has remained in high demand, Day-Lewis is also known as being extremely selective, often waiting years between projects. In the late ’90s and early aughts he appeared to give up acting for a while, reportedly working as a cobbler before Martin Scorsese convinced him to return to the screen for “Gangs of New York”.
“Daniel Day-Lewis will no longer be working as an actor”, his representative Leslee Dart said in a statement. “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”.
The announcement sent shockwaves through Hollywood, where Day-Lewis is revered as possibly the finest actor of his time. But Day-Lewis has also long been an exceptionally deliberate performer who often spends years preparing for a role, crafting his characters with an uncommon, methodical completeness.
“I don’t dismember a character into its component parts and then kind of bolt it all together, and off you go”, Day-Lewis told the AP in 2012, discussing Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”. “I tend to try and allow things to happen slowly, over a long period of time. As I feel I’m growing into a sense of that life, if I’m lucky, I begin to hear a voice”.
A five-time Academy Award nominee, Day-Lewis is the only one to ever win best actor three times. He earned Oscars for “My Left Foot”, “Lincoln” and “There Will Be Blood”.
His last play was in 1989, a National Theatre production of “Hamlet”, in London. Day-Lewis infamously walked out in the middle of a performance, and never returned to the stage again.