Brad Pitt the Latest Great to Announce “Retirement”

Brad Pitt is among the great Hollywood stars of his generations and is enjoying arguably the best year of his career, so of course he's planning to retire soon. Why? Because that's what hot actors and sports stars seem to do these days.

Of course, Pitt gives other reasons.

In an interview with the Australian version of "60 Minutes," Pitt was asked how much longer he intends to act.

"Three years," said Pitt. He was then asked what he planned to do once he was done acting. "Hell if I know. Hell if I know. I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together. And getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher time otherwise."

The man is clearly weary of the paparazzi and the effect his fame has on his kids, and who can blame him? And we love the idea of someone with Pitt's juice pushing to get great films made.

But just this year he starred in one film, "Tree of Life," that took Best Picture at Cannes this summer, and another, "Moneyball," that has people talking Best Actor nomination. The idea that a healthy 47-year-old man at the top of his profession would shy away from the thing he does best is absurd.

For reasons we'll never understand, there's a long and rich history of talented (and not so talented) people announcing they were calling it quits, only to come back.

Pitt's old friend Steven Soderbergh not long ago made it known that he would be retiring and in short order announced two or three new projects. He has since backed off his claim, blaming the whole thing on Matt Damon's blabbermouth.

Roger Clemens first announced in 2003 that he would be hanging them up at the end of the season. He would go on to retire twice more and win another 44 games over the next four seasons, never staying away from the game for more than three months.

Brett Favre is the grand champion, of course, a man whose hand-wringing reached pathological levels. The man gave more weepy retiring speeches than any sane person can recount, only to return time and again, ultimately leaving an indelible stain on his legacy.

But there's also Barbara Streisand, The Who, Lance Armstrong, Jane Fonda, Garth Brooks, Jay-Z, Michael Jordan and Frank Sinatra, to name just a few. Heck, even the great Amanda Bynes once threatened far too soon to hide away her gifts.

What possesses someone to prematurely retire? For some, like Streisand, it seems like a chance to gouge fans on both ends of the downtime—"LAST CHANCE TO SEE BABS!!" and "BABS IS BACK!!!" For Jordan it originally seemed to be an honest attempt to start a new chapter in his life. For Favre it was hard not to feel like it was a cry for attention. There are almost as many reasons as there are retirees.

But for most of them, Pitt included, it's probably that they're simply sick of belonging to us. Think about how uncomfortable it makes you when you're introduced to someone who says, "I've heard a lot about you." Now imagine if EVERYBODY ON EARTH had heard a lot about you.

Like all before him, Pitt will no doubt come to realize that he's still a huge celebrity ruthlessly hounded by the press and paparazzi—so why not keep doing what he loves, acting, and keep raking in millions?

A gander at Pitt's IMDB page reminds us that he's got "Coogan's Trade" and "World War Z" out next year, and "Twelve Years a Slave" in 2014—it's tough to believe he'll stop there.

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