Top 8 celebrities who supposedly 'retired'

Even if you can afford to retire, it's isn't easy psychologically. Celebrity history is full of adamant quitters who quickly changed their minds

Alec Baldwin can't seem to stay in retirement.
(Image credit: Creative Commons)

Alec Baldwin, who's only 51, recently revealed in a Men's Journal interview that he intends to retire from acting in 2012 when his NBC contract for "30 Rock" expires. If the history of premature celebrity retirees is any guide, odds are high that he'll soon develop a hankering to "unretire" and return to his trade. Here, a look at some of the most accomplished "unretirees."

The return of Teddy Roosevelt (1912)

After promising Americans that he would not run again after his second term, which ended in 1909, Roosevelt reemerged from retirement to challenge for the presidency in 1912. Running under the banner of the newly-formed Bull Moose party, Roosevelt placed second in the general election, behind Woodrow Wilson, but ahead of incumbent William Taft. It remains the best showing by a third-party presidential candidate in U.S. history.

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Audrey Hepburn reverts to form (1976)

In 1968, just four years after earning a then-remarkable $1,000,000 for her iconic turn as Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady," Hepburn retired from acting to raise a family. In the mid-70s, she announced a high-profile comeback, as Sean Connery's co-star in the acclaimed "Robin and Marian." Though she retired and "unretired" several more times prior to her death in 1993, none of the subsequent occasions drew as much attention.

Richard Nixon's renewed desire to get "kicked around" (1968)

After serving as VP under Eisenhower, Nixon ran unsuccessfully for president in 1960 and governor of California in 1962. Following the second loss, he retired from politics with the infamous remark, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore." But in early 1968, he announced another presidential bid — this one successful.

Frank Sinatra re-ups (1973)

Those disappointed with the Chairman of the Board's decision to call it quits in 1971 didn't have to wait long for his triumphant return — in 1973, Sinatra starred in a comeback television special that was so successful, the singer didn't bother retiring again until the 1990s.

Muhammad Ali, "the greatest" un-retirer (1979)

While still holding the heavyweight belt, 37-year old Ali announced the end of his boxing career in 1979. The next year he developed an itch to fight Larry Holmes (he lost), and in 1981 fought his last bout against a young Trevor Berbick (another loss).

Michael Jordan returns…again (2001)

At the height of his powers on the basketball court, Chicago Bull Michael Jordan announced in 1993 that he was dropping out to pursue a career in professional baseball. But after a mediocre year in the minor leagues, Jordan returned to the Bulls in 1995, leading the team to three more championships. Another retirement followed, as did another 2001 comeback bid — Jordan tried and failed to revive the struggling Washington Wizards at the age of 38.

Barbra Streisand prevaricates (2006)

In 1994, Barbra Streisand said she'd stop touring altogether. Her final, "farewell" concert came in 2000 when she said she was done for good. Yet, in 2006, Streisand embarked on a comeback tour, calling it an effort to raise money for her foundation. Even after the tour ended, Streisand stuck around and has since released her 63rd album which topped British Billboard charts earlier this year.

Garth Brooks gets back into his boots (2009)

After announcing his retirement in 2000, Garth Brooks did stop touring; he's still a force in country music and a related merchandising sales. His much-hyped series of shows in Las Vegas led him to profess: "If we ever do tour again, if we ever do make new music again, it's still going to be another five years."

Honorable mention:

The out-of-nowhere reappearance of Stump (2009)

Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel, won "Best in Show" at the 2009 Westminster Dog Show, becoming the oldest dog to take home top honors. The pooch had won 50 similar awards before a bacterial infection forced him to retire from competition in 2004. Stump's trainer, Scott Sommer, brought the canine to the 2009 event as an observer, registering him on a whim and without any preparation for a second hoorah.

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