Why do these famous folks simply refuse to retire?

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever contemplated early retirement during your career. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Even the writer of this article entertained the idea, after what feels like a gazillion hours of research.

Retirement is society’s tap on the shoulder, signaling that you’ve done your part and it’s time to relax. And yet, there are people across various industries, well into their 80s, nay 90s, who could have kicked off their boots years ago but simply refuse to quit. Why?

Well, presumably giving up work while confronting the reality that everyone is ultimately replaceable isn’t always so easy, and some of these people are obviously afflicted with an inability to imagine a life after giving it up.

So here are 21 people well into their “retirement years” who seemingly are ready to kick it before they quit it.

1. Willie Nelson, 90

Country singer and activist

In April 2023, iconic singer Willie Nelson celebrated his 90th birthday, yet he continues to carry the torch for outlaw country, just as his 2018 album, “Last Man Standing,” aptly predicted. One month before his birthday, Nelson released his latest album “I Don’t Know a Thing About Love” and announced a new album titled “Bluegrass,” out September. 2023. So, no signs of slowing down.

Renowned for penning classics like “Crazy” and recording the influential “Red Headed Stranger,” Nelson’s contributions to the genre are undeniable. Despite the passing of many of its legends, he remains an active force, keeping the spirit of the outlaw country alive. Far from being a mere nostalgia act, Nelson consistently releases new albums year after year, showcasing his enduring talent and unmistakable songwriting prowess. Even with past health challenges that led to show cancellations, he maintains a rigorous touring schedule, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to his craft. His lyrics continue to resonate with sharp wit and a newfound sense of existential clarity.

2. Warren Buffett, 92

Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

If one person could allow an early retirement that is Warren Buffet.  Alas, at 92, the self-made multi-billionaire with a current net worth of a staggering 114.4 billion is still out and about as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and several philanthropy projects, he’s a part of.

Buffett embarked on his investment journey by forming various business partnerships, including one with Benjamin Graham. In 1956, he established Buffett Partnership, Ltd., and later acquired a textile manufacturing firm called Berkshire Hathaway, which eventually transformed into a diversified holding company under his leadership. Since 1970, Buffett has been the chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway.

Frequently referred to as the “Oracle” or “Sage” of Omaha, Buffett’s investment success and wealth accumulation have garnered international acclaim. He is renowned for his adherence to value investing principles and his personal frugality, despite his tremendous wealth.

Buffet is outspoken about having zero interest in quitting work. “If I quit today—I see these people. They spend a whole week planning their haircut. That is not my idea of living,” he told Business Insider. “I would rather do this than anything in the world. My Social Security check is coming every day. I don’t need this.”

3. Clint Eastwood, 92

Actor and director

At 92, movie legend Clint Eastwood shows no signs of hanging up his cowboy boots just yet. After establishing himself as a magnetic presence onscreen with unforgettable roles in films like “Dirty Harry” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” Clint Eastwood fearlessly embraced a new challenge behind the camera, stepping into the director’s chair.

Eastwood’s directorial prowess has garnered him critical acclaim and prestigious accolades. He has been recognized by the Academy with multiple Oscar nominations for Best Director, including standout films like Letters From Iwo Jima and Mystic River. His exceptional talent behind the camera was duly rewarded, as he took home two coveted Oscars for his directorial achievements in “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby.” Notably, both of these films also claimed the highly coveted title of Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Despite announcing his retirement from acting back in 2008, the multiple Oscar-winning actor-turned-director churned out eight movies in his 80s and is currently gearing up to make yet another film “Juror 2.” By the time the production is set to start  Eastwood will be 93 years old making him one of the oldest filmmakers still working. There are rumors this is to be his final film, but given his obsessive passion for work, it’s rather unlikely.

4. Carol Burnett, 90

Comedian

The adored comedian celebrated her 90th birthday in April 2023. But despite reaching this remarkable age, retirement is not in the cards for her. Just in 2022, Burnett delivered a standout performance in the final season of AMC’s “Better Call Saul” and could become the oldest woman nominated for an Emmy if she picks up a supporting drama actress nomination.

Burnett is best known for revolutionizing the television landscape with her groundbreaking variety show, “The Carol Burnett Show.” Airing for an impressive 11 seasons on CBS, the show became a platform for Burnett to showcase her unparalleled comedic range. With a talented cast of unforgettable characters, including the irascible “Mama” and the zany “Eunice,” alongside comedic legends like Harvey Korman and Tim Conway, Burnett captivated audiences with her wit and charm.

Beyond her iconic television work, Burnett’s talent has extended to the big screen and the Broadway stage. She has graced films such as “Annie” and “Moon Over Buffalo” with her presence, leaving a lasting impression with her captivating performances.

As she continues to captivate audiences with her timeless talent, Carol Burnett remains a beloved figure in the entertainment industry, leaving an enduring legacy of laughter and love that will be cherished for generations to come.

5. Buzz Aldrin, 93

Former astronaut and science ambassador

It turns out that when you walk on the moon at the peak of your career, retirement is not exactly in the stars for you. While at 93, Buzz Aldrin is technically a retired astronaut and Air Force colonel, the second person to walk on the Moon is still very active in both professional and personal fields. In his 80s, Aldrin wrote a bestselling memoir and yelled at the moon in a bit on 30 Rock, founded the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute, authored a kid’s book, and became the oldest person to ever visit the South Pole In 2023, Aldrin got an honorary promotion to brigadier general in the United States Air Force and married his long-time love, Dr. Anca Faur. Aldrin played a pivotal role in the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969. As the lunar module pilot, he became the second person to set foot on the moon, following in the footsteps of his colleague Neil Armstrong. This extraordinary achievement cemented Aldrin’s place in history as one of the first humans to walk on a celestial body beyond Earth. Before his momentous journey to the moon, Aldrin had a distinguished career in the United States Air Force. He dedicated 21 years of his life to military service, which included flying combat missions during the Korean War.

6. Al Pacino, 83

Actor

Al Pacino’s ID card may say age 83, but the Godfather alum is surely not acting it. Not only is Al Pacino not retiring anytime soon from his career with various projects pilled up, but he is also not exactly an “empty nester.”In May 2023, Al Pacino, 83, became a father for the fourth time with his 29-year-old girlfriend Noor Alfalla. Talking about stamina! Last seen in 2021’s “House of Gucci” as Aldo Gucci, the actor is currently in the official cast for Johnny Depp’s directorial debut “Modi” and three more unconfirmed projects.

With a spanning presence in the industry, Pacino stands as one of the greatest actors of all time. From his breakthrough role as Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” trilogy to his iconic portrayal of Tony Montana in “Scarface,” Pacino’s intensity and charisma have enthralled audiences.

Just don’t ask him about retirement.  When David Rubenstein asked the actor about retirement on the “People Who Inspire Us” series, the actor joked, “I’m always retired. I was retired when I was 25. I mean, who cares?

7. Ralph Lauren, 81

Fashion mogul

Ralph Lauren: the maestro of preppy chic, the sultan of style, and the mastermind behind the ubiquitous polo shirt. With a brand that turned 50 in 2018 (coincidentally, the same year he donned a knighthood), Lauren has firmly established himself as one of fashion’s power players. Despite recent encounters with the bargain bin and a COVID-induced retail slowdown, he continues to reign supreme. Known for his “world-building” vision and an ironclad grip on his empire, Lauren’s influence stretches far and wide. Even as he passed on the CEO baton in 2015, today, at 81, Lauren remains the executive chairman and chief creative officer, ensuring his fingerprint of ruddy, manure-scented wealth remains intact. With a majority stake in Ralph Lauren Corp., this fashion maven’s sartorial reign shows no signs of abdicating anytime soon.

8. William Shatner, 92

Actor

William Shatner’s journey to “actual” space in 2021 speaks volumes about his retirement plans, or rather, the lack thereof. The man who immortalized Captain Kirk in “Star Trek” has now become the oldest person ever to venture into space aboard a Blue Origin suborbital capsule. It’s a remarkable full-circle moment for the iconic actor. However, Shatner’s talents extend far beyond the final frontier, as he has delighted audiences in beloved shows like “Boston Legal” and “T.J. Hooker,” showcasing his limitless acting prowess. At 92 years old, when he’s not embarking on space travels, Shatner remains engaged in various projects, including the History Channel’s “The UnXplained” and the recent release of his book titled “Boldly Go.”

9. Mel Brooks, 97

Comedian

No list of hardworking elderly who refuse to take a break from work would be complete without the tireless Mell Brooks who turned an astounding 97 years old in 2023. While most nonagenarians are content with their daily dose of prune juice, Brooks is a force to be reckoned with. The man who has defied the odds and tickled our funny bones for decades has lived through The Great Depression, fought during WWII, and weathered the storm of COVID-19 still has the willpower and zest for the life of a 20-year-old.

His illustrious career spans decades, encompassing unforgettable works such as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” and “Young Frankenstein.” Along the way, he has garnered numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards, and a Grammy

Brooks continues to showcase his enduring dedication to his career, remaining active and working on various projects including the sequel over 40 years in the making, Hulu’s “History of the World, Part II” (available for streaming). When asked about his continued involvement in creative projects, Brooks offers a simple explanation: “I can tell you right now it’s not heavy lifting. It’s not physical work, like working in a coal mine somewhere. It’s just using your mind. All I need is my pencil.”

10. Dianne Feinstein, 90

United States Senator

Here is a nonagenarian who is actually under a lot of scrutiny for not resigning. While facing criticism regarding her memory lapses and reliance on her staff, Senator Dianne Feinstein, 90 remains steadfast in her decision not to resign before the completion of her term. Despite ongoing concerns about her mental acuity, the senator has declined to entertain the idea of stepping down. Unnamed lawmakers and former staffers have openly voiced their apprehensions in interviews with the San Francisco Chronicle, shedding light on the scrutiny surrounding Feinstein’s ability to effectively carry out her duties.

When Insider asked the Senate’s oldest member whether age affects her leadership, the California Democrat said it doesn’t. “I’ve been very lucky, as a matter of fact, in that respect, and I don’t feel affected by age,” she said. “Of course, I’ve got this big commute back and forth. That’s hard. Maybe I do a little less commuting. That’s how I see it.”

11. Maggie Smith, 88

Actress

At 88 years young, Dame Maggie Smith has proven herself as an exceptional actress with an illustrious career spanning over seven decades since the 1950s. The British actress, widely recognized for her iconic portrayals of Professor Minerva McGonagall in the “Harry Potter” franchise and Dowager Countess Violet Crawley in the beloved series “Downton Abbey,” has an impressive repertoire of TV, movie, and theater projects to her credit.Throughout her illustrious career, Smith has amassed a treasure trove of accolades, including multiple Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and Primetime Emmy Awards.

And still, retirement is not in Smith’s vocabulary, as she continues to relish her time in the spotlight. In 2023, she graced the screen with her presence in the poignant film “The Miracle Club.” Additionally, Smith is currently involved in another project titled “A German Life,” which is currently in production.

12. Judi Dench, 88

Actress

At 88 years old, Dame Judi Dench continues to exude her sharp wit and immense talent. From her sweet and melodious voice to her chilling on-screen performances, Dench’s versatility is undeniable. Whether squaring up with Daniel Craig as MI6 boss M in the James Bond films or delivering a powerful portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare in Love” (which earned her an Oscar for just eight minutes of screen time), she effortlessly commands attention.

Despite her incredible success, Dench is still going strong. With a career that spans back to 1957 when she joined The Old Vic Theatre Company, she still radiates a genuine love for her craft. In 2022 she delivered a touching and Oscar-nominated performance in Kenneth Branagh’s acclaimed film, “Belfast.” Dench’s passion for acting is palpable as she explains, “I just … I love working. I’ve always had the thing [where you] think, ‘Oh, I’ll never be asked to do anything else again. This will be the last time,’ and then been very, very glad when something else has come along. And the more different it is, of course, the more challenging it is.”

13. David Attenborough, 97

Broadcaster/Naturalist

Sir David Attenborough, the unstoppable force of nature, celebrated his incredible 97th birthday on May 8, 2023. While most people would be content to kick back and enjoy their golden years, Attenborough remains a tireless campaigner for our planet. Throughout his illustrious career, which began in 1952 with the BBC, Attenborough has brought the wonders of nature to audiences worldwide. His recent documentary, “David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet,” serves as a powerful reminder of the urgent need to protect our planet from further destruction. Even in his advanced years, Attenborough continues to write, speak, and champion the cause of preserving our world for future generations. When it comes to retirement, the naturalist has said he would call it quits only when he realizes his work is substandard. “I would like to think I would be able to detect when I couldn’t find the right words any more,” Attenborough told the Radio Times. “If I think I’m not producing commentary with any freshness or which is apposite or to the point, I hope I would be able to recognize it before someone else told me”

14. Bob Dylan, 82

Musician

Bob Dylan turned 82 this year. He is also on the road currently touring across 2 countries and has 4 upcoming concerts. How? Why? Well, we never know.  Hailed as America’s greatest singer-songwriter and a true legend in music history, has left an indelible mark on the industry. His profound songwriting prowess has garnered him unparalleled recognition, with countless artists spanning generations covering his iconic works. From Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “All Along the Watchtower” to Adele’s heartfelt interpretation of “To Make You Feel My Love,” Dylan’s songs have resonated with audiences across the globe.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Dylan’s unwavering commitment to his craft persists. In 2020, he released his 39th studio album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, featuring standout tracks like “False Prophet.”

15. Paul Biya, 90

President  of Cameroon
At a sprightly 90 years old, President Paul Biya of Cameroon continues to show the world that age is no match for his presidential prowess. While some might consider their 90th birthday a cue for retirement, Biya remains firmly at the helm, skillfully navigating the complexities of governing a nation. Biya has held the presidency of Cameroon since November 6, 1982, making him the second-longest-ruling president in Africa. His tenure has also earned him the distinction of being the longest consecutively serving current non-royal national leader globally. Additionally, as the oldest head of state in the world, Biya’s longevity in power is remarkable. His extended presidency has shaped the political landscape of Cameroon and solidified his status as a prominent figure in African politics.

16. Harrison Ford, 81

Actor

Harrison Ford maybe is retiring from his iconic role as Indiana Jones (about forking time) after the upcoming film “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” but the legendary actor shows zero signs of leaving Hollywood behind. In an interview on CNN and Max’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” Ford dismisses the idea of retiring from acting. At the age of 81, he continues to possess a deep passion for his craft.

When asked about retirement, Ford candidly expresses, “I don’t do well when I don’t have work. I love to work. I love to feel useful. It’s my jones. I want to be helpful.” The acting bug still burns bright within him.

17. Chuck Grassley, 89

United States Senator

Charles Grassley currently serves as the president pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate. Representing Iowa, Grassley has held the position of senior United States senator since 1981, making him the longest-serving Republican in Senate history and the sixth-longest-serving senator overall. He was reelected to his eighth Senate term in 2022. With Patrick Leahy’s retirement in January 2023, Grassley became the most senior member of the Senate.

Before his tenure in the Senate, Grassley served in the Iowa House of Representatives for eight terms and in the United States House of Representatives for three terms. He has held several significant positions during his time in the Senate, including chairing the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Narcotics Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Aging Committee. Grassley has been recognized as a key figure in Republican leadership, assuming the role of president pro tempore and becoming the most senior Republican senator after Orrin Hatch’s retirement in 2019.

18. Martha Stewart, 81

Celebrity Cook, Lifestyle Guru

Recently gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2023, Martha Stewart is not your average 81-year-old. And retirement? Forget about it. “There’s no reason to retire,” Stewart told PEOPLE. “I can write sitting down, I can dictate lying down if I have to. I can do any number of things in different places in different ways.” With a plethora of cookbooks, television shows, and brand partnerships under her belt, she thrives on staying busy and productive.  Stewart’s packed schedule and relentless work ethic have become second nature to her after years as a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur. As she prepares to release her 100th book, focusing on her favorite dishes and their evolution, she celebrates the changes in presentation, dishes, and even glassware over the years. Stewart’s enduring passion for her craft and unwavering commitment to creativity have solidified her status as a dynamic force in the culinary and lifestyle world.

19. Jane Goodall, 89

Conservationist

Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist and conservationist, remains a tireless force in the ongoing mission to protect chimpanzees and their habitat. While she concluded her fieldwork in 1986, Goodall’s dedication to her cause has not wavered. Today, at age 89 she continues to travel extensively, spending approximately 300 days a year on the road. Her primary focus is to raise awareness and secure funds for chimpanzee conservation through her nonprofit organization, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), and its youth program, Roots & Shoots.  “The lucky thing is that when you make a difference, it makes you feel good,” she told LA Times “And if you feel good, well, of course, you want to feel even better. So you tackle something else. It’s an upward spiral.”

20. Paul McCartney, 81

Paul McCartney

Musician

At 81 years old, Beatles legend Paul McCartney shows no signs of slowing down. With a career dating back to 1964 as the bassist and co-lead vocalist for The Beatles, McCartney has continued to thrive even after the band’s split.

Contrary to public assumptions, his eight decades of life do not equate to being old and ready for retirement. McCartney remains relevant and active, defying any notion of slowing down at his age.

When John Wison asked the former Beatle why there is still no memoir about his life during a radio interview, McCartney confidently stated, “I’m not old, and I’m not retiring,” implying that he believed it wasn’t the right time to chronicle his life’s story in written form.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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