Celebrity Retirements

When famous people retire, it's not sufficient to just ride off into the sunset. The new trend is to announce the retirement months in advance, building up the hype for that final professional appearance.  I hope I don't sound ungrateful for the legacy of David Letterman, whose farewell inspired me to write this -- his impact on late night talk shows is second to none (except maybe Johnny Carson, who also had a high profile departure from TV when he stepped down from The Tonight Show.)  When Jack Paar called it quits, it was abrupt and surprising. Now the announcement is made and ratings climb as famous guests come and say their goodbyes and enough time is given for a proper emotional "Farewell."

We've seen it with other talk show hosts (Stephen Colbert and now Jon Stewart) and with sports figures, like the Yankees Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

Some have announced their retirements, like bestselling author Stephen King, but decided to stick around a while longer.

WFAN radio host Mike Francesa announced yesterday that he's determined the exact date when he will retire, but isn't letting anyone know yet...but it will be sooner than people think.  (His contract expires in 2017, so does that mean he might leave before then, or not sign a new contract, or maybe sign a short one-or-two-year contract before ending his illustrious career?) I hope this isn't the start of a newer trend -- teasing the announcement of the beginning of the retirement tour!

Then there are others who officially retire, say their adieus, do their retirement tours, accept the tearful "bye-byes" of their colleagues and fans, enjoy their moment in the spotlight with a commemorative TV special recapping all of their decades-long achievements -- and then keep working anyway, refusing to go away.  I'm looking at you, Barbara Walters!

All kidding aside, when celebrities have paid their dues and racked up a string of incredible memories, they deserve to bask in the sun and take their time saying "So long."  Let's hope each one does it his or her own way in truly spectacular and memorable fashion.