We’ve all had the urge to just go Poof! and disappear into thin air for whatever reason, be it physical or psychological fatigue from our work, an ardent need to change the routine or to get away from some negative factor in our life, or just a random desire to grow our hair excessively or a massive beard, braid it into an Origami and color it purple.
Well, here’s 5 artists who took a chill pill from their busy public personas as well, despite being well-known and influential in their domain.
1. Greta Garbo
She reached international fame with barely her third movie “Flesh and the Devil” (a silent one!), and gained three Academy Award Nominations for Best Actress, not to mention being voted in fifth place as one of the greatest female stars of all time in 1999 by the American Film Institute.
After a downturn in her career of about 3 years she came back up as she switched to comedy.
So it came as a surprise that such a determined impressive go-getter like her would decide to retire after “Two-Faced Woman” in 1941, at the prime age of 35. She kept her decision until her death at 84, in 1990 and never returned to show-bizz.
2. Gene Wilder
Born Jerome Silberman, Gene Wilder is famous for his comedic roles with quirky turns of thought and especially for his particular “don’t take things so seriously” manner that he manages to instill through his portrayal of the mostly endearing characters he plays (“Blazing Saddles”, “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory”, “Young Frankenstein”, “The Producers” etc.).
He was asked in a 2013 interview (92nd Street Y) by his host: “What’s the biggest misconception that people have about you?”. To which he replied “Well, umm. ‘What a comic! What a funny guy! What a…’ , all that stuff. And… I’m not… I’m really not, except in a comedy, in films.”
Despite the seeming tongue-in-cheek tone of his response, it must be true. Because he certainly had to be more than just “a funny guy” to occupy his time after effectively retiring from Hollywood work after “Another You” (1991).
3. Terrence Malick
Now here’s an artist who is currently fairly prolific, as the filmmaker hailing from Texas appears to have several projects in the works at the same time most of the time and releases movies quite regularly.
But there’s a bit of a mystery surrounding a huge gap in his career, from 1978 to 1998 to be exact. It’s a period in which he just disappeared from the spotlight, with unconfirmed reports conflicting on why, or what he did during this time.
The man himself refuses to give a definitive answer or do interviews on the subject…
4. Lauryn Hill
A prominent hip-hop/reggae artist, possibly most known for the flagship songs “Ready or Not” or “Killing Me Softly” performed with The Fugees, Lauryn Hill took a big pause for most of the period between 2000 and 2010, with a few occasional appearances here and there.
The reasons she gave revolved around the need to stay true to herself and the music as opposed to “the machine” that she felt was making her “way too compromised”.
The good news? She made her comeback with a one-night only performance in New York in 2012.
5. Captain Beefheart
When you hear that stage name, you immediately know that you’re dealing with an original person, to say the least.
Don Van Vliet (by his not as arresting real name) was an American musician (1941 – 2010) who really didn’t care about conforming to musical trends or norms. Which is evident in the genres he mixed in his music: rock, blues, psychedelia, avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition.
He released 12 studio albums, 3 live and 7 compilation ones for about two decades, after which, in 1982 he just quit the music business.
The explanation? He was getting “too good” at the things he played, referring to the fact that apart from being a composer, he was a player of harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments.