Daniel Day Lewis Retires From Acting: A Look Back at his Greatest Film Roles

Daniel Day Lewis, one of the most gifted and committed actors of his generation who embraced the term ‘method actor’, announced that he has retired from acting at the age of 60 on Tuesday.

Lewis’s final film, “The Phantom Thread,” will see him reunited with his “There will be Blood” Director Paul Thomas Anderson. Lewis won an Oscar in the film for his role as Daniel Plainview, a pit-hole and oil inspector from New Mexico set in the early 20th century during the years of California’s vast increase in oil production.

Lewis is well respected amongst many actors in Hollywood that have also undergone extensive training and commitment to their roles. Lewis went beyond the imaginable, playing characters that have resonated with the lives of people that watched him in cinemas.

Among his greatest roles are:

Christy Brown in “My Left Foot” 1989

Based on the titular character’s own autobiography, Lewis plays a man struggling to come to grips with daily activities as he suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Eventually Brown discovers that the repercussions actually ignites newfound talents such as painting. The plot gets even more complex when Brown discovers he is in love with the soon-to-be-wed doctor taking care of him. Lewis won his first Academy Award for the film.

Gerry Conlon in “In the Name of the Father” 1993

Lewis attempted a complete reversal in the true story of an Irish thieve imprisoned along with his father for a heinous crime they did not commit; blowing up a pub that killed four police officers. Lewis’s character transform from a rebellious natured young adult to a revolutionary activist who takes on good moral standing and fights for his freedoms. The film garnered Lewis an Oscar nomination.

John Proctor in “The Crucible” 1996

The inspired Arthur Miller Play (coincidentally Lewis is married to the playwright’s daughter, Rebecca Miller) saw Lewis team up with Winona Ryder, at the height of her popularity. As John Proctor, Lewis engages in an affair with Abigail Williams while a witch trial reeks havoc in the town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.

The Crucible
Lewis as John Proctor

William Cutting in “Gangs of New York” 2002 

Lewis portrays the infamous butcher in Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the Herbert Asbury book of the same name. Lewis brilliantly shows off his menacing depth as a gang leader and political kingpin who undertakes in the New York City Draft Riots which became the largest instance of civil and racial injustice in American history. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, a man seeking revenge on Cutting for the murder of his father. Lewis was nominated for another Academy Award.

Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln” 2012 

If there was one man that could take on the heroic stature of the Greatest Country’s Greatest Leader, it would be Hollywood’s Greatest Actor. Lincoln practiced discipline and changed his lifestyle to master the patience and qualitative wisdom of the 16th president of the United States. For his role in the film, Lewis received his third Academy Award, making him one of three actors to accomplish this feat in history.


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