Veteran Irish actor Peter O'Toole, famous for films including Lawrence of Arabia, has announced his retirement, saying it is time to "chuck in the sponge" aged 79.
The colorful stage and screen star said he was taking his last bow "dry- eyed and profoundly grateful" for his half-century career.
"It is time for me to chuck in the sponge. To retire from films and stage," O'Toole said in a statement cited by People magazine in Los Angeles.
"The heart for it has gone out of me: it won't come back. My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort," he said.
"It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I've shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits.
"However, it's my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one's stay. So I bid the profession a dry-eyed and grateful farewell."
Blue-eyed Peter Seamus Lorcan O'Toole was raised in northern England the son of a bookie. After school, he became a journalist and a radioman for the Royal Navy, before becoming an actor.
He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where his classmates included Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Richard Harris, who would also go on to illustrious acting careers.
O'Toole's first stage role came at the age of 17. He notably performed in Shakespeare dramas before his big break in director David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
Medical problems, which were initially attributed to heavy drinking but turned out to be stomach cancer, threatened his career and life in the 1970s. Then he gave up alcohol.
He received eight Oscar nominations during a career that also included noted roles in 1979's Caligula and The Last Emperor (1987), but never won the top prize itself. He was given an honorary Academy Award in 2003.
The Washington Post entertainment blogger Jen Chaney said it is too early for O'Toole to retire because he is so much fun.
Chaney cited stories from his life including an interview with TV talk-show host David Letterman while smoking a cigarette and riding a camel, then making the beast drink a can of beer.
In 1978, O'Toole stood in front of a reporter wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, declaring: "There's no truth to the rumor that I'm dead."
O'Toole, who will be 80 on August 2, will focus on writing a third volume of memoirs, People reported. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE