Regis Philbin, Joe Lieberman, and Brett Favre are retiring: Woody Allen and Queen Elizabeth should also call it quits.

All you need to know about retirement.
Jan. 25 2011 7:08 AM

Woody Allen, It's Time To Go

Regis Philbin and Joe Lieberman are retiring: Who else should call it quits before it's too late?

Click to view a slide show.

Regis Philbin, 79, last week announced his retirement from the talk show he has hosted for 28 years, saying, "There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera—especially certain old people." Sen. Joe Lieberman, 68, of Connecticut said last week he would not seek a fifth term, with the New York Times reporting that he decided to retire rather than risk defeat. Then there was the news that serial retirer, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, 41, has filed retirement papers, maybe for keeps—which would give him time to pursue his passion for photography.* These three departures bring to mind the many prominent people who should be inspired to give themselves a gold watch and go away.

Successful people, who are used to running things, to being applauded, to just being there, often view retirement as a kind of obliteration. But the example of Tom Brokaw, who vacated his anchor chair at NBC at the age of 64, demonstrates that when you get out gracefully, you can make occasional appearances as an elder statesman and still be welcome. This is not a call for mandatory retirement. Many people, such as George Will, 69, Barbara Walters, 81, and Betty White, 89, are still performing undiminished. It's a call for selective retirement. For some who should go, the problem is they're producing work of such an inferior quality that they risk destroying their reputations. For others, the sad fact of the depredations of time means they can't discharge their duties effectively. Then there are those who have declared—uncollegially—they plan to go when they are found slumped over their desks. Here is a slide show of worthy candidates, along with a plea. Please send your retiree suggestions to emilyyoffe@hotmail.com or write them in the comments below. We'll run a follow-up with your best ideas.

Correction, Jan. 25, 2011: Brett Favre's name was originally misspelled.

Advertisement

Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Culturebox

The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here

I feel like a kid in some kind of store.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The Difference Between Being a Hero and an Altruist

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
Quora
Oct. 22 2014 9:51 AM What Was It Like to Work at NASA During the Challenger and Columbia Disasters?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 9:54 AM The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here I feel like a kid in some kind of store.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 8:43 AM Thunderstruck: Rock Out With Mother Nature’s Evil Side
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 9:39 AM Gertjie and Lammie, a Magical (and Bizarre) Friendship
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.