10 Celebrity 'Fake-Out' Retirements

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- We hear more and more these days of retirees returning to the workplace.

The need for more money is a major cause. Others go back to the grind because they grow bored with a life of supposed leisure. Others take the opportunity to try their hand at something new, or satisfy entrepreneurial desires.

The rich, famous and infamous are not much different than everyday folks in that regard. Time and time again we hear of how celebrities, entertainers and athletes are riding into the sunset, only to see them return when their bank accounts dip and the paparazzi move on. Some have reneged multiple times. How can we miss them if they won't go away?

The following are some high-profile "fake out" retirements:

Stephen King
Back in January 2002, horror fans got quite a scare when best-selling author Stephen King announced he would retire.

But, like one of those scary movie killers who manage to keep popping up after everyone thinks they're gone, King's writing just couldn't be dispatched so easily.

King's retirement plans were an after-effect of the injuries sustained when he was almost killed by a van while walking along a Maine roadway. For many months, debilitating pain made it nearly impossible for him to sit upright long enough to put word to paper.

Despite the pain he still suffers, King has long since abandoned his retirement.

Since the accident he has penned a column for Entertainment Weekly and published six novels and novellas and two collections of short stories. He has also announced two novels on the way over the next 12 months.

Pretty prolific for someone with plans to ride off into the sunset.

Brett Favre
Is Brett Favre really retired as an NFL quarterback? It may seem pretty definite, but who can tell?

For years, Favre has milked the "will he or won't he" guessing game of sports writers and broadcasters by alternately leaving, returning, leaving and returning again to the gridiron.

The legendary (although sexting-tarnished) player has retired from the Green Bay Packers, played for the Jets, retired, played again for the Vikings, then said he planned to retire again only to return to the Vikings again.

Pulling retirement papers to officially collect his pension? Favre has done that twice. Injuries seem to make the latest gold watch seem final. But don't be surprised if come preseason (assuming there is an upcoming season) the rumor mill -- fueled by Favre himself -- kicks back into high gear.

Tiki Barber
Last month, a Twitter post announced that one-time NFL running back Tiki Barber, 36, was planning a return to the field: "BREAKING NEWS ... Tiki Barber has filed the papers with the NFL to officially come out of retirement," the tweet from his agent read.

Barber had retired in 2007 from the New York Giants, walking away from a contract that would have netted him more than $8 million the next year. Instead, he made the plunge into media, earning $300,000 a year as a correspondent for NBC, appearing on the Today Show and Sunday night's Football in America broadcast.

That burgeoning television career came to an abrupt end when the network released him, citing a "morality clause" in his contract. Barber had left his pregnant wife to hook up with a 23-year-old intern.

Assuming a lockout doesn't spike next season, the Giants would have first crack at Barber because he retired midcontract. Don't expect that to happen. Barber has gone on to alienate fans for critical, dismissive comments he has made toward his former coach, Tom Coughlin, and his quarterback, Eli Manning (who went on to win the Super Bowl the year after Barber's departure). Officially, the Giants have said they will release him from their reserve/retired list once a collective bargaining agreement is reached.

The Who
"I hope I die before I get old."

OK, it's a cheap shot to hold The Who to an oft-quoted lyric from the song "My Generation." It is also a dig many have been able to take, because the band refuses to shut off their amps and pack up.

Long before The Who took the stage for one of the lamest Super Bowl halftime shows in recent memory (one may have to think back to Elvis Presto's 3-D card trick back in 1989 to find one more cringe-worthy), the band had announced it was retiring.

In 1982, after the release of the album It's Hard and Townsend's rehab from heroin use, the band announced a farewell tour. By 1985, however, they snuck back onstage as part of the charity Live Aid concert. By 1989, they were on the road again to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Despite the death of bassist John Entwistle in 2002, Townsend and Daltrey have continued to play live, including a European tour in 2004.

In recent weeks, amid rumors of yet another Who tour, Daltrey is once again talking up retirement, telling interviewers that he sees, at best, two or three more years of rock 'n' roll for him before pursuing the more serene life of an artist. We'll believe it when the last guitar is smashed.

Jay-Z
In 2003, rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z announced that The Black Album would be his last recording.

Going out in style, he presided over a charity concert at Madison Square Garden, a self-described "retirement party" caught on camera for the film Fade to Black.

Three years later, the release of Kingdom Come ended what Jay-Z himself told Entertainment Weekly was "the worst retirement in history."

He may have overstated things a bit. During his free time the rapper solidified his credentials as a businessman, becoming CEO of Def Jam Recordings and part owner of the New Jersey Nets. He also started dating Beyonce, certainly a step up from the extra golf and early bird dinner specials to which we mere mortals aspire.

Lance Armstrong
Earlier this year, Lance Armstrong, winner of seven straight Tour de France titles, announced what he called "Retirement 2.0."

Armstrong has long been an acclaimed but controversial athlete. He achieved his greatest success after surviving testicular cancer, but has continually been dogged by rumors and outright accusations of performance-enhancing drugs and "blood doping."

In 2005, after his seventh Tour de France victory, Armstrong announced he would retire, going out at the top.

In 2008, he pedaled back into the spotlight, saying he would compete in the 2009 Tour de France. As announced on his website, the return to competitive cycling was intended to raise further awareness of "the global cancer burden" and financially bolster the Lance Armstrong Foundation, known more commonly as Livestrong .

As for his most recent retirement, during a conference call with reporters, Armstrong fueled rumors that a Retirement 3.0 might be in the offing some day, quipping "never say never" but quickly adding, "just kidding."

Michael Jordan
Basketball legend Michael Jordan's first retirement, in 1993, remains a matter of debate and controversy.

Officially, Jordan's reasons were pretty straightforward: He had reached almost every peak he could as a player and the game simply no longer demanded his full attention. Simply put, he lost his desire for the game and the trappings of celebrity.

Tragedy undeniably played a part. Earlier that year, his father was murdered by two teens at a highway rest area.

Things were a bit more unusual and complex, however.

Shocker No. 1: Jordan shifted sports and signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.

Shocker No. 2: Rumors circulated, gaining momentum from the imprint of sports writers, that Jordan's admitted proclivity as a high-stakes gambler may have played a role in his decision to retire. Though never proven, it was speculated Jordan's decision was a move by the NBA and its biggest player to save face from what might otherwise be a suspension-related league violations. News items, such as Jordan's payment of $57,000 to cover gambling losses to a known drug dealer, did nothing to squelch suspicions there was a double secret probation at work.

In March 1995, Jordan announced he would again play for the Bulls. His press release, in substance, was a mere two words: "I'm back."

Jordan's second retirement came in 1999, amid a changing of the guard for the Bulls that saw the departure of coach Phil Jackson and teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.

Jordan shifted into a new role within the NBA as part owner of the Washington Wizards.

By 2001, Jordan was again floating trial balloons about returning to the court. That led to an announcement he would indeed play for the Wizards, donating his salary to 9/11-related charities. He lasted just 60 games before being sidelined by a knee injury.

Retirement No. 3 came at the end of that season. Jordan is currently majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.

Garth Brooks
Country music superstar Garth Brooks never quite made good on his threat to take his hat and go home.

The warning signs that Brooks was growing creatively restless began in 1999, with his ill-advised flirtation with an alter ego, grunge rocker Chris Gaines. Although Brooks made no secret of the gimmick (despite a halfhearted attempt to do so at the start), the identity was a dud (aside from a top 40 single that somehow sneaked onto the charts).

In October 2000, Brooks, having reached the milestone of selling 100 million albums in the U.S., announced he was retiring from recording and performing. It was a shock to fans, but perhaps an understandable case of going out at the top. A scattering of performances supported his "last" album, after which he more clearly defined the terms of his retirement. Citing the difficulty of balancing fame and family, he said he would remain offstage until after his youngest daughter turned 18 in 2015.

It was in 2005 that Brooks seemed to rethink. A deal with Wal-Mart ( WMT) saw older and unreleased material gain new life as a boxed set. He also began to perform again for a handful of charity-based concerts. Minitours followed in 2007. Two years later he was a weekend headliner for in Las Vegas at Steve Wynn's ( WYNN) Encore and playing the occasional arena.

Michael Dell
The world of technology is filled with second acts and stories of entrepreneurs who turned over control, only to take it back.

Steve Jobs was ousted by Apple ( AAPL), only to return, save it and lead the company to its greatest success. Google ( GOOG) founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin handed the reins to Eric Schmidt, with Page taking back the role of CEO once "adult supervision" was no longer needed. Rumors still won't die that someday, somehow -- no matter how unlikely it seems -- Bill Gates will return to the helm of Microsoft ( MSFT).

In 2004, Dell ( DELL) founder Michael Dell stepped down as CEO. Staying away proved difficult -- perhaps all the more so when your name and the company's are the same -- and he returned in 2007.

Dell has always remained chairman of the board, so his involvement with the company never lapsed. But, at the request of the board, he returned to the corner office to replace the man who replaced him, former COO Kevin Rollins.

In an announcement that Dell was returning, the board cited his "vision and leadership" as being crucial to the company's future growth. Unspoken was the fact that in the months since his departure the company was getting trounced in sales by its main competitor, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ). Apple and Acer were also steadily chipped away at its consumer sales.

Raymond
By Raymond, we don't mean the sitcom star "everybody loves."

No, this is the whatever-the-heck-that-is mascot of baseball's Tampa Bay Rays. Earlier this month, the team announced that the goofy cheerleader would be retired and replaced by something named "Sunny."

It was a shock, we assume, to fans who heard that announcement during the season opener against the Baltimore Orioles. After all, the mascot had appeared at more than 1,000 games since he debuted in 1998. Put in perspective, that's more appearances than the average nightly attendance at a Rays game (we kid, we kid).

A "Save Raymond" campaign proved unnecessary. The announcement, made on April 1, was, of course, an April Fools' Day prank.

-- Written by Joe Mont in Boston.

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