With 8 very successful seasons, Game of Thrones is one of the most loved and commented productions of recent years. Everyone in the cast benefited from it, and careers took off because of the series, such as Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage and Sophie Turner.
With that in mind, it seems crazy that Jack Gleeson, then 21, decided to retire soon after playing Joffrey Baratheon, one of the sons of Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). The character gained prominence as a villain in GoT until he was murdered in the 2nd episode of the 4th season.
Ending his career with an iconic scene
Joffrey’s demise was overshadowed by fans: the character died of poisoning by Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) on the day of his wedding to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer), and the scene in which he dies in his mother’s lap was considered iconic.
It is a fact that the actor ended his career with a flourish, both for his great role and performance in the last scene, but living one of the most hated villains on TV had a negative impact on his life.
Gleeson played the nasty aristocrat from 2011 to 2014 and received many hate letters from people who mistook fiction for real life during the years the series was on the air, but it was not only because of this that he decided to stop working in the area.
Why Jack Gleeson retired from series and cinema
“You should never be the last to leave the party,” said the actor at the New York Comic Con in 2016, explaining that he didn’t think it was bad to “die” in season 4. The comment aligns with his posture when talking about his career in any interview.
Although he did not reach fame until he got the role in Game of Thrones, Gleeson’s career started when he was only 8, at the time when acting was something he did for fun; but, as he explained to Time magazine: “When you do something for the money, your relationship with that changes”. On several occasions, Gleeson also commented on how much he preferred to be anonymous rather than famous.
Although he was “entertaining for a while”, the sheer amount of “boring stuff involved in making big shots” contributed a lot to the decision to retire at age 21.