Award winning actress Dame Joan Plowright has announced that she has retired from acting.

Sad to hear that Joan Plowright, who is a much-loved actress by anyone’s standard but also happens to be theatrical royalty as the widow of Lord Olivier, has had to retire from acting (Telegraph, 13 May 2014).

Joan Plowright (right) and Liza Tarbuck in Absolutely! (Perhaps) in London in 2003

Joan Plowright (right) and Liza Tarbuck in Absolutely! (Perhaps) in London in 2003

The 84 year old is now completely blind from a macular degeneration, which means that over the last decade she has slowly lost her eye sight.

Her agents at Independent Talent Group confirmed the news this week.

Her extraordinary stage career included performing with the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956 cast as Margery Pinchwife in The Country Wife, and co-starring with her future husband Laurence Olivier in 1957 in John Osborne’s The Entertainer. She won a Tony Award in 1961 for A Taste of Honey on Broadway.

But it’s her film and TV work that has introduced her to each new generation, from The Entertainer in 1960, to a Golden Globe for Enchanted April in 1992, Tea With Mussolini with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Cher in 1999, and another Golden Globe for her performance in HBO film Stalin in 1992.

The news comes following Dame Judi Dench’s revelation earlier this year that she also has failing eyesight due to age-related macular degeneration, and is no longer able to read scripts. Dame Judi will celebrate her 80th birthday on 9 December 2014.