Terrence Howard Plans to Retire, Says He's 'Given the Very Best' as an Actor (Exclusive)

The Oscar-nominated actor made the comments at the premiere for his Peacock series.

Terrence Howard is ready to pass the torch to the next generation of young Hollywood actors. As far as he's concerned, the end is here for the Academy Award-nominated actor.

During the red carpet appearance for the Peacock series The Best Man: The Final Chapters at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, the 53-year-old actor divulged to ET's Kevin Frazier why he's calling it a career, and this time for real. But if this all sounds familiar, it's because fans will recall Howard made similar statements in 2019 as the final season of Empire neared.

At the time, Howard told ET he was "running away as quickly as possible" when the hit Fox series ended. Since then, Howard has appeared in numerous projects, including The Best Man series, streaming Dec. 22 on Peacock. This time around, Howard is adamant he's walking away from Hollywood for good.

"This is the end for me. This is the end for me. I don't know if it's the end for the rest of them," he said. "I retired two years ago, for the most part. I was done. ... I asked Sidney Poitier 10 years ago does he want to do any more work, and he said, 'Why would I spend my last 10 years doing an impersonation of myself?' And that's what I've gotten to."

He continued, "I've gotten to the point where now I've given the very best that I have as an actor. Now I'm enjoying watching other new talent come around, and I don't want to do an impersonation of myself."

Howard doubled down when asked if he was ready to hand the reins over.

"Yes, there's some better actors out there that can do things that I was never able to do," he said. "So, I want to applaud them, I want to be excited about what they do."

Howard's storied career includes a 2006 Oscar nomination for Best Actor following his role in Hustle & Flow. Howard made his acting debut in 1992 as Jackie Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream. He'd go on to earn roles on All My Children, and in films such as Mr. Holland's Opus, Dead PresidentsWho's the Man, and Four Brothers. More recently, he earned accolades for playing Lucious Lyon on Empire, which ended after six seasons in 2020.

Howard also dabbled a bit in the Marvel universe, when he took on the role of James "Rhodey" Rhodes in the first Iron Man film, which also starred Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. Howard was ultimately replaced with Don Cheadle in the Iron Man franchise following a salary dispute. In a 2013 interview on Watch What Happens Live, Howard got candid about how it all transpired while taking a thinly veiled jab at Downey Jr.

"This is gonna get me in a lot of trouble, but who gives a f**k," Howard said at the time. "It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one, took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out."

Fast forward to now, Howard reflected on his Iron Man role, referring to the project as a "big dance" and whose party ended when Disney took over the Marvel Universe in a 2009 acquisition.

"Yeah, well, Iron Man was a big dance," he said. "It was great until Disney took it over. Once Disney took it over, they started looking after money. You know, the very first thing they did was come in and shook everyone down and shook Gwyneth Paltrow down, try to shake my character down and my agent said, 'F-U" and hung up."

He continued, "It used to be about creativity, but when we first stepped on that set, Robert had so much to prove, I had a lot to prove. Gwyneth had a lot to prove, and I think we did it. We made our statements. And now it's like, 'Let's see where the universe goes to.'"

In the limited series born out of the 1999 film The Best Man, Howard reprises his role as Quentin for the story's "final installment." After all he's been through, young Quentin has some sage advice for present-day Howard.

"I would tell me slow down. I would say, it's not going to happen as quickly as you want it to and more than likely will not happen," he said. "You're not going to change their minds, stay in your lane, stop trying to make it better for everyone else in the dance."

He continued, "I spent a lot of energy hurting myself, trying to open the door for others who quickly slammed the door after they got in. Look after yourself and defend your integrity. If somebody comes after your name, attack them with everything you've got. Defend your name, that's the one thing I would tell myself."

The Best Man: Final Chapters premieres on Peacock Dec. 22.



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