Actor-turned-director Clint Eastwood has defended his friend Gene Hackman's decision to quit acting - insisting he has earned the right to retire.
Hackman announced in 2004 that he was leaving the entertainment industry for good because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
And although Eastwood regrets that there will never be another film featuring Hackman, he respects his pal's decision and won't try to make him change his mind.
He tells MTV.com, "It is a sad thing. I know his agent and I saw him recently, and he said, 'Can't you talk Gene into coming back?' I said, 'I'd love to see him come back, but I think it's not very nice to ride him.' He's too good an actor not to be performing, but by the same token, he probably thinks that's enough."