Veteran director Robert Altman kept his heart transplant a secret from Hollywood for over a decade, as he feared he would never work again if the news got out. The Gosford Park film-maker, 81, underwent the life-saving operation in 1995, but decided to keep his ordeal quiet to avoid being ostracised from the movie community. He said, "(It has) such a stigma. I thought maybe no one would hire me again." Altman amazed the film industry at the Academy Awards last night (05MAR06), when he announced the news of his heart transplant operation while onstage collecting a Lifetime Achievement Award.