Mar. 14th, 1933
Rotherhithe, London, England, UK
Guest TV Roles
Born Maurice Micklewhite in London, Michael Caine was the son of a fish-market porter and a charlady. He left school at 15 and took a series of working-class jobs before joining the British army and serving in Korea during the Korean War, where he saw combat. Upon his return to England he gravitated toward the theater and got a job as an assistant stage manager. He adopted the name of Caine on the advice of his agent, taking it from a marquee that advertised The Caine Mutiny (1954). In the years that followed he worked in more than 100 television dramas, with repertory companies throughout England and eventually in the stage hit, "The Long and the Short and the Tall." Zulu (1964), the 1964 epic retelling of a historic 19th-century battle in South Africa between British soldiers and Zulu warriors, brought Caine to international attention. Instead of being typecast as a low-ranking Cockney soldier, he played a snobbish, aristocratic officer. Although "Zulu" was a major success, it was the role of Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File (1965) and the title role in Alfie (1966) that made Caine a star of the first magnitude. He epitomized the new breed of actor in mid-'60s England, the working-class bloke with glasses and a down-home accent. However, after initially starring in some excellent films, particularly in the 1960s, including Gambit (1966), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Play Dirty (1968), Battle of Britain (1969), Too Late the Hero (1970), The Last Valley (1970) and especially Get Carter (1971), he seemed to take on roles in below-average films, simply for the money he could by then command. There were some gems amongst the dross, however. He gave a magnificent performance opposite Sean Connery in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and turned in a solid one as a German colonel in The Eagle Has Landed (1976). Educating Rita (1983) and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) (for which he won his first Oscar) were highlights of the 1980s, while more recently Little Voice (1998), The Cider House Rules (1999) (his second Oscar) and Last Orders (2001) have been widely acclaimed.
- He was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
- Throughout the 1960s he was by his own estimation drinking two bottles of vodka and smoking at least eighty cigarettes a day. He quit smoking cigarettes following a stern lecture from 'Tony Curtis (I)' (qv) at a party in 1971, and finally quit smoking cigars shortly before his 70th birthday in 2003.
- He and 'Quincy Jones' (qv) were born on the same day.
- Has two brothers. Younger brother 'Stanley Caine' (qv) appeared in at least three of Caine's films: _Billion Dollar Brain (1967)_ (qv), _Play Dirty (1968)_ (qv) and _The Italian Job (1969)_ (qv). He did not know about his elder half-brother David until their mother died. David suffered from epilepsy and had lived in a hospital his entire life.
- An ardent Thatcherite during the 1980s, Caine switched his support to 'Tony Blair (I)' (qv)'s New Labour Party shortly before the 1997 General Election.
- Originally had the lead role of _Switching Channels (1988)_ (qv) but was held up by production delays on _Jaws: The Revenge (1987)_ (qv).
- 6/17/00: Was awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, for his contribution to the performing arts.
- Near the end of _The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)_ (qv), he passes by a store called "Micklewhite's." His real name is Maurice Micklewhite.