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.
- 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 was made a Fellow of the British Film Institute in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture.
- Shared a London flat with actor 'Terence Stamp' (qv) early in his career.
- 12/18/05: Attended the party at his close friend Sir 'Elton John' (qv)'s Old Windsor mansion after the singer married 'David Furnish' (qv) in a civil partnership ceremony.
- _Alfie (1966)_ (qv) and _Sleuth (1972)_ (qv) were both remade with 'Jude Law' (qv) taking over his role.
- Originally had the lead role of _Switching Channels (1988)_ (qv) but was held up by production delays on _Jaws: The Revenge (1987)_ (qv).
- In 1957, at Brighton University, Caine appeared in a one-act play written by a fellow actor who went by the name of David Baron. It was Baron's very first play. He later changed his name back to 'Harold Pinter' (qv), the name under which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.
- 10/87: Ranked #55 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.