Michael Caine Biography

Film Actor, Actor(1933–)
Michael Caine is a beloved Oscar-winning actor known for his roles in films like Alfie, Hannah and Her Sisters and the latest Batman incarnations.

Synopsis

Born on March 14, 1933, in London, Michael Caine went on to pursue a varied acting career. His first acclaimed role was as agent Harry Palmer in 1965's The Ipcress File, and he went on to be featured in films like Alfie, The Italian Job, Sleuth, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series and many more. He’s won two Oscars, one for Hannah and Her Sisters and the other for The Cider House Rules.

Early Life

Born Maurice Micklewhite on March 14, 1933, Michael Caine grew up in south London. His father worked as a fish porter and his mother was a cleaner. After completing Wilson's Grammar School, he went to work around age 16. Caine, interested in show business from an early age, got an office job with Peak Films and then a position with the J. Arthur Rank company.

In the early 1950s, Caine had to do two years of national service, becoming a member of the Queens Royal Regiment and the Royal Fusiliers and spending time in Germany and Korea while in the military. After completing his service, Caine worked in regional theater and took odd jobs to make ends meet. It wasn't long before the young actor decided he needed a stage name, and he took his new last name from the Humphrey Bogart classic The Caine Mutiny (1954). He made his film debut in 1956's A Hill in Korea, but for many years, Caine struggled as an actor.

Career Breakthrough

Caine's luck began to turn around with 1964's Zulu. He traded in his Cockney accent to play a British officer in the film about a clash between the Zulu people and the British military. After this breakout role, Caine portrayed a spy in The Ipcress File (1965) based on the book by Len Deighton (a role for which he was nominated for a BAFTA). He then epitomized the swinging 1960s as the ultimate ladies' man in Alfie (1966). The film helped introduce him to American audiences and brought him his first Academy Award nomination.

In 1972, Caine more than held his own against legendary actor Laurence Olivier in Sleuth. He starred with friend Sean Connery in the adventure drama The Man Who Would Be King (1975). Then, showing his lighter side, Caine appeared in the Neil Simon ensemble comedy California Suite (1978) with Jane Fonda, Alan Alda and Maggie Smith.

Later Films

Continuing to work steadily in the 1970s and 1980s, Caine's roles were a perfect mix of high and low, as he appeared in such box office duds as The Swarm (1978), Ashanti (1979), The Island (1980) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987) while also hitting the big screen in such films as A Bridge Too Far (1977), and Dressed to Kill (1980). He also turned in a strong performance in Educating Rita (1983), and his first Academy Award was a result of his stellar work in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).

Caine's career hit a bit of a lull in the 1990s, but he managed to turn things around near the end of the decade, earning positive reviews for 1998's Little Voice, playing a ruthless, down-on-his-luck talent agent. The following year, Caine gave another great performance in The Cider House Rules, based on the John Irving novel. He played a doctor who runs a Maine orphanage (also an illegal abortion clinic) and develops a close bond with one of his wards (Tobey Maguire). The part brought Caine his second Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

With the turn of the century, Caine's career launched into what might be his most high-profile decade of work. In 2002, he took on the role of Thomas Fowler in The Quiet American, for which he took home a slew of awards and was nominated for even more. Three years later, he began a relationship with director Christopher Nolan, and Caine would go on to appear in several of Nolan's blockbuster films, including Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Inception (2010) and Interstellar (2014). While success has remained a near constant, Caine readily admits that some aspects of his career have changed: "I'm older now; I don't get the girl," he told Variety. "I get the role, which is much better."

Personal Life

Caine was married to actress Patricia Haines in the 1950s, and they had a daughter together named Dominique. In 1973, Caine married his second wife, Shakira Baksh. They have one child, a daughter named Natasha.

In 2000, Queen Elizabeth granted Caine a knighthood under his real name. He chose to use his birth name in tribute to his father.

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