Michael Caine biography
Born on March 14, 1933, in London, England, Michael Caine went on to pursue a varied acting career. He starred as agent Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File before going on to be featured in projects like Alfie, The Italian Job, Sleuth, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series and many, many more. He’s won two Oscars, one for Hannah and Her Sisters and the other for The Cider House Rules.
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 the age of 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. He spent 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. Born Maurice Micklewhite, Caine took part of his stage name from the Humphrey Bogart classic The Caine Mutiny (1954). He made his film debut in 1956's A Hill in Korea. For many years, Caine struggled as an actor.
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. 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). Showing his lighter side, Caine appeared in the Neil Simon ensemble comedy California Suite (1978) with Jane Fonda, Alan Alda and Maggie Smith.
Continuing to work steadily in the 1970s and 1980s, Caine made some questionable choices on his film roles. He appeared in such box office duds as The Swarm (1978), The Island and Jaws: The Revenge (1987). Even during this time, Caine gave some strong performances. He received strong reviews for Educating Rita (1983) and his first Academy Award for Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).
Caine's career hit a bit of lull in the 1990s, but he managed to turn things around near the end of the decade. He earned 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 to one of his wards (Tobey Maguire). The part brought him his second Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In this later stage of his career, Caine appears to be thriving. He has taken a variety of supporting parts, including playing Batman's trusted aide Alfred in Christopher Nolan's latest retelling of the superhero saga. As Caine told Variety, "I'm older now; I don't get the girl. I get the role, which is much better."
He 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 him a knighthood under his real name. He chose to use his birth name in tribute to his father.