From a fun-loving playboy to a cynical secret agent, Michael Caine has proven that there is no role too challenging for him to take on and such versatility has helped him to become one of the greatest actors Britain has ever produced. In an illustrious career spanning seven decades, the London-born star has appeared in over 100 films, including box office hits like The Dark Knight Trilogy, as well as critically-acclaimed fares such as Hannah and Her Sisters.
Caine has received several accolades for his performances and joined the select league of movie stars who have been nominated for an acting Oscar in five different decades. He has also been knighted by The Queen and in the year 2011, received France’s highest cultural honor, The Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. The beloved and hardworking actor is now heading to his 90s but shows no signs of slowing down any time soon and is one of the stars of the 2019 historical drama, Medieval.
How Michael Caine Was Set On His Way To Stardom
Believe it or not, Michael Caine (birth name – Maurice Joseph Micklewhite) first took to acting in order to avoid a life of trouble on the streets. As a young boy who hailed from a poor working-class background, Caine grew up in dangerous low-income neighborhoods in London and was bound for unruly street life. In a bid to avoid this, he joined the neighborhood youth club and got involved in drama classes. He subsequently fell in love with acting and decided to pursue a career in that direction.
Caine initially honed his acting skills in several club plays and upon graduation from grammar school, joined a film company as a clerk and messenger. The young man was then forced to temporarily suspend his acting aspirations after he was called up for national service at the age of 19. Subsequently, Caine spent two years in overseas military service and came back to London in 1954. Upon his return, he joined a repertory company and landed small parts in several of their productions. He then endured a stream of minor movies, TV, and repertory roles for the next decade.
His Emergence As Breakout Star Of The 60s With Films Like The Ipcress File, Alfie, And The Italian Job
The bit parts that Michael Caine initially got paid him next to nothing and he had to live from hand to mouth. The young man however persevered and his endurance paid off in 1964 when he landed the supporting role of a soldier in the film, Zulu. Zulu is an epic war film that chronicled the battle between some British soldiers and Zulu tribesmen. The film was quite popular with viewing audiences and this made Caine (who portrayed one of the British soldiers) a noticeable figure.
The London-born actor then consolidated his star status through vastly-differing lead roles in two popular films namely The Ipcress File (1965) and Alfie (1966). The Ipcress File is a British espionage film in which Caine played the lead role of Harry Palmer, a former British Army sergeant with a criminal past who now works for the government as a spy. The film was praised for being a fun version of the Bond franchise and also won the best film award at the BAFTAs. These strides naturally helped to make its lead star a household name all throughout Britain.
Ultimately, the film that made Michael Caine a Hollywood star was the 1966 American rom-com, Alfie. In Alfie, Caine played the lead role of a morally-bankrupt philanderer who is forced to face the consequences of his promiscuous lifestyle after misfortune strikes. Alfie impressed moviegoers to no end, especially with Caine often breaking the 4th wall to talk to them. It totaled $8 million at the box office and received several Academy Award nominations including, one for the best actor for Caine.
Following his Oscar-nominated performance in Alfie, Michael Caine became a sought-after actor in both Britain and America and he went on to land roles in other projects. One of the most popular is the 1969 heist film, The Italian Job. The movie followed a rag-tag team of Cockney criminals who have just been released from prison and are making grand plans to steal gold from an armored security truck in Italy. Caine played the leader of the gang, Charles Croker, and the film went on to become one of the greatest British films ever made.
The Critically-acclaimed Roles He Played In Sleuth And Educating Rita
The 60s did wonders for Michael Caine’s career and he began landing roles by the dozens, most of which he took. Some of these films were for the purpose of making rent while others were critically acclaimed roles which the actor was honored to play.
One such project was the 1972 mystery-thriller film, Sleuth, revolving around Andrew, a man who wants to divorce his wife without losing his fortune. He, therefore, joins hands with his wife’s ex-lover, Milo, to plan a robbery to that effect but their differing personalities get in the way. Sleuth featured Caine as Milo while legendary English actor, Laurence Olivier, played Andrew. The movie received several awards with both Caine and his co-star scoring Academy Award nominations for the best actor.
The next film that fetched Michael Caine an Academy Award nomination for best actor is the 1983 film, Educating Rita. In the movie, the Londoner played the role of an alcoholic professor, Dr. Bryant, who rediscovers his love for teaching after helping a young lady fulfill her academic potential. Educating Rita not only fetched Caine his third Oscar nomination. It also brought him the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards in that same category.
Michael Caine Has Received The Academy Award For Best Supporting Actor Twice
Michael Caine may have had multiple disappointing outings at the Oscars but he has also picked up the coveted golden statuette on two occasions. The London-born actor received the award for best supporting actor for his performance in the 1986 movie, Hannah and Her Sisters, a comedy-drama about the intertwined stories of an extended family. The movie was a smashing success at the box office, totaling $40.1 million on a budget of $6.4 million. It also received several awards, one of which was the best supporting actor award for Caine.
It would be more than a decade before Caine would get another Academy Award and this was for the 1999 film, The Cider House Rules, a touching story about an orphan, Homer, who has suffered several rejections from foster parents. He settles down in an orphanage and grows to become quite close to the doctor (Dr. Wilbur Larch) running the orphanage named. The Cider House Rules featured the likes of Tobey Maguire and Charlize Theron while Caine deftly portrayed Dr. Wilbur. His convincing performance fetched him the Oscar for the best supporting actor.
Three years after the success of The Cider House Rules, Michael Caine was nominated for the Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of a conflicted British journo in the movie, The Quiet American. He did not win this time around but still made history as just one of four actors to have been nominated for acting Oscars in five different decades. Others in this exclusive club are Laurence Olivier, Paul Newman, and Jack Nicholson.
The Legendary Actor Has Written Books And Once Released A Mixtape
Michael Caine has dedicated much of his life to acting but he has also made the occasional dabble into other creative interests. The Alfie star is an author and has chronicled his fascinating life adventures in about three different memories titled What’s It All About, The Big Elephant in Hollywood, and Blowing The Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life. These memoirs feature candid anecdotes, warm recollections, as well as practical advice to those who also want to follow his footsteps into Hollywood.
Caine is also the author of some trivia books such as Not Many Know!, Not A Lot of People Know This Is 1988, Michael Caine’s Moving Picture Show, and Not Many People Know This Either!. These books were part of a charity initiative by the actor to raise money for a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing open spaces for sports and recreational activities throughout Britain.
Caine’s artistic talents have also extended to the music realm. The actor dropped a mixtape, titled Cained, in 2009. The mixtape featured electronic remixes of chill songs, such as Sinnerman by Nina Simone and Crossing by Agartha, and the actor made about a dozen copies for his family members. His loved ones gladly played them in their cars but that was the end of it. The mixtape went no further than that and Caine wisely advised himself not to make any more copies or even other mixtapes in the future.
Caine Has Gathered A Fortune Estimated At About $75 Million
Sir Michael Caine has come a long way from his poor working-class origins. He now has a net worth of $75 million and his fortune stems from his accomplished acting career which has seen him feature in over a hundred movies to date.
Caine made his first significant paychecks in the 60s, from movies such as Alfie and The Ipcress Files, and this fact made him lose his head a bit. He went out and splurged on a Rolls Royce, which he didn’t know how to drive, and had to spend even more money to get a chauffeur to drive him around. The absurdity of the whole thing taught the actor quite a lesson and he has never repeated his old mistakes.
Caine now drives ordinary grey cars like everyone else. He also has two houses, including one in Miami Beach, Florida, where he and his family can escape to for sunny vacations when Britain is shrouded in winter. The actor makes his primary home in Leatherhead, Surrey, London. His eight-acre estate is valued at $5 million and features a main house, two cottages, an indoor pool, landscaped gardens, a media room, gym, studio, greenhouse, and potting shed.
It Was The Actor’s Immaturity That Ruined His First Marriage
Michael Caine has been married on two occasions and his first marriage was to an English actress, the late Patricia Haines. Haines was a TV star who featured in several shows such as The Nutshell, The Avengers, Danger Man, Public Eye, Emmerdale Farm, The Baron, Special Branch, and Within These Walls. She also featured in a few films such as Virgin Witch and The Night Caller during her lifetime.
Caine and Haines first met at a theatre located in Suffolk in 1954. They quickly fell in love and tied the knot that same year, specifically on the 3rd of April. The union lasted for eight years and the couple divorced in 1962. Caine has since acknowledged that the failure of the marriage was due to his immaturity in handling the poverty, as well as the feelings of personal and professional failure he was dealing with at the time.
According to the Oscar winner, he had to quit his job in the early years of marriage, as Haines had more talent and chances of success. He then settled down to do a bunch of soul-destroying menial jobs such as plumbing, dishwashing, and laundryman. By the time Patricia had their child, Caine was fed up with his whole miserable existence and called things quits.
He And Wife, Shakira Caine, Have Been Together For Nearly 50 years
Michael Caine may have made some missteps in his first marriage but he made sure to remedy them when he got his second chance at love with model/actress, Shakira Caine.
Nee Baksh, Shakira is originally from Guyana and first rose to fame after winning the national beauty title at the age of 18. She subsequently participated in the 1967 Miss World contest, where she finished a respectable third, and then stayed back to work as a model in London. Since then, Shakira has appeared in several commercials. She has also featured in a handful of movies, including 1975’s The Man Who Would Be King.
Legend has it that Michael Caine first saw his wife during her appearance in a TV commercial. He was immediately struck by her beauty and resolved to find her at all costs. The actor utilized his contacts in the showbiz industry and was able to get Shakira’s number. He later called her and she agreed to go on a date with him after initially resisting his charm. The couple later commenced a relationship and tied the knot in Las Vegas in 1973.
Since then, they have waxed stronger and are one of Hollywood’s golden couples. Shakira often accompanies her husband to the red carpets, as well as shooting locations, and he has disclosed that this is to help him avoid the temptation of beautiful actresses. The actor has also quipped that the secret to their longevity is the fact that they don’t share bathrooms. On a more serious note, Caine has credited his wife with literally saving his life. The actor previously consumed copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes but his wife got him to give up the vices.
He Has Two Daughters From His Two Marriages
Caine has two daughters. They are Dominique (from his first marriage) and Natasha Haleema (from his second marriage). Dominique reportedly owns a horse farm while her younger half-sister is a graduate of the University of Manchester. Natasha is also married to a real estate developer and has three kids, twin girls, and a boy.
Even though the two girls are not full siblings, they maintain a close relationship with each other. They also remain quite close to their father and can be spotted up and about with him. For instance, in December 2019, Dominique was pictured taking a walk with her father on the streets of Miami before they subsequently joined other members of the family for some outdoor lunchtime dining.