LEGEND: MICHAEL CAINE

Michael Caine is a distinguished actor renowned for his Cockney accent and powerful depiction of roles. He was born as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in a working class family in South East London and was named after his father, who was a porter at a fish market. From there he rose to become one of the most celebrated stars in the English as well as American entertainment industry. In a career spanning almost sixty years, Caine has appeared in around 115 films and earned numerous awards and nominations. Today, he is regarded as a British film icon and is ranked as the ninth highest grossing box office star. In spite of such adulation, he still remains a family oriented private person much interested in charity work. Although he had to change his name in the beginning of his career he never forgot his root and so when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, he accepted the honor as Maurice Micklewhite. Apart from being an established actor, Caine is also a reputed writer and has authored nine books, which includes his autobiographies ‘What’s It All About’ and ‘The Elephants to Hollywood’.

  • On being discharged from the national service in 1954 Michael first obtained a job of an assistant stage manager at Westminster Repertory in Horsham, Sussex. According to the terms and conditions, he was also required to perform some walk-on parts for the company. Later, he shifted to Lowestoft Repertory in Sufolk.
  • Some time now, he also realized that to succeed in the entertainment industry he needed to change his name. He first became Michael Scot and then inspired by Humphrey Bogart’s film ‘The Caine Mutiny’ (1954), he changed his name to Michael Caine.
  • In 1956, Michael Caine made his film debut with ‘Panic in Parlour’. But since he played the part of an un-credited sailor, ‘A Hill in Korea’, also released in 1956, is considered to be his debut film.
  • Around the same time, he also started appearing in small roles in television series. His first role on the television was in ‘Adventure of Sir Lancelot’. However, in this program he appeared as Michael Scot and therefore ‘The Lark’ episode of BBC Sunday Night Theatre was actually his television debut as Michael Caine.

  • The first ten years of Caine’s acting life were really hard. He kept appearing in several films, television and radio programs as well as in stage productions. His big break came in 1963, while he was playing Meff in ‘Next Time I’ll Sing to You’, a Cockney comedy at Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly.
  • Stanley Baker, who was producing a film on the historical battle between the British and the Zulus, offered him the part of a cockney soldier in his film ‘Zulu’. Since the role had already been assigned to another Cockney actor Caine got the role of a snobbish, upper class officer.
  • ’Zulu’, premiered on 22 January 1964 received extremely positive reviews. Moreover, the film helped Caine to receive international attention. In the same year, he also appeared as Horatio in ‘Hamlet at Elsinore’, produced by BBC in association with Danish radio.
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  • However, it was his next film ‘The Ipcress File’ (1965), which actually made him a star. His depiction of Harry Palmer earned him his first BAFTA nomination. Incidentally, he went on to play Palmer in four other films; ‘Funeral in Berlin’ (1966), ‘Billion Dollar Brain’ (1967), ‘Bullet to Beijing’ (1995) and ‘Midnight in Saint Petersburg’ (1995).

  • The romantic comedy drama film ‘Alfie’ (1966) was another of his major works of this period. In this film, Caine played the role of a womanizing chauffeur Alfie Elkins and earned two awards and three nominations, including the nomination for Academy Award for Best Actor.
  • In the same year, Caine traveled to the USA on the request of Shirley MacLaine and appeared as Harry Tristan Dean, opposite her, in ‘Gambit’. The film was highly successful and Caine received his second Golden Globe Award nomination.
  • The film was followed by few other hits like ‘Funeral in Berlin’ (1966), ‘Play Dirty’ (1969), ‘Battle of Britain’ (1969), ‘Too Late the Hero’ (1970), ‘The Last Valley’ (1971) and ‘Get Carter’ (1971), ‘The Eagle Has Land (1976), ‘The Silver Bears’ (1978), ‘California Suit’ (1978), Bridge Too Far’ (1977) etc.
  • Although he received critical acclaim for his roles in all of these films, two of his best works in 1970s were ‘Sleuth’ (1972) and ’The Man Who Would Be King’ (1975). Appearing as Milo Tindle in ‘Sleuth’ he received his second Academy nomination along with costar Oliver Lawrence. . .
  • Caine began the 1980s with box office hits like ‘Dressed to Kill’ (1980), ‘The Island’ (1980), ‘Educating Rita’ (1983) etc. Ultimately, it was ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ (1986), which earned him his first Academy Award. Few Other significant works of this decade were ‘Mona Lisa’ (1986), ‘Jaws, The Revenge’ (1987), ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988).
  • Subsequently, Caine slowed down a bit, appearing in mediocre films for better part of the 1990s. Then 1998 onwards he experienced a resurgence in his career. His next two films ‘Little Voice’ (1998) and. ‘The Cider House Rules’ (1999) earned him several awards and nominations.
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  • He began the next millennium with a period drama film, ‘Quills’, which was a huge hit at the box office. It was followed by many more hit films such as ‘Miss Congeniality’ (2000), ‘Last Orders’ (2001), ‘The Quiet American’ (2002), ‘Secondhand Lions’ (2003), “Around the Bend’ (2004), and ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008).
  • ’Inception’, a 2010 multi starrer, was another of his noteworthy works. Although he did not get any award for it, he received number of nominations for his role of Professor Stephen Miles. His last released film is ‘The Last Witch Hunter’.

Fact 1
Michael Caine performed in the film “Hurry Sundown” in 1967. This was the first film that he played a role wherein he used an American accent.

Fact 2
During the early years of his career Michael Caine was roommates with actor Terence Stamp in London.

Fact 3
Stanley Caine, the younger brother of Michael Caine has appeared in three films that he has appeared in. These are “Billion Dollar Brain,” “Play Dirty,” and “The Italian Job”.

Fact 4
Michael Caine appeared in three films during the beginning years of his career that have been remade. These films are “Alfie,” “The Italian Job,” and “Get Carter”.

Fact 5
The very first film that Michael Caine appeared in was “Hell in Korea”, which was released in 1956.

Fact 6
Michael Caine is just this actor’s stage name. His real name is Maurice Micklewhite. He uses his real name in his day-to-day life.

Fact 7
Michael Caine was friends with John Wayne. He visited the actor several times while he was dying of cancer.

Fact 8
In 1972 Michael Caine was offered a role in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy”. He turned down the role.

Fact 9
Michael Caine has revealed that his inspiration for acting was Humphrey Bogart.

Fact 10
Out of all of the films that Michael Caine has appeared in he says that “Educating Rita” is his favorite.

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