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||To comply with Wikipedia's lead section guidelines, the introduction of this article may need to be rewritten. Please discuss this issue on the talk page and read the layout guide to make sure the section will be inclusive of all essential details. (May 2011)|
|Sir Michael Caine
Caine in 2008
|Born||Maurice Joseph Micklewhite
14 March 1933
Southwark, London, England, United Kingdom
(m. 1955–1962; divorced)
|Children||Dominique Caine (b. 1956)
Natasha Caine (b. 1973)
|Relatives||Stanley Caine (brother)|
Sir Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, CBE, better known as Michael Caine, (14 March 1933) is an English actor.
Caine is one of two actors nominated for an Academy Award for acting in every decade from the 1960s to 2000s, the other one being Jack Nicholson. In 2000, Caine was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his contribution to cinema.
Caine was born in St Olave's Hospital, Rotherhithe, Southwark in South East London, the son of Ellen Frances Marie (née Burchell; 1900-1989), a cook and charwoman, and Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, a fish market porter. His father was of English, Irish, and, reportedly, Irish Traveller ancestry. Caine was brought up in his mother's Protestant religion (his father was Catholic).
Caine grew up in Southwark, South London, and during the Second World War he was evacuated to North Runcton near King's Lynn in Norfolk. After the war, when his father was demobilised, the family was rehoused by the council in Marshall Gardens at the Elephant and Castle in a pre-fabricated house made in Canada, as much of London's housing stock had been damaged during the Blitz in 1940-41.
The prefabs, as they were known, were intended to be temporary homes while London was rebuilt, but we ended up living there for eighteen years and for us, after a cramped flat with an outside toilet, it was luxury.
In 1944, he passed his eleven plus exam, winning a scholarship to Hackney Downs Grocers' School. After a year there he moved to Wilson's Grammar School in Camberwell (now Wilson's School in Wallington, South London), which he left at sixteen after gaining a School Certificate in six subjects. He then worked briefly as a filing clerk and messenger for a film company in Victoria Street and the film producer Jay Lewis in Wardour Street. From 1952, when he was called up to do his national service, until 1954, he served in the British Army's Royal Fusiliers, first at the BAOR HQ in Iserlohn, Germany and then on active service during the Korean War. Caine has said he would like to see the return of national service to help combat youth violence, stating: "I'm just saying, put them in the Army for six months. You're there to learn how to defend your country. You belong to the country. Then when you come out, you have a sense of belonging rather than a sense of violence."
Caine's acting career began at the age of 20 in Horsham, Sussex when he responded to an advertisement in The Stage for an assistant stage manager who would also perform small walk-on parts for the Horsham-based Westminster Repertory Company who were performed at the Carfax Electric Theatre. Adopting the stage name "Michael Scott", In July 1953 he was cast as the drunkard Hindley in the Company's production of Wuthering Heights. He moved to the Lowestoft Repertory Company in Suffolk for a year when he was 22. It was here that he met his first wife. He has described the first nine years of his career as "really, really brutal." 
When his career took him to London in 1954 after his provincial apprenticeship, his agent informed him that there was already a Michael Scott performing as an actor in London and that he had to come up with a new name immediately. Speaking to his agent from a telephone box in Leicester Square, London, he looked around for inspiration, noted that The Caine Mutiny was being shown at the Odeon Cinema in 1954, and decided to change his name to "Michael Caine". (Humphrey Bogart was his "screen idol" and he would later play the part originally intended for Bogart in John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King.) He has joked in interviews that had he looked the other way, he would have ended up as "Michael One Hundred and One Dalmatians". (This quip is obviously tongue-in-cheek as the film One Hundred and One Dalmatians was not made until seven years later in 1961 and thus the title would not have been seen by him on a Leicester Square cinema marquee in 1954.) In 1959, he was Peter O'Toole's understudy in Lindsay Anderson's West End staging of Willis Hall's The Long and the Short and the Tall. He took over the role when O'Toole left to make Lawrence of Arabia (1960) and went on to a four-month tour of Britain and Ireland.
Michael Caine's first film role was as one of the privates in George Baker's platoon in the 1956 film A Hill in Korea. The stars of the film were George Baker, Stanley Baker, Harry Andrews and Michael Medwin, with Stephen Boyd and Ronald Lewis, and Robert Shaw also had a small part.
A big break came for Caine when he was cast as Meff in James Saunders' Cockney comedy Next Time I'll Sing To You, when this play was presented at the New Arts Theatre in London on 23 January 1963. Scenes from the play's performance were featured in the April 1963 issue of Theatre World magazine.
When this play moved to the Criterion in Piccadilly with Michael Codron directing, he was visited backstage by Stanley Baker, one of the four stars in Caine's first film, A Hill In Korea, who told him about the part of a Cockney corporal in his upcoming film Zulu, a film Baker was producing and starring in. Baker told Caine to meet the director, Cy Endfield, who informed him that he already had given the part that Baker had tipped Caine for to James Booth, a fellow Cockney who was Caine's friend, because he looked more Cockney than Caine did. Endfield then told the 6'2" Caine that he did not look like a Cockney but like an officer, and offered him a screen test for the role of a snobbish, upper class officer after Caine assured him that he could do a posh accent. Caine believes Enfield offered him, a Cockney, the role of an aristocrat as, being American, he did not have the endemic British class prejudice. Though he tested poorly, Endfield gave him the part that would make him a film star.
Location shooting for Zulu took place 14 weeks in Natal, South Africa in 1963. According to his 2011 autobiography The Elephant to Hollywood, Caine had been signed to a seven-year contract by Joseph E. Levine, whose Embassy Films was distributing Zulu. After the return of the cast to England and the completion of the film, Levine released him from the contract, telling him, "I know you're not, but you gotta face the fact that you look like a queer on screen." Levine gave his contract to his Zulu co-star James Booth.
Subsequently, Caine's agent got him cast in the BBC production Hamlet at Elsinore (1964) as Horatio in support of Christopher Plummer's Hamlet. Horatio was the only classical role Caine, who had never received dramatic training, would ever play.
Caine wrote, "...I decided that if my on-screen appearance was going to be an issue, then I would use it to bring out all Horatio's ambiguous sexuality."
After dozens of minor TV roles, Caine finally entered the public eye as the upper class British Army officer Gonville Bromhead in Zulu. This proved paradoxical, as Caine was to become notable for using a regional accent, rather than the Received Pronunciation hitherto considered proper for film actors. At the time, Caine's working class Cockney, just as with the Beatles' Liverpudlian accents, stood out to American and British audiences alike.
Zulu was closely followed by two of his best-known roles: the spy Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File (1965), and the womanising title character in Alfie (1966). He went on to play Palmer in a further four films, Funeral in Berlin (1966), Billion Dollar Brain (1967), Bullet to Beijing (1995) and Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1995). Caine made his first film in the United States in 1966, after an invitation from Shirley MacLaine to play opposite her in Gambit. During the first two weeks, whilst staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he met long term friends John Wayne and agent "Swifty" Lazar.
After working on The Italian Job with Noël Coward, and a solid role as RAF fighter pilot Squadron Leader Canfield in the all-star cast of Battle of Britain (both 1969), Caine played the lead in Get Carter (1971), a British gangster film. Caine was busy with successes including Sleuth (1972) opposite Laurence Olivier, and The Man Who Would Be King (1975) co-starring Sean Connery and directed by John Huston (which he has stated will be the film he wishes to be remembered for after his death). In 1976 he appeared in the screen adaptation by Tom Mankiewicz of the Jack Higgins novel The Eagle Has Landed as Oberst (Colonel) Kurt Steiner, the commander of a Luftwaffe paratroop brigade disguised as Polish paratroopers, whose mission was to kidnap or kill the then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, alongside co-stars Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Jenny Agutter and Donald Pleasence. Subsequently in 1978, he starred in The Silver Bears, an adaptation of Paul Erdman's (1974) novel of the same name. Caine also was part of an all-star cast in A Bridge Too Far (1977).
By the end of the decade, he had moved to the United States, but his choice of roles was often criticised — he admitted to and has since made many self-deprecating comments about taking parts, strictly for the money, in numerous films he knew to be bad, despite working with Hollywood's highly regarded directors such as Irwin Allen, Richard Fleischer, Michael Ritchie and Oliver Stone. Caine was averaging two films a year, but these included such failures as the BAFTA Award-nominated The Magus (1968), the Academy Award-nominated The Swarm (1978), Ashanti (1979) (which he claimed were the worst three films of all the other worst films he ever made), Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), The Island (1980), The Hand (1981) and a reunion with his Sleuth co-star Laurence Olivier in The Jigsaw Man (1982).
Although Caine also took better roles, including a BAFTA-winning turn in Educating Rita (1983), and an Oscar-winning one in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and a Golden Globe-nominated one in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), he continued to appear in notorious duds like the thinly veiled skin flick Blame It on Rio, the Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais comedy Water and the critical-commercial flop Jaws: The Revenge (1987) (in which he had mixed feelings about the production and the final cut) and Bullseye! (1990); his appearing in so many films that did not meet with critical or box office acclaim made him the butt of numerous jokes on the subject. Of the former, Caine famously said (primarily about Jaws: The Revenge) "I have never seen the film, but by all accounts it was terrible. However I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific." All these film failures later became cult films among his fans today. His other successful films (critically and/or financially) were the 1978 Academy Award-winning California Suite, the 1980 Golden Globe-nominated slasher film Dressed to Kill, the 1981 war film Escape to Victory, the 1982 film Deathtrap, and the 1986 Academy Award-nominated Mona Lisa. He also starred in Without a Clue, portraying Sherlock Holmes.
The 1990s were a lean time for Caine, as he found good parts harder to come by. A high point came when he played Ebenezer Scrooge in the critically acclaimed The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), which he considers to be one of his most memorable roles. He played the beleaguered stage director Lloyd Dallas in the film adaptation of Noises Off (1992). He also played a villain in the Steven Seagal film On Deadly Ground (1994). He was in two straight to video Harry Palmer sequels and a few television films. However, Caine's reputation as a pop icon was still intact, thanks to his roles in films such as The Italian Job and Get Carter. His performance in 1998's Little Voice was seen as something of a return to form, and won him a Golden Globe Award. Better parts followed, including The Cider House Rules (1999), for which he won his second Oscar.
In the 2000s, Caine appeared in Miss Congeniality (2000), Last Orders (2001), The Quiet American (2002), for which he was Oscar-nominated, and others that helped rehabilitate his reputation. Several of Caine's classic films have been remade, including The Italian Job, Get Carter, Alfie and Sleuth. In the 2007 remake of Sleuth, Caine took over the role Laurence Olivier played in the 1972 version and Jude Law played Caine's original role. Caine also starred in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) as Austin's father and in 2003 he co-starred with Robert Duvall in Secondhand Lions. In 2005, he was cast as Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth in the first production of the new Batman film series. In 2006, he appeared in the films Children of Men and The Prestige. In 2007 he appeared in Flawless, while in 2008 he reprised his role as Alfred in Christopher Nolan's critically acclaimed Batman sequel, The Dark Knight as well as starring in the British drama Is Anybody There?, which explores the final days of life.
It was reported by Empire magazine that Caine had said that Harry Brown (released on 13 November 2009) would be his last lead role. Caine later declared (in the Daily Mirror) that he had been misquoted by the magazine.
Caine had a cameo appearance in Christopher Nolan's science fiction thriller, Inception. He voiced Finn McMissile in Pixar's 2011 film Cars 2 and also voiced a supporting role in the animation, Gnomeo and Juliet. He also starred in the 2012 film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, as Josh Hutcherson's character's grandfather; the film also featured Dwayne Johnson and Vanessa Hudgens. Caine will reprise his role as Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, due for release in mid 2012. Filming has begun at Wollaton Hall, Wollaton, Nottinghamshire, England.
Caine has been Oscar-nominated six times, winning his first Academy Award for the 1986 film Hannah and Her Sisters, and his second in 1999 for The Cider House Rules, in both cases as a supporting actor.
He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1992 Queen's Birthday Honours, and in the 2000 New Year Honours he was knighted as Sir Maurice Micklewhite CBE. On 5 January 2011, he was made a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France's culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand.
Caine is a popular subject for impressionists and mimics, having a voice and manner of speaking that are distinctive, yet fairly easy to imitate. Most Caine impressions include the catchphrase "Not a lot of people know that." Peter Sellers initiated this when he appeared on BBC1's Parkinson show on 28 October 1972 and said: "Not many people know that. This is my Michael Caine impression. You see, Mike's always quoting from the Guinness Book of Records. At the drop of a hat he'll trot one out. 'Did you know that it takes a man in a tweed suit five and a half seconds to fall from the top of Big Ben to the ground?' Now there's not many people who know that!". The line had been used earlier in Spike Milligan's script for The Last Goon Show of All, performed on 5 October 1972. In 1983, Caine was given the line to say as an in-joke in the film Educating Rita. The line has also been parodied, along with its impression, in the British sketch comedy show, Harry Enfield's Television Programme, with Paul Whitehouse as a stalking neighbourhood character called Michael Paine, who introduced himself with the line "My name is Michael Paine, and I am a nosy neighbour."[clarification needed] Caine himself parodied the phenomenon in an interview with Michael Parkinson, imitating others' impressions of him and including the catchphrase.
A parody of Michael Caine also appears in the animated series Ugly Americans, in the episode "The Dork Knight", which also parodies the film The Dark Knight. In the episode, Caine appears as himself, portrayed in the light of his Alfred Pennyworth interpretation, and constantly annoys the protagonists with endless anecdotes of his career.
Caine lives in Leatherhead, Surrey, and is patron to the Leatherhead Drama Festival. He has also lived in North Stoke, Oxfordshire, Clewer near Windsor, Berkshire, Lowestoft in Suffolk and Chelsea Harbour in London. In addition, Caine owns an apartment at the Apogee in Miami Beach, Florida. He still keeps a small flat near where he grew up in South East London. Caine has published two volumes of memoirs, What's It All About? in 1992 and The Elephant to Hollywood in 2010.
He was married to actress Patricia Haines from 1955 to 1958. They had a daughter, Dominique (who was named after the heroine of the novel The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand). He dated Bianca Jagger in 1968. Caine has been married to actress and model Shakira Baksh since 8 January 1973. They met after Caine saw her appearing in a Maxwell House coffee commercial and a friend gave him her telephone number. They have a daughter, Natasha Haleema.
Some time after his mother died, Caine and his younger brother, Stanley, learned they had an elder half-brother, named David. He suffered from severe epilepsy and had been kept in Cane Hill Mental Hospital his entire life. Although their mother regularly visited her first son in the hospital, even her husband did not know the child existed. David died in 1992.
Trivia books written by Caine include Not Many People Know That!, And Not Many People Know This Either!, Michael Caine's Moving Picture Show and Not A Lot of People Know This is 1988. Proceeds from the books went to the National Playing Fields Association (now Fields In Trust) of which Caine was a prominent supporter.
Unlike many actors who adopt their stage name for everyday use, Caine still uses his real name when he is not working.
Caine was called up for national service in the British Army in 1951 when he was aged 18 and was deployed to South Korea to help in the aftermath of the North Korean invasion. He served as part of the Royal Fusiliers. He said he had gone into it feeling sympathetic to communism, coming as he did from a poor family. But he has said the experience left him permanently repelled.
Caine has been open about his political views. He left Britain in the 1970s, citing the 82% tax levied on top earners by the Labour government of the time, but returned to Britain several years later when taxes were lowered:
"I decided not to become a tax exile, so I stayed in Britain, but they kept putting the tax up, so I'd do any old thing every now and then to pay the tax, that was my tax exile money. I realised that's not a socialist country, it's a communist country without a dictator, so I left and I was never going to come back. Maggie Thatcher came in and put the taxes back down and in the end, you know, you don't mind paying tax. What am I going to do? Not pay tax and drive around in a Rolls Royce, with cripples begging on the street like you see in some countries?"
In 2009, Caine openly criticised the Labour government's proposed new 50% tax on top earners:
"The Government has taken tax up to 50 per cent and if it goes to 51 I will be back in America. They have reached their limit with me and that's what will happen to a lot of people. You know how much they made out of that high taxation all those years ago? Nothing. But they sent a mass of incredible brains to America. We've got 3.5 million layabouts laying about on benefits, and I'm 76, getting up at 6 am to go to work to keep them. Let's get everybody back to work so we can save a couple of billion and cut tax, not keep sticking it on."
"You're saying to poor people, 'let's tax those rich gits' and I understand that. You slice up the cake, give everyone a chance, but don't destroy the people that are making the bloody cake! I really believe about taking care of people, I don't mind paying tax. It's how the government spends my tax that I detest, really detest, because I see the waste. More money than all our income tax is spent on benefits. Now you tell me there is nothing wrong with that system."
Caine also stated in 2009 that he was likely to vote for the Conservatives again:
"I'll probably vote Conservative. I mean, we're in a terrible state whichever way you look at it, socially, financially and politically, so just give the other guy a chance. I don't know what Cameron's going to do, but in the end you vote out of desperation. You just have to have someone new and see what happens."
During the run up to the 2010 General Election, Caine publicly endorsed the Conservative Party, despite claiming to have supported New Labour in 1997.  He appeared with David Cameron for the Conservative leader's launch of a civilian non-compulsory 'National Service' for teenagers.
Caine is a fan of chill-out music and has compiled a mix CD called Cained, which was released in 2007 by UMTV. According to Michael Caine, he met Elton John and was discussing musical tastes, when Caine claimed that he had been creating chillout mix tapes as an amateur for years. Also in music, Caine provided vocal samples for the band Madness for their 1984 hit "Michael Caine" as his daughter was a fan. He has sung in film roles as well, including for the musical film, The Muppet Christmas Carol.
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