Michael Caine

Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in South London on March 14th 1933. Michael has a younger brother Stanley Micklewhite born 1935. His father worked as a Billingsgate Fish Market Porter and his mother was a Charwoman.

In 1951 Michael was to join the Queens Royal Regiment and the Royal Fusiliers and serve in Germany and Korea. Upon his return to England he gravitated toward the theater and got a job as an assistant stage manager. He adopted the name of Caine on the advice of his agent, taking it from a marquee that advertised The Caine Mutiny (1954).

In the years that followed he worked in more than 100 television dramas, with repertory companies throughout England and eventually in the stage hit,"The Long and the Short and the Tall.” Zulu (1964), the 1964 adventure epic retelling of a historic 19th-century battle in South Africa between British soldiers and Zulu natives, brought Caine to international attention. Instead of being typecast as a Cockney soldier, he played an effete, aristocratic officer.

Although “Zulu” was a major success, it was the role of Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File (1965) and the title role in Alfie (1966) that made Caine a star of the first magnitude. He epitomized the new breed of actor in mid-’60s England, the working-class bloke with glasses and a down-home accent.

However, after initially starring in some excellent films, particularly in the 1960s, including Gambit (1966), Funeral in Berlin (1966), Play Dirty (1968), Battle of Britain (1969), Too Late the Hero (1970), Last Valley, The (1971) and especially Get Carter (1971), he often seemed to take on roles in below-average films, simply for the money he could by then command.

There were some gems amongst the dross, however. He gave a magnificent performance opposite Sean Connery in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and turned in a solid performance as a German colonel in The Eagle Has Landed (1976). Educating Rita (1983) and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) (for which he won his first Oscar) were highlights of the 1980s, while more recently Little Voice (1998), The Cider House Rules (1999) (his second Oscar) and Last Orders (2001) have been widely acclaimed.