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Creator / Michael Caine

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He keeps on going and he doesn't blink. Even when wearing enormous glasses.

"My career is going better now than when I was younger. It used to be that I'd get the girl but not the part. Now I get the part but not the girl!"

Sir Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr.note  CBE (born 14 March 1933) is a British actor better known to the world as Michael Caine, with over a hundred films ranging from Zulu to the pictures of Christopher Nolan.

Willing to do parts for the money, or for art. He's an elder statesman of acting, being nominated for an Academy Award every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s, sharing the honor only with Jack Nicholson. He won twice for Best Supporting Actor for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and The Cider House Rules (1999), and has been nominated for leading roles several times over. Often the source of imitation by many comedians because of his distinct Cockney accent.

In 2021, Caine suggested he might not make any more films, citing his advancing age and various health issues, plus an interest in moving into fictional book authorship having completed his first novel, If You Don't Want To Die during the Coronavirus lockdown.

His filmography includes:

    Film roles 

Tropes related to this actor:

  • Actor Allusion: Caine was called up for National Service and served with the Royal Fusiliers in The Korean War. Appropriately enough, his first film role was playing a British soldier in A Hill In Korea.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Why he accepted roles in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and The Muppet Christmas Carol, which he says was a joy to make.
  • Catchphrase: "Not many people know that." ...which is actually a bizarre case of Beam Me Up, Scotty!, as it was actually Peter Sellers doing a Caine impersonation. He was actually given the line to say in Educating Rita as an Actor Allusion.
  • Cool Old Guy: The reason he did Journey 2: The Mysterious Island? He wanted to be in a film where his grandkids can brag about having a grandpa who rode a giant bee.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In all his films.
  • Fake American: In Hurry Sundown,note  The Cider House Rules, and Secondhand Lions.
  • Long-Lost Relative: In the early Nineties, a few years after his mother died Michael discovered that he had an older brother he knew nothing about living in an institution in London. His mother had him out of wedlock before she met Caine's father and he was suffering from epilepsy and brain damage from an injury and had to be put in a hospital. His mother visited him every week but kept him a secret until the day she died because she thought it would hurt her other son's career.
  • Love at First Sight: He saw Shakira Baksh in an advert for coffee, thought she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, and, believing her to be in Brazil, expressed an intention to go there and find her. He was later put in touch with her by a friend; they married in 1973 and have been together ever since.
  • Money, Dear Boy:
    • The reason he accepted parts in many terrible films like Jaws: The Revenge and On Deadly Ground.
      "First of all, I choose the great roles, and if none of these come, I choose the mediocre ones, and if they don't come, I choose the ones that pay the rent."
    • He later admitted to regretting not leaving the set of Jaws: The Revenge to accept his Academy Award for Hannah and Her Sisters. By his own account, Caine didn't think he had a chance of winning since the studio did little to promote Hannah and figured he'd earned a paid vacation in the Bahamas. He later "made damn sure I was there" for his next nomination for The Cider House Rules, which paid off when he won.
    • Of Jaws: The Revenge, he once said: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."
  • Noodle Incident: In his autobiography, Caine discussed a weekend he spent with actor Peter O'Toole. It ended with the two of them waking up in the apartment of two girls they had never met, having no recollection of the previous two days events, and discovering that they had been banned from a local restaurant. When he tried to find out what had transpired, Peter convinced him that it was probably better that they never know.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Whether he's playing a Briton, American, or even a German, Caine rarely drops his trademark Cockney accent. Some films like The Swarm even include explanations why this ostensibly American character sounds like, well, Michael Caine. Zulu is an exception, where he does a fair upper-class accent.
  • Older Than They Look: He's in his nineties, but looks barely any older today than he did when filming The Muppet Christmas Carol (late fifties).
  • Rags to Riches: He came from a working class background.
  • Referenced by...: Pennyworth is practically a love letter to him and his turn as Alfred in The Dark Knight Trilogy. The series' young Alfred (Jack Bannon) has a Cockney accent and working class background, is nicknamed "Alfie", channels Harry Palmer and Jack Carter, and a fictional London avenue is called "Micklewhite".
  • Stage Names: Michael Caine was born Maurice Micklewhite. It got laughs in the audience when his first credit appeared on a film so he took the stage name "Michael Scott". His agent told him over the phone he had to change it again because it was already taken. Looking around the public pay phone in Leicester Square he saw a marquee of a theater playing The Caine Mutiny, and decided to be called Michael Caine. He would joke later that if he looked the other way his name would now be "Michael 101 Dalmatians"!
  • Star-Making Role: The title role of Alfie made him well known internationally, though Zulu really got him noticed.
    • That year (1966) after Alfie was released, Caine was brought to America for the first time by Shirley MacLaine to make his first film in Hollywood, Gambit. Due to scheduling, he was left to his own devices at The Beverly Hills Hotel for a week, and spent time sitting in the lobby star spotting. Doing so, he met John Wayne after the actor arrived by helicopter, checked in, and noticed him. Confirming that Caine was the actor he'd seen in Alfie, Wayne stated that 'the kid' would be a star, but gave some advice: "Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too f—king much." Noting Caine was also wearing suede shoes, Wayne told him not to, to his confusion, as he explained that once Caine was famous, he would be recognized while using urinals in public washrooms, where men would then turn towards him while using the next urinal over in their surprise and end up peeing on Caine's shoes.
  • Uncredited Role: He has an uncredited voice-only cameo in Dunkirk.