Michael Caine

(b. 1933) English film actor

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1933– )

British film actor, star of almost one hundred films.

Born in a working-class area of south London, Maurice Micklewhite worked as a porter at Smithfield meat market before gaining acting experience through minor stage and film roles. His first offer of a major part came while telephoning from a call box in London's Leicester Square, but on condition that he find himself a suitable stage name. Looking across the square, he saw that The Caine Mutiny was being premiered and decided on Michael Caine. In his first starring role, as an aristocratic army officer in the spectacular epic Zulu (1964), he played opposite the well-established Stanley Baker. Caine subsequently co-starred with such well-known actors as Laurence Olivier (Sleuth, 1972), Sean Connery (The Man Who Would be King, 1975), and Bob Hoskins (Mona Lisa, 1986). He has been directed by Bryan Forbes (The Wrong Box, 1966; Deadfall, 1968), Guy Hamilton (Funeral in Berlin, 1967; The Battle of Britain, 1969), Otto Preminger (Hurry Sundown, 1967), Vittorio De Sica (Woman Times Seven, 1967), and Ken Russell (Billion Dollar Brain, 1967).

In Alfie (1966), portraying a Cockney Casanova, and in The Ipcress File (1966), as the seedy spy Harry Palmer, Caine established himself as a bespectacled dead-pan sex symbol. Equally adept as a brutal thug (Get Carter, 1971), alcoholic academic (Educating Rita, 1983), and lovable rogue (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 1988), Caine received three Oscar nominations before finally winning the Oscar for best supporting actor in Woody Allen's Hannah and her Sisters (1986). A millionaire, Caine has found steady employment in the international film industry and is part-owner of several London restaurants.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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