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Michael Caine

The personification of Brit cool, ‘My name is Michael Caine‘ was even immortalised in song by Madness. Except of course it was really Maurice Micklewhite, born in Bermondsey in 1933 to a charwoman mother and a father who worked in Billingsgate fish market. Caine saw action in Korea, then after various odd jobs, answered an advert for an assistant stage manager at Horsham Rep.

Caine’s big break came when, aged 30, he won the leading role in Zulu. He quickly capitalised on his success, landing several iconic roles – Harry Palmer, Alfie, Carter and Charlie Croker in The Italian Job (Alfie won him the first of six Oscar nominations).

Those who persist in dismissing Caine as a ‘star’ forget he went head to head with Olivier in Sleuth, earning his second Academy nomination. The third came for Educating Rita, and Caine won Best Supporting Actor for Hannah And Her Sisters. He hasn’t ignored the UK either, adding his weight to Mona Lisa, Little Voice and Last Orders. His second Oscar came for The Cider House Rules and the sixth nomination (and some of the best reviews ever) for The Quiet American.


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