Happy 90th birthday, Michael Caine!
The actor, who was born as Maurice Micklewhite, in 1933, has carved out a career as a Hollywood staple. Sir Caine, who was knighted in 2000, is now worth around $60 million, but that wasn’t always the case!
Caine was born in poverty, during the Great Depression. His father worked in a fish market and his mother cleaned offices to support their two young children. His father had encouraged him to join the family business and sell fish, but Caine decided to risk everything in the pursuit of his passion.
“I became an actor knowing that I would never be a star,” he told The Mirror. “I would never be rich, and I would never be famous. All I tried to do was to become the best actor I could possibly become. […] If you listen to your parents, you’re normally stacking shelves in the market. They’ll tell you: ‘Don’t do that, get a regular job,’ you know? And I became an actor, but my father wanted me to work in the fish market where he worked. Suppose I’d listened to him?”
His early career was rocky. He did not have initial success, which led most of his friends to abandon him. “When I was a young actor I was very poor. I couldn’t buy a round in the pub and they stopped talking to me. So all my friends were rich people I met later, fortunately. Roger Moore and Sean Connery are the two actors that I’m closest to.”
Caine took roles that didn’t interest him—most notably, his role in Jaws 4—to keep his own family afloat. Despite the setbacks, Caine’s career break happened late, in 1964’s “Zulu”, when he was already 31. What followed was one of the most prolific careers in acting. Reflecting on his long road to stardom, Caine seems to have no regrets.
“The day I became Michael Caine, that was it – I was Michael Caine. I wasn’t Maurice anymore, I was a completely different person. And it was amazing. It was fabulous. […] He was broke. He was out of work. And the moment I became Michael Caine, I got a job and was on my way.”