One of the films being aired is HELL IN KOREA (1956), which contains his first credited screen performance along with many of my favorite Caine films including BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN (1967), THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975), HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986), THE IPCRESS FILE (1965), GET CARTER (1971) and THE ROMANTIC ENGLISH WOMAN (1975). As an accompaniment to TCM’s spotlight on Michael Caine I thought I’d share some interesting facts about the man that may or may not surprise you.


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18-year-old Michael Caine (standing) with his regiment.

 Michael Cine’s real name is Maurice Micklewhite and he has never legally changed it out of respect for his family. When he was knighted in 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to the British dramatic arts, he was knighted as Sir Maurice Micklewhite. As a result, it’s a mistake to formally refer to him as “Sir Michael Caine.”

 Before he became an actor, Caine served as an infantryman in the British Army’s Royal Fusiliers where he saw combat during the Korean War. The experience marked him deeply and Caine has often referred to the experience as one of the most trying times of his life. In an interview with Details magazine in 2004, he said, “Warfare is not a good thing, you know. It’s not like in the movies. I’ve never seen a realistic battle in a movie, ever. You see all these brave people. I never saw any brave people.”

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Michael Caine sharing a drink with Terence Stamp

• Michael Caine took his stage name from the 1954 film THE CAINE MUTINY starring Humphrey Bogart and Caine has often said that Bogart is his “acting hero.”

 When Michael Caine was a young struggling actor in London his roommate was fellow actor Terence Stamp. Stamp appeared in the stage adaption of ALFIE during that time and was offered the part when the film was being cast but he wasn’t interested in continuing with the role. The part eventually went to Michael Caine and helped make him a star. According to a 2013 interview with Terence Stamp, the two men grew apart over the years due to their different interests but Stamp remembered his roommate fondly saying, “I sometimes see his work and he always makes me smile because he was the first guy who taught me about comic timing. He taught me that timing is magic and you either have it or you haven’t–you can’t learn it. So I owe Michael and I always will.”

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Michael Caine, Roger Moore & Sean Connery

 Today two of Michael Caine’s closest friends are fellow actors Roger Moore and Sean Connery. Caine appeared with Moore in BULLSEYE! (1990) and shared the screen with Connery in THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975) and A BRIDGE TOO FAR (1977).

 Caine has never won an Academy Award for a leading role but he’s been nominated four times and has won two supporting actor Academy Awards for his roles in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS (1986) and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES (1999). He’s also the only male actor who has received an Academy Award for their work in a Woody Allen film.

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Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine

 Michael Caine credits actress Shirley MacLaine for bringing him to Hollywood. MacLaine was preparing to star in GAMBIT (1966) and suggested Caine should be her leading man after seeing him in THE IPCRESS FILES (1965). Since then Caine and MacLaine have appeared in two more films together, WOMAN TIMES SEVEN (1967) and BEWITCHED (2005).

 In 1980 Caine became one of the first actors nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award or “Razzie” as Worst Actor for his work in DRESSED TO KILL (1980) and THE ISLAND (1980). He was also the first actor who was nominated for two roles. Despite the Razzie nomination, today DRESSED TO KILL has rightly earned its place as one of the best thrillers made in the 1980s and it has recently been made available on Blu-ray by Criterion.

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Rock Hudson, Fred MacMurray, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Ernest Borgnine & Michael Caine celebrating Wayne’s 40 years in Hollywood (1969).

 When Michael Caine first arrived in Hollywood he met John Wayne at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The two became friendly and Caine has said that Wayne developed into a sort of foster father figure to him. He credits Wayne with giving him his most useful acting advice, which was, “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” Wayne also told him, “Never wear suede shoes, because one day, Michael, you’ll be taking a piss, and the guy next to you will recognize you, and he’ll turn toward you and say, ‘Michael Caine!’ and piss all over your shoes.”

 Caine credits actor Tony Curtis for encouraging him to stop smoking. The two met at a party in 1971 and at the time Caine smoked multiple packs a day. Curtis took away Caine’s cigarettes and burned them in a fireplace telling him that, “You’re going to die, Michael if you keep doing that.” He didn’t quit his habit immediately but Curtis’s words haunted him and Caine eventually gave up smoking for good.

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Michael Caine & wife Shakira

 Michael Caine fell in love with his second wife, Shakira, after spotting her in a television commercial. He tracked down her phone number to ask her on a date and the two immediately hit it off. The Guyanese-British beauty is a model, actress and mother to Caine’s daughter Natasha (he also has a daughter named Dominique with first wife, Patricia Haines). Michael and Shakira were married in 1973 and appeared in THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING (1975) together. This year the couple celebrated their 42nd anniversary.

 Michael Caine’s late brother Stanley was also an actor and the brothers have appeared in three films together; BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN (1967), PLAY DIRTY (1968) and THE ITALIAN JOB (1969).

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 Besides his successful acting career, Michael Caine is also a successful restaurateur. He owns or co-owns seven popular restaurants including Langan’s Brasserie in London and the South Beach Brasserie in Miami Beach where he also keeps a vacation home.

 Caine is a prolific author and has written at least four trivia books, two biographies and one book on acting. The titles include, Not Many People Know That!And Not Many People Know This Either!Michael Caine’s Moving Picture ShowNot A Lot of People Know This is 1988What’s It All About?The Elephant to Hollywood and Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Moviemaking.

 Michael Caine is also a serious music enthusiast who enjoys making compilations of his favorite “chill-out” tunes and sharing them with friends. After gifting Elton John with one of his music compilations in 2006, John encouraged Caine to share it with the public so he did. In 2007 Universal UK released Cained, a CD featuring many of Michael Caine’s favorite tracks including Delerium’s “Silence,” Felix Da Housecat’s remix of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman,” St Germain’s “Rose Rouge” and Roy Budd’s version of Ennio Morricone’s “Hurry To Me” which originally appeared on the SOLDIER BLUE (1970) soundtrack. Coincidently, SOLDIER BLUE starred his one-time roommate and friend, Terence Stamp.

by Kimberly Lindbergs, originally written for TCM.com August 6, 2015