Michael Caine is one of the most recognizable actors of our time. He has spent decades bringing his charming demeanor to countless characters in films across a wide array of genres. Even though he’s approaching 90 years old, he’s made no indication of retirement.
Caine comes from humble beginnings. Born to a working-class London family, he served in the British Army and fought in the Korean War. Once his service was complete, he began acting at the age of 20. Caine built a name for himself in roles in British productions but achieved worldwide fame for his Acadamy Award-nominated role in Alfie in 1966.
“In the Sixties, we were the first working-class people to become movie stars,” Caine said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “The reason for that was that people didn’t worship us, really. They just said, ‘Oh, here’s a man just like me, so we’re the same, you know. And I bet if I met him he’d talk to me and have a beer.'”
Michael Caine Received Some Crucial Advice from John Wayne
While he was coming up in the business, Caine’s charisma earned him a lot of attention as a young man. He was clearly going places, and even one of the most well-known actors of the time thought so. John Wayne himself offered some sage advice to a young Michael Caine.
“You’re gonna be a star, kid,” Caine recalls The Duke telling him. “But if you wanna stay one, remember this: Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much.” Wayne was full of wisdom, but it was a more unconventional piece of advice that truly stayed with Caine throughout his career.
“John Wayne said, ‘Never wear suede shoes,’ pointing at my shoes. I said, ‘Why not?’ He said, ‘Cause you’re gonna be famous, and you’re gonna be in the toilet taking a piss, and the guy next door to you is going to turn and recognize you and piss all over your shoes, kid.’ I gave all my suede shoes away to people who were unknown.”
Michael Caine’s Almost Called it Quits Years Ago
Caine is still taking on roles well into his 80s. However, he nearly threw in the towel more than 20 years ago before he took on some of his most memorable roles. He credits fellow actor, Jack Nicholson, for bringing him back into the fold and officially ending his retirement early.
“I got a script from a producer and he said, ‘You play the father, not the lover,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m retired, it’s over, forget it.’ I emigrated to Miami for the winter, and Jack was living there and we became friends,” Caine said. “I decided I wasn’t going to work again and then Jack said, ‘I’ve got a movie called Blood and Wine, and there’s a very good part for you in it,’ and he talked me into doing it. The lesson was – never give up.”