Actor Michael Caine discusses his many award-winning film roles

PREMIERE: Jan 9, 2000, 12:00 AM
Michael Caine

Born into a poor working class family in South London, Maurice Micklewhite declined to follow in his father's footsteps as a porter in the fish market, and chose to try his hand at acting instead. After a stint in the British army in Korea, and a shaky start going by the name Michael Scott, he changed his surname to Caine (picking up the name from the film The Caine Mutiny) and became an incredible success. Loads of television and stage work was capped off with his first major screen role in Zulu (1964),playing an aristocratic officer. But he became a star playing the Cockney playboy Alfie (1966), a part which garnered him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Though obviously talented, Caine often chooses his roles based on how much he's paid, and where shooting takes place, leading to a rather checkered filmography. The standouts from the 100-odd films he's appeared in include matching wits with Laurence Olivier in Sleuth (1972), and teaching Julie Walters in Educating Rita (1983), both of which earned him Oscar nominations for Best Actor yet again. He and Sean Connery teamed up in the acclaimed John Huston film The Man Who Would Be King (1975). Caine finally won an Oscar, though, for a supporting role, in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), playing Hannah's cheating husband. The actor's workaholic tendencies have tapered off in recent years, as he has devoted more and more time to his second career as a restaurateur. He owns five restaurants in London, and one in Miami. More recent roles have included a suave con man in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) opposite Steve Martin, Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), and a sleazy talent agent in Little Voice (1998). In 1999, he portrayed Dr. Wilbur Larch to Tobey Maguire's Homer Wells in a big-screen adaptation of The Cider House Rules, for which he won yet another Best Supporting Actor Oscar. In 2000, he showed off his villainous side in Quills, as the relentless warden of a mental institution.