People Staff
December 31, 1999 12:00 PM

Yeah, baby! Reprising his role as the snaggletoothed ’60s British secret agent in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, it was Mike Myers, not would-be criminal mastermind Dr. Evil, who conquered the world in 1999. Audiences primed by repeat viewings of 1997’s original Austin Powers flocked to theaters when the sequel opened in June, and no one needed to be told that “shag” didn’t mean carpeting. The new film became the top live-action comedy of the year, grossing—as Dr. Evil would say—300 MILLION DOLLARS worldwide and securing Myers’s place alongside such legendary film chameleons as Peter Sellers and Jerry Lewis. “It’s rare one can use words like ‘comic genius’ with any meaningfulness,” says Michael York, who has played Austin’s boss in both films, “but it’s justified.” The 36-year-old Canadian and Saturday Night Live alum admits that it’s hard for him to go anywhere these days without hearing Powers lines quoted back at him, although he isn’t sure why his sex-crazed spy struck such a chord. “My mum said he’s a happy survivor who makes his own fun,” he says. “I thought that was an interesting comment.” But unlike his creations, Myers, married for six years to actress-comedy writer Robin Ruzan, “is reserved and serious,” says York. Perhaps that’s because so many brain cells have been devoted to creating the silly details of Austin’s battle against Dr. Evil, a fight he’ll likely continue in a further sequel. “If you have an evil army,” says Myers, “you’re going to have to have evil staff meetings. You have to have evil chefs…”

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