Michael Caine's Life in Photos

The legendary Oscar-winning actor turns 90 on March 14, 2023. Look back at his life, career and happy marriage in photos

01 of 20

Michael Caine's Early Life

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Terry O'Neill/Iconic Images/Getty

Born Maurice Mickelwhite on March, 14, 1933, in Southwark, South London, the actor had a working-class upbringing: mother Ellen was a charwoman and father Maurice, a fish porter.

His family was evacuated from their home during World War II. About a decade later, in 1951, Caine served in the British army during the Korean war. His experience was harrowing and made him "very anti-war," as he recounted in his biography The Elephant to Hollywood.

When he returned, he decided to pursue acting and in 1955, married a woman he met in his training, Patricia Bailey. They welcomed daughter Dominique together, but the couple struggled financially and the marriage ended by 1962.

02 of 20

Michael Caine's Breakout Role in Alfie

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The actor changed his name before hitting it big, because, as he told AARP, "Imagine signing that autograph! You'd get a broken arm. So I changed my name to Michael Caine after Humphrey Bogart's The Caine Mutiny, which was playing in the theater across from the telephone booth where I learned that I'd gotten my first TV job."

He acted in films including Zulu and The Ipcress File in the early 1960s before landing what was truly his breakout role in Alfie, a film about a charming womanizer that costarred (from left) Vivien Merchant, Jane Asher, Julia Foster and Shelley Winters.

03 of 20

Michael Caine in X, Y & Zee

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"I love Elizabeth," Caine told PEOPLE in 2010 of Elizabeth Taylor, his costar in the 1972 marital drama X, Y & Zee. "She knew her lines, she never fluffed — she was perfect. In fact I fluffed my lines far more than she did. She was sweet as pie. Lovely."

04 of 20

Michael Caine Falls in Love with Shakira Baksh

michael caine life in pics

In the early 1970s, Caine was watching TV when he saw a commercial for Maxwell House coffee starring an actress he couldn't stop thinking about, who ended up being a Miss World runner-up named Shakira Baksh.

"I got her number from the ad agency. She couldn't get rid of me on the telephone, so she decided to come out with me and get rid of me," he joked to PEOPLE in 2018. "We fell in love at first sight. We've been in love at first sight for 47 years."

05 of 20

Michael Caine and Shakira Have Daughter Natasha

michael caine life in pics
Bill Cross/rex

The couple wed in Las Vegas in 1973 and welcomed daughter Natasha that same year. "I'm one of the most family-oriented men you'll ever meet," Caine told PEOPLE.

06 of 20

Michael Caine in The Man Who Would Be King

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Allied Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock

"Sean [Connery] and I were the closest of friends before I lost him to golf and tax exile," Caine told PEOPLE in 2010 of his costar in 1975's The Man Who Would Be King. "I've known him since I was 24. Put it this way: The last time I was ever in the [unemployment] queue, he was in front of me."

07 of 20

Michael and Shakira Caine Cover PEOPLE

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The couple's love story made the cover of PEOPLE in 1976. More than 40 years later, he reflected on why Shakira was the love of his life, to PEOPLE.

"I wasn't an alcoholic, but I was drinking very heavily, and I know it would have killed me. Shakira is a Muslim and doesn't drink alcohol. She not only changed my life, she saved it," he said. "We are never apart. She is one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen, but she is also the gentlest, kindest person. I have this extraordinary beautiful Indian wife who cooks fantastic Italian food. Things can't get better than that."

08 of 20

Michael Caine in Victory

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"I couldn't believe I was playing football with Pele and Rocky [Sylvester Stallone] in the goal," Caine (pictured in 1981) told PEOPLE of Victory, a WWII film directed by John Huston. "I knew we weren't going to be beaten. We shot it in Budapest, which was Communist at the time. The doorman at our hotel said, 'There's microphones hidden.'"

09 of 20

Michael Caine in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

michael caine life in pics

The 1988 film he made with Steve Martin was "the happiest movie I ever made," he told PEOPLE in 2010. "It was three months on sun-baked, topless beaches on the French Riviera, living in a villa near my close friend Roger Moore and working with Steve, who is the most fabulous guy."

10 of 20

Michael Caine's Happy Marriage

Michael Caine and wife Shakira
Michael Caine and wife Shakira in 1986. Paul Harris/Getty Images

The couple (in 1984) have had a happy marriage for nearly 50 years. "I just love to go home, no matter where I am, the most luxurious hotel suite in the world, I love to go home," Caine told The Mirror. "People ask me, 'Where do you go for your holidays?' I say, 'I go home.'"

He told PEOPLE in 2010, "My wife doesn't have a bad side. There are very few people like that. She's the goodest person I've ever met."

11 of 20

Michael Caine in A Muppet Christmas Carol

michael caine life in pics
Jim Henson Productions/Kobal/Shutterstock

The Oscar-winning actor had a little fun playing Ebeneezer Scrooge opposite the Muppets in 1992.

12 of 20

Michael Caine Wins an Oscar in 2000

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Michael Caine has been nominated for six Oscars and won two — for Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules (pictured). "To win one is amazing, the ultimate," he told PEOPLE.

13 of 20

Michael Caine's Wife and Daughters

Michael Caine

The actor celebrated his win alongside Shakira, Nikki (his daughter with Patricia Bailey) and Natasha (his daughter with Shakira), as well as Natasha's fiancé.

14 of 20

Michael Caine in Miss Congeniality

michael caine life in pics
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Caine's pageant consultant Victor Melling was an unexpected highlight of the hit 2000 romantic comedy.

15 of 20

Michael Caine Is Knighted

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The actor, who was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1992, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for his contributions to drama. He accepted the honor under his birth name and is officially Sir Maurice Mickelwhite.

"I was named after my father and I was knighted in his name because I love my father," he said, according to the BBC. "I always kept my real name - I'm a very private and family-orientated person."

16 of 20

Michael Caine in Batman Begins

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Warner Bros/D C Comics/Kobal/Shutterstock

The actor had considered retirement when, at 60, he read a script and realized he was no longer being considered for the "lover" but rather the "father" instead, he told CBS Sunday Morning. But Jack Nicholson sent him a script that convinced him he wanted to keep working, just as a character actor from there on out — as he did in this memorable 2005 turn as Alfred the butler to Christian Bale's Batman.

17 of 20

Michael Caine's Autobiographies

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Fittingly for a career that's spanned more than six decades, Caine has enough stories to fill a book — or three. He has written the memoirs What's It All About?, The Elephant to Hollywood and Blowing the Bloody Doors Off, as well as some trivia books and an acting guide.

18 of 20

Michael Caine's Honors

Sir Michael Caine is awarded with the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival opening on August 20, 2021 in Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), Czech Republic
Gisela Schober/Getty

In 2021, the actor won the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic — just one of many acting honors he has won over the years.

"I was with my grandson the other day, and he said, 'Do you know how many awards you got?' I said no. He said, 'You've got 38, I just counted,' " Caine recalled to PEOPLE in 2018.

19 of 20

Michael Caine Doesn't Plan to Retire

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The actor (at Cannes in 2015) continues to work steadily, recently appearing in Tenet, Twist and Best Sellers. Any plans to retire? "I became an actor for the love of it, so while people are still offering me things I want to do, I'll keep doing it," he told PEOPLE in 2018.

20 of 20

Michael Caine's Family Life

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But despite his love for work, he remains happiest as a family man and grandfather to three. "Just when you get old enough to start thinking about death, your grandchildren come and all you think about is life," he told PEOPLE. "It's fabulous. I am completely besotted by my grandchildren. It's my best role, and I don't need any awards for it."

He also said that he's never been happier: "I don't have any money worries, which I had earlier. I have taken care of everybody, which my mother said I should do. And I have my grandchildren. I am deliriously happy."

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