Michael Caine announces retirement from acting at 88

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Sir Michael Caine announced in an interview this week that he is probably retiring from acting now at the age of 88.

The legendary screen star was appearing on BBC Radio 5 to promote his latest movie Best Sellers co-starring Aubrey Plaza.

He referred to the film as ‘my last part, really,’ noting that he has limited mobility and adding: ‘There’s not exactly scripts pouring in for a leading man that’s 88, you know?’

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Sir Michael, who began acting in 1953 when he took a job at a repertory company in West Sussex, said that ‘I haven’t worked for two years and I have a spine problem which affects my legs so I can’t walk very well.’

Further he pointed to the memoirs he has been publishing over the past several years – The Elephant In Hollywood in 2010 and Blowing The Bloody Doors Off in 2018.

‘And I also wrote a book, a couple of books which were published and were successful so I’m now not an actor – I’m a writer,’ he said.

Appearing on Kermode And Mayo’s Film Review he told the hosts his literary lifestyle was ‘lovely because as an actor you have to get up half past six in the morning and go to the studio. As a writer you can start writing without leaving the bed.’

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Sir Michael shared that ‘I think’ that Best Sellers ‘would be’ his last film as ‘there haven’t been any offers obviously for two years because nobody’s been making any movies I’d wanna do. But also I’m 88. There’s not exactly scripts pouring out with a leading man who’s 88, you know?’ 

After jobbing around as an actor for years in the 1950s he finally made his debut in the 1956 film A Hill In Korea – about a war of which he was a real-life veteran.

He continued to make celebrated films throughout the 1960s, including the drama Alfie which earned him his first Oscar nomination.

As the decade wore on he also appeared in the iconic comedy caper The Italian Job amid a cast that included Noel Coward and Benny Hill.

Sir Michael’s career continued through the decades, including with the 1972 film Sleuth that saw him nominated for an Oscar against his co-star Laurence Olivier.

His beloved performances continued into the 1980s, the decade when he finally won his first Oscar for the Woody Allen film Hannah And Her Sisters.

One of his best-loved roles of the 1980s was Educating Rita, in which he played opposite Julie Walters in her star-making role as a Pygmalian-Galatea duo. 

The following decade he earned another Oscar for The Cider House Rules and at the turn of the millennium he was finally given a knighthood.

In his twilight years he delighted fans with performances in hit movies such as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy where he played the faithful butler Alfred.

Sir Michael evidently had a fruitful working relationship with the director as they also collaborated on Inception as well as Christopher’s latest film Tenet.

Best Sellers was shot just before the coronavirus pandemic swept the world and was finally released last month to mixed reviews.

The leading man plays an elderly drunken author who is drawn out of his reclusive retirement to go on a book tour. 

Aubrey plays the young woman who has inherited a publishing house and is dragging the grand old literary lion back on the road to salvage the firm financially. 

Although Best Sellers is likely to be the ‘last part’ that Michael will play onscreen, it will not be his final film release.

Before he shot Best Sellers he filmed a role for a Czech war film called Medieval, reportedly the most expensive movie made in the Czech Republic.

Although Medieval was shot around Bohemia near the end of 2018 it has undergone a number of postponements and is not due out until next year.

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