LONDON — Michael Caine, the British film star whose career has spanned eight decades and featured movies from “The Italian Job” to “The Dark Knight,” has confirmed his retirement from acting.
The two-time Oscar winner, who is 90, made the announcement on BBC Radio 4’s “Best of Today” podcast on Saturday.
“I keep saying I’m going to retire,” said Caine, adding: “Well, I am now.”
He confirmed that “The Great Escaper,” which was released earlier this month, will be his last acting gig, saying: “I’ve played the lead and it’s got incredible reviews. The only parts I’m going to get now are old men – 90-year-old men, or maybe 85, you know – and I thought well I might as well leave with all this. I’ve got wonderful reviews. What am I going to do to beat this?”
Caine starred alongside the late Glenda Jackson in the movie, playing Bernard Jordan, a 90-year-old who absconds from a care home to attend the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in France.
“We had a great time on the movie and I thought, you know, why not leave now?” Caine added.
Also speaking on the podcast, “The Great Escaper” director Oliver Parker said, “Michael has this ability to turn his performance into something else,” crediting his “charisma” and “sheer presence.”
Caine began his acting career on the stage in the early 1950s, before making his movie debut in 1956.
Originally called Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, Jr., he adopted the screen name Caine – taken from the 1954 film “The Caine Mutiny” – and later made it legal.
Caine has played secret agents, playboys, adventurers, schoolteachers and killers.
He portrayed the British spy Harry Palmer in five films, with fame coming after his first stint in the role, in the 1965 drama thriller “The Ipcress File.”
His next big break came a year later, when he starred as a promiscuous chauffeur in the 1966 romantic comedy “Alfie.”
Caine received his first Academy Award for his supporting role in the 1986 Woody Allen film “Hannah and Her Sisters,” and the second for another supporting role, in the 1999 film “The Cider House Rules.”
He starred alongside Sean Connery in John Huston’s 1975 adventure movie “The Man Who Would Be King;” played a journalist in Vietnam in the 2002 Graham Greene adaptation “The Quiet American;” and portrayed butler Alfred Pennyworth in the 2008 film “The Dark Knight.”
Caine was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1993, and he was knighted in 2000.
He has also written books, saying on the podcast that he has made 160 movies and that he “always wanted to be a writer.” While there will be no more acting, he said, “there will be writing.”
“The thing about movie-making is you have to get up at 6:30 in the morning, do a long ride learning your lines in the bloody car and then get there and work until 10 o’clock at night,” he said, adding that with writing “you don’t have to get out of bed.”