For Michael Caine's second act, another memoir

Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:56am EDT
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By Mark Egan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When his memoirs were published in 1992, Michael Caine planned to retire from acting, write a novel, plant a garden and enjoy his family.

But like a character in a heist movie, he was cajoled back for one more caper -- in his case, a film with Jack Nicholson.

"I wrote the first memoir because that was the end of my career. I got to the stage where I could not play the romantic leading man any more," Caine told Reuters in an interview to promote his second memoir "The Elephant to Hollywood."

"What I decided to do was get out of the business."

Caine admits "Blood and Wine" with Nicholson was no great movie, but it led to much more work -- his turn as Batman's butler Alfred, hits from "Children of Men" to "The Quiet American" and his second Oscar for "The Cider House Rules."

"It was like being an actor who had done this one-act play which was absolutely fabulous and he didn't know there was two acts, and the second act was even better than the first," said Caine, who was born Maurice Micklewhite, the son of a fish-market porter and a charwoman.

Now 77 and sporting a gray beard, Caine is preparing for another first -- playing a grandfather in a movie. But first he is promoting his latest memoir, an old-fashioned and upbeat romp peppered with stories of John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, Jane Fonda and countless other top Hollywood personalities.

The book by the man who made his name as the raffish lead of the 1960s British movie "Alfie" has advice for would-be actors. He writes about meeting Wayne, who gave him this advice on making it in Hollywood: "Remember to talk low, talk slow and don't say too much."   Continued...

<p>Actor Michael Caine poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters in New York, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>