Renowned actor Sir Michael Caine – known to many as a cinema legend – has graced the silver screen in a staggering 160 films throughout his illustrious career.
Most recently, he’s made another appearance in The Great Escaper, which is based on the incredible true story of Bernard ‘Bernie’ Jordan, a World War Two veteran who made a daring escape from his care home in 2014.
In the film, Caine steps into the shoes of the elderly Jordan, who embarked on an extraordinary journey from Sussex in the United Kingdom to Normandy, France, to participate in the 70th-anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings.
Jordan’s vanishing act captivated the entire nation, with authorities carrying out an intense search effort to locate the former Royal Navy officer.
Sir Michael Caine at the premiere of ‘The Great Escaper’. Credit / Lia Toby / Getty.
Given that he’s portraying an aging war veteran, Caine opened up about his own life, and how he deals with the inevitability of growing old. At the ripe age of 90, the seasoned Oscar winner, has already faced many health challenges in recent years.
Michael Caine health battle
It is no secret that the British actor has been suffering from health issues, as reported by his wife in March of 2022. His wife Shakira, to whom Caine has been married since 1973, confirmed that the actor had undergone a major back surgery at the time at London Hospital.
His surgery was meant to treat his spinal stenosis, which happens when the spaces in the spine narrow and create pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. The condition is known to cause horrible back and leg pain.
In addition to that, Caine has spent much of the last few years worrying over his overall health. For example, he had fears about dying of cancer. Though, he has credited his wife for getting him through the bumps in the road.
“I know my days are numbered and that’s the main worry,” he told The Sun back in 2017. “I’ve had to cut back on the drinking and I’m always looking up what’s the best thing against cancer, so I’ll eat that or do this or not do that.”
At the height of his career, Caine openly admitted that he became too heavy a drinker until Shakira eventually helped him to quit his behavior. In fact, he said he used to drink “a bottle of vodka and smoke several packets of cigarettes a day.”
Caine said: “She saved my life, really.”
Sir Michael Caine and his wife, Shakira Caine, pictured in 2011. Credit / Pascal Le Segretain / Getty.
The shocking confession
Given his health battles, Caine has candidly spoken about the reality of death.
“The worst thing about it is that so much disappears from your life. You can’t run around, you can’t play football, and you gradually realize you’re approaching death,” he confessed. “[Death] could be just around the corner at 90.”
Despite this, he found peace in the present, cherishing his passion for writing (he even wrote his debut novel during the pandemic) and the love he holds for his family.
Caine said: “But I’m quite happy. I’m sitting here writing, doing my thing. I like it. I have two children, three grandchildren, and a wife… Everyone’s going to join me eventually. No one’s going to say, ‘I’m so sorry you’re going to die — I wish you were like me and not going to die’.”
He then added: “Everybody’s going to die. At least I’ve lived to f***ing 90; I didn’t die at 9, or 19 or 29. I’m 90, and I’ve had the best possible life I could have thought of.”
During the filming of The Great Escaper, Caine revealed that there were some challenges, especially as he wasn’t able to move as quickly as he once did. “They gave me a very good walking stick, and I was able to do scenes that needed that. I’d just do them once, and then fall over. But just one take, and that’s it. Forget it.”
Credit / Gabriel Kuchta / Getty.
Having enjoyed a tremendous amount of success throughout his career, Caine shared that he no longer feels the need to work for his survival and hinted at the possibility of retirement. “I am bloody 90 now, and I can’t walk properly and all that. I sort of am retired now. Anyway…”
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