Michael Caine heartbreak: Actor says father would ‘still be alive’ if he’d been richer

Michael Caine receives award at Karlovy Vary film festival

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During a classic episode of the BBC’s Talking Pictures, viewers took a look at the life of acting legend Michael Caine. The programme used rarely seen television interviews and classic archive clips to tell the story of one of Britain’s most successful actors. The 88-year-old movie mogul has featured in classic films such as The Italian Job, The Dark Knight, Harry Brown and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, to name a few. In an old interview with Michael Parkinson, the big-time actor confessed that if he’d been richer, his late father, Maurice Micklewhite, would “still be alive”.

Initially, a young-looking Parkinson addressed a number of rumours circulating about the Charlie Croker star after one story hit the headlines about Caine potentially leaving the UK if the Wealth Tax was introduced into the country. 

Dressed in a 70s collar and wearing rather large square-framed glasses, the movie star explained: “I arrived in England at 7:30 am one morning, having flown for 11 hours, which is all night.

“I had my baby in my arms and two bags in the other hand and a man said, ‘What would you do if they took all your money away?’, so, I said, ‘I’d leave the b****y country’.”

The show which aired in 1974, saw the TV presenter and the audience in hysterics following Caine’s story.

The mood in the studio soon changed after the former talk show host quizzed the star on how he views money altogether.

Parkinson wondered: “How important is money to you?” 

The film icon replied: “Oh, terribly, yes, very important. It’s important, I will give you an idea of how important it is, when I was 24, I was very broke and very out of work.”

 He continued: “And my father died and later when I had money and I met people with money, I realised if I did have money at the time when he was sick, he would still be alive today.

“So anyone who suddenly says to me, ‘Money is not terribly important,’ comes the nearest to strangulation, I tell you. 

“It is terribly important to me.”

His father, Maurice, worked as a Billingsgate fish market porter.

Sir Michael’s father sadly passed away in hospital in 1955 after suffering from liver cancer.

The OBE, who’s known for his distinctive South London accent, has openly discussed his father’s death throughout his career in show business.

Speaking candidly with Classic FM, the award-winning actor said: “My father had cancer of the liver and I was in such anguish over the pain he was in.

“I said to this doctor, I said ‘Isn’t there anything else you could do, just give him an overdose and end this’.

“Because I wanted him to go and he said ‘Oh no, no, no, we couldn’t do that.’ Then, as I was leaving, he said ‘Come back at midnight.’ I came back at midnight and my father died at five past 12.

“So he’d done it…,” he admitted.

The former British soldier married his wife Shakira Baksh in 1973.

The loved-up pair have been together ever since. 

Talking Pictures is avalable to watch on BBC iPlayer

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