: My most useful acting tip came from my pal John Wayne. Talk low, talk slow, and don't say too much.
Michael Caine left school at age 15 and took a series of working-class jobs before joining the British army and serving in Korea during the Korean War, where he saw combat.
Upon his return to England, he gravitated toward the theatre and got a job as an assistant stage manager. He adopted the name of Caine on the advice of his agent, taking it from a marquee that advertised The Caine Mutiny. In the years that followed, he worked in more than 100 television dramas, with repertory companies throughout England and eventually in the stage hit "The Long and the Short and the Tall".
Zulu (1964), the epic retelling of a historic 19th-century battle in South Africa between British soldiers and Zulu warriors, brought Caine to international attention. Instead of being typecast as a low-ranking Cockney soldier, he played a snobbish, aristocratic officer.
Although "Zulu" was a major success, it was the role of Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File (1965) and the title role in Alfie (1966) that made Caine a star of the first magnitude. He epitomized the new breed of actor in mid-1960s England, the working-class bloke with glasses and a down-home accent. However, after initially starring in some excellent films, particularly in the 1960s, including Gambit (1966), he seemed to take on roles in below-average films, simply for the money he could by then command.
As of 2015, films in which Caine has starred have grossed over $7.4 billion worldwide. He is ranked the ninth highest grossing box office star. Caine is one of several actors nominated for an Academy Award for acting every decade from five consecutive decades (the other being Laurence Olivier and Meryl Streep). He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1992 Birthday Honours, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2000 Birthday Honours in recognition for his contributions to the cinema.