War Movie Legend and Korean War Veteran Michael Caine Announces Retirement from Acting

Michael Caine, age 90, stars in "The Great Escaper."

It's a good reminder that our Korean War veterans are getting older, retiring and may soon disappear entirely. Michael Caine announced his retirement from acting on BBC Radio 4's "Best of Today" podcast on Oct. 14, 2023. The actor, now 90 years old, has repeatedly announced his intention to retire, but asserts this time is for real.

The star of "Zulu," "A Bridge Too Far" and "Harry Brown" has one more movie coming out. In "The Great Escaper," Caine plays real-life World War II veteran Bernard Jordan, who famously walked out of his nursing home in England at age 89 to visit Normandy one last time, on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

"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," he told the BBC. "I've got wonderful reviews. What am I going to do to beat this?"

He might be right as far as acting is concerned, because his career spans nearly 70 years. Caine, born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr., served in the British Army during the Korean War and has publicly shared some of his experiences fighting the Chinese in the hills of North and South Korea. He's been on stage and screen since leaving the army in the 1950s, and landed his first movie role in 1956.

Read: Listen to Actor Michael Caine Talk About Fighting in Korea

1964's "Zulu" was a major success, both critically and at the box office, but it was Caine's role in the 1966 film "Alfie" that propelled him to stardom. He spent the next few decades playing spies, soldiers and playboys before receiving his first Academy Award for the 1986 movie "Hannah and Her Sisters." He won a second Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for 1999's "The Cider House Rules." Caine has made 160 movies, was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1993 and was knighted in 2000.

His creative career may not be over entirely, however. He told the BBC he's always wanted to be a writer, and he has a book coming out at the end of 2023. "Deadly Game" is about a Special Air Service veteran turned detective working in London's Metropolitan Police force. The thriller is his first fiction book after writing a number of memoirs and nonfiction books on acting.

"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. With writing, "you don't have to get out of bed."

"Deadly Game" will be available on Kindle and Audible on Nov. 23, 2023, while the hardcover books will ship on Dec. 5. "The Great Escaper" was released in the United Kingdom in October and is awaiting a U.S. release date.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Facebook, X or on LinkedIn.

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