When John Wayne talked, Michael Caine listened. The British actor was visiting America for the first time in 1966 when the Duke offered him some advice: “You’re going to be a star, kid. But if you want to stay one, talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much.”
But now Michael, 85, is disregarding that last instruction by telling all about the stars whose paths he’s crossed in a new autobiography, Blowing the Bloody Doors Off. “I’ve been given a lot of useful advice from Marlene Dietrich, Tony Curtis, and Laurence Olivier, among many others,” says Michael. “I’ve learnt a lot of useful lessons from my many glittering successes and my many disastrous failures.”
He scored his first big hit as a ladies’ man in 1966’s Alfie, but Michael resisted the teasing advances of co-star Shelley Winters on the initial day of shooting. “I was so stunned and so nervous that I think I would have failed miserably,” he says.
Michael found himself in another awkward position when filming a bedroom scene with Mia Farrow for 1986’s Hannah and Her Sisters. Her real-life love interest, Woody Allen, was directing, and her ex-husband André Previn was visiting the set that day. “One thing I remember about that situation,” Michael quips. “I forgot my next line.”
Before marrying wife Shakira in 1973, Michael was scolded by Bette Davis — who thought he was hitting on her when he asked her to dinner — and given the once-over by Frank Sinatra while he was dating the Chairman’s daughter Nancy. “My accent fascinated Frank,” Michael says. “He thought it was the funniest thing he ever heard.”
Michael’s not done yet; he’ll next be seen in the heist flick King of Thieves. “I’ve never rested on my laurels,” he says. “I’ve worked hard, learnt my craft and just kept on bloody going when others gave up.”
For more on your favorite celebs, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!