Michael Caine Reveals Retirement From Acting at Age 88

UPDATE: Representatives for Caine refute his comments, telling TheWrap the actor is "not fully retiring." The original story continues below. 

Michael Caine has retired from acting at the age of 88, ending a nearly 70-year career with his final film Best Sellers. Caine, a six-time Academy Award-nominated actor who has won two Oscars for roles in 1986's Hannah and Her Sisters and 1999's The Cider House Rules, revealed his acting retirement on BBC Radio 5's Kermode and Mayo's Film Review. As the author of three memoirs, including the bestselling "What's It All About? An Autobiography," the Dark Knight trilogy star and frequent Christopher Nolan collaborator says he's a writer and no longer an actor.

"I've got this alcoholic part [in Best Sellers], and funnily enough, it has turned out to be what is my last part, really. Because I haven't worked for two years," Caine told Kermode and Mayo of his role as cranky novelist Harris Shaw in the dramedy. "I have a spine problem which affects my legs, so I can't walk very well. And I also wrote a book, a couple of books which were published and were successful, so I'm now not an actor — I'm a writer."

"Which is lovely because as an actor, you have to get up at six in the morning and go to the studio," added Caine. "The writer can start writing without leaving the bed." 

Caine most recently appeared opposite John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in the Nolan directed Tenet, filmed in 2019 and released last year, and the fantasy film Come Away, filmed in the UK in August 2018 but not released until 2020. He also played the miserly Fagin in Twist, a contemporary take on Oliver Twist

Asked if the Aubrey Plaza co-starring Best Sellers is his final film, Caine answered, "I think it would be."

"I don't have any — there haven't been any offers, obviously, for two years, because nobody's been making any movies I'd want to do," Caine said of the COVID-19 pandemic. "But also, I'm 88. There's not exactly scripts pouring out with a leading man who's 88, you know?" 

Caine's career started on the stage in the early 1950s before the London-born actor made his big-screen debut in the 1956 war film A Hill in Korea. After his star-making role as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in 1964's Zulu, Caine went on to earn his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his part of the womanizing Alfie Elkins in 1966's Alfie

After starring opposite Shirley MacLaine in the 1966 heist comedy Gambit, his first Hollywood film, Caine starred in The Italian Job. He found continued success starring alongside Laurence Olivier in Sleuth and Sean Connery in 1975's The Man Who Would Be King. Earning two more Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in 1972's Sleuth and 1983's Educating Rita, Caine was awarded his first Oscar for the role of Elliot in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters

Caine won another Oscar for playing Dr. Wilbur Larch in Cider House Rules and received his most recent Best Actor nomination for 2002's The Quiet American. Other roles include Scrooge in the beloved musical The Muppet Christmas Carol, pageant coach Victor Melling in Sandra Bullock comedy Miss Congeniality, and British agent Nigel Powers, the father of Michael Myers' Austin Powers, in the 2002 action-comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Caine and Nolan's collaboration began with the role of Alfred Pennyworth, the butler and trusted confidant of Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne, in 2005's Batman Begins. The duo would re-team for two more Batman movies, 2008's The Dark Knight and 2012's The Dark Knight Rises, as well as 2006's The Prestige, 2010 mind-bending blockbuster Inception, 2014's Interstellar, the World War II-set Dunkirk in 2017, and Tenet

Other memorable roles of recent years include Arthur Tressler in Now You See Me and its sequel, a voiceover role as suave spy car Finn McMissile in Disney-Pixar's Cars 2, and his role as "Arthur" in Kingsman: The Secret Service. 

Best Sellers is now available for rental or online purchase. 

Photo credit: Joshua Blanchard for Getty Images