Michael Caine health: ‘I can’t walk’ – concerns for actor’s health and looming retirement

Michael Caine has appeared in more than 130 films during his hugely successful career. With roles in films such as The Italian Job and Zulu, the star along with his distinctive South London accent has become a British icon. Yet at the age of 88, the star’s thoughts have turned away from acting towards maintaining his health, with speculation circulating around the star’s retirement.

The star has appeared in a variety of film genres, earning both Golden Globe awards and Oscar awards for his craft. Most recently in 2021, Caine appeared in an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, but with the ongoing trials and tribulations of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the star’s difficulty with walking, Caine has confessed in the past that he is going to focus more on writing than acting, while keeping up with the “best thing” to warn off cancer.

In an interview with BBC Radio 2’s Mark and Kermode, Caine revealed more about his health struggles.

The star said: “I have a spine problem which affects my leg, so I can’t walk very well. And I also wrote a couple of books, which were published and were successful.

“I’m now not an actor, I’m a writer, which is lovely because as an actor, you have to get up, out by six in the morning and go to the studio. The writer, you just start writing without leaving the bed.”

Elaborating more on his possible permanent switch from acting, Caine went on to explain that his age is a deciding factor in his looming decision to retire.

He added: “There haven’t been any offers obviously for two years because nobody’s been making any movies I’d want to do.

“But also, you know, I’m 88, and there’s not exactly scripts pouring out with the leading man who’s 88, you know?”

Despite his frank talk, shortly after the actor seemed to take back his previous comments in an interview with Variety, where he remained certain that he was not planning on retiring any time soon.

Caine said: “Regarding retirement, I’ve spent over 50 years getting up at 6 a.m. to make movies, and I’m not getting rid of my alarm clock!”

Following his comments, Caine starred alongside Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza in 2021 film Best Sellers, proving his ability as an actor has not yet dwindled.

Although the rumours concerning his retirement remain murky, one thing that is crystal clear is that the star has made some drastic lifestyle changes in order to maintain his health for as long as possible.

In the past the actor has admitted to living a destructive lifestyle. In an interview with The Sun on Sunday he said that he used to drink “a bottle of vodka and smoke several packets of cigarettes a day.”

Yet thanks to his devoted wife and former fashion model Shakira Caine, the star has swapped sugar and salt for healthier alternatives.

Caine commented: “I’ve had to cut back on the drinking and I’m always looking up what’s the best thing against cancer, so I’ll eat that or do this or not do that. I know my days are numbered and that’s the main worry.”

Another motivation for the actor is his grandchildren. “I’ll probably drop dead talking to you.” joked Caine, “But you know I’ve lost 30lbs just because I want to see my grandchildren. They’re twins of six and a boy of seven. I’d like to get to 17 for the boy.”

The star has also credited life during the Second World War for teaching him about healthy living, particularly his six years living on a farm. “For 15 years I ate fish, every kind of fish you can imagine and I later realised it was a very healthy thing,” Caine explained.

“Another accidental healthy thing for me was the Second World War, you couldn’t get any sugar, you couldn’t get any of those drinks you have now with all this sugar in it.

“Thinking back on it, health wise I was very lucky. And my mother insisted I ate porridge for breakfast for 15 years. We also had fresh vegetables because we lived on a farm so we would go and nick a cabbage. The food was wonderful.”

Although it is near impossible to live completely risk free of developing deadly diseases such as cancer, Caine’s example of adopting multiple lifestyle changes is some of the best things you can do to minimise your risk.

Cancer Research UK stated that if 10 years ago, everyone in the UK did not smoke, was a healthy weight, adopted healthy diets, drank no alcohol, was more active and stayed safe in the sun then GPs would only see six new cancer cases instead of 10.

The Mayo Clinic adds that by using tobacco or any type of tobacco product, you are increasing your risks of lung, mouth, throat, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney cancer. Chewing on tobacco – albeit an old tradition – has also been linked to cancer of oral cavities.


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