Michael Caine was a youthful ‘piss artist’: ‘I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day’


Michael Caine got some Oscar buzz a few months ago when he premiered the film Youth, directed by Paolo Sorrentino. While Caine enjoyed some great critical buzz, his performance didn’t garner many awards or nominations. Still, Caine seems happy enough to still be working with some kind of consistency. At the age of 82, he’s semi-retired and he no longer feels the need to work on back-to-back projects and say “yes” to everything he’s offered. But that’s how he used to be – Michael Caine in his youth (and even in his middle age) was a workaholic and quite the bad-boy. While promoting Youth this week, Caine admitted that in his younger days, he was “a bit of piss artist” and he “used to drink a bottle of vodka a day.” These are the definitions of “piss artist”: “Someone who is frequently drunk (pissed). Someone who claims knowledge or understanding that he does not possess.”

Michael Caine has revealed that he drank a bottle of vodka a day early in his career. The Oscar-winning actor spoke about his problems with alcohol during his early career in an interview with Radio Times.

“I was a bit of a piss artist when I was younger,” he said. “I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day and I was smoking several packs a day.”

Caine claimed his job led him to extremes. “I wasn’t unhappy, but it was stress,” he said. “You know, ‘Am I going to get another picture? How am I going to do this part? How am I going to remember all those lines? I’ve got to get up at six in the morning and I hope the alarm works.’”

He believed that his second wife, Shakira, saved him from death after they were married in 1973, saying she “calmed him” down. “Without her, I would have been dead long ago,” he said. “I would have probably drunk myself to death.”

In an interview with the Telegraph last week, Caine said now he only drinks wine with dinner.

[From The Guardian]

I understand how really young people (like, 22-year-olds) can drink that much and still be able to function at some level. But to drink that much consistently, every day, for like two decades? HOW? That’s when Michael married Shakira, his second wife – he was 40 years old. And I believe that he probably cleaned up his act for Shakira. But his 20s and 30s are probably a haze of booze, cigarettes and shenanigans. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore, the Peter O’Tooles and Richard Burtons and such, the hard-drinking working-class actors who are tough as nails and ready for a fight. Sigh…


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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20 Responses to “Michael Caine was a youthful ‘piss artist’: ‘I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day’”

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  1. BeeBee says:

    Love me my Michael Caine. Just watched Educating Rita (1983) again the other day. Both he and Julie Walters were just brilliant. Also love him in Blame It On Rio (1984), and The Man Who Would Be King (1975). Great flicks, and he’s wonderful. I know…I’m carbon-dating myself here. LOL.

    I’m 54, and can barely make it though one glass of red wine at dinner. But, back in the ’80s…WOAH NELLY! We used to go out and actually look forward to getting deliciously smashed. I know this isn’t “PC”, but damn those were fun times. The wine and shooters flowed, and the ciggies were shmoked. Can’t fault Michael Caine at all for his wild ways…I was there, too. There for the grace of Lucifer, go I.

    • spidey says:

      You are just a spring chicken – I went to see him in Alfie at the cinema when it first came out!! So carbon date me!

    • ReignbowGirl says:

      If you haven’t seen it yet, watch “Is Anybody There?”; he just breaks my heart in that movie.

      My daughter is 25, and one of her favourite movies to this day is “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. 🙂

      • spidey says:

        Last time I went to see him at the cinema was to see Harry Brown. A difficult film to watch but he was very good in it.

    • Sass says:

      Booze was all we had back in the day! No drugs ever! It was socially acceptable to have martinis etc. We hadn’t discovered Chardonnay!

  2. Mia4s says:

    There’s something so charming about him. You can understand why he’s endured as an actor.

  3. Lisa says:

    SHAKIRA, SHAKIRAAAAAAAAAAA! (I couldn’t resist)

    I love aul’ Michael. Have you noticed that when he’s being interviewed on late night shows, he speaks to the audience, not the host? I like that. He doesn’t ignore them outright, but he turns toward the audience to answer, bringing them into it, which I think is sweet.

  4. doofus says:

    this man is a treasure…I know his body of work is amazing, but I did really love him in Miss Congeniality. he was great and the bf and I STILL say, quite often, “you can’t beat that” in his accent.

    also, the constantly working thing…there was a joke in the movie PCU (I know, not a great movie but REALLY funny) where one of the characters is doing his thesis on the premise that you can, at any time of day, find a movie on TV that has either Caine or Gene Hackman starring. and most of the time, it’s absolutely true!

    “”A Bridge Too Far.” Caine and Hackman in the same movie. This is my thesis man! This is my closing argument! I CAN STOP WATCHING TV!”

    • BeeBee says:

      Ohhh, forgot about “A Bridge Too Far”. My hubby loves that one, too. Thanks for mentioning that one…one to watch this weekend.

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    If I drank a bottle of vodka in one day, I honestly think I would die.

  6. LNG says:

    I saw his photo on the front page and immediately assumed he had died. Phew. 2016 has made me extra sensitive to celebrity deaths.

  7. Shoe says:

    how he lives quite healthily until 82 with that much vodka?

  8. Tig says:

    If you guys have never watched “The Trip”
    and you like Michael Caine- watch it now. There is a great segment where the two actors have a Michael Caine accent battle- it is hysterical.

    Back to the man in question- methinks he is exaggerating his intake, tho no doubt he prob did party down. I think he’s sweet to give credit to the wife, but face it- the person who decides enough is enough is that person. Kudos to him for having the sense not to “pi$&” a good thing away! I hope to catch Youth in a theater, but looking doubtful😟

    • antipodean says:

      Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon were hilarious in that movie, and their Michael Caine accents were spot on. I recall it used to be a game in my local pub, and they had “Michael Caine Accent Only” night. You can imagine how hilarious that was, especially after you had sunk a few. Of course, we were easily amused in those days!

    • Poisonous Lookalike says:

      I second watching that movie, as well as “The Trip to Italy”, which I think is available on Netflix. I discovered Rob Brydon watching QI and was very happy to find “The Trip”. Wonderful sense of humor.

      I’m also a big Craig Ferguson fan, and his imitation of Michael Caine sends all sorts of tingles through my body.

  9. Venus says:

    Eh, my brother-in-law drinks at least a bottle of vodka a day and he doesn’t even appear drunk. A (relatively) high-functioning alcoholic, that’s all. I fail to see the glamour in Caine’s past.