English actor Sir Michael Caine recently sat down with The Sun to relay his fears about the hard-edge lifestyle that could’ve brought on a dire cancer diagnosis.
The 88-year-old Dark Knight and Alfie actor noted how a recently-engaged health kick, which led to him losing “two stone,” or 28 pounds, was partially inspired by his need to be around to see his grandchildren get older.
“I know my days are numbered and that’s the main worry,” Caine expressed.
“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.”
“[In reality, I could] probably drop dead talking to you [right now],” he continued, “but I’ve lost [about] 30 pounds just because I want to see my grandchildren [age]. They’re twins of six and a boy of seven. I’d like to get to [see] 17 for the boy, [personally].”
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As a result of his cancer concerns, all sugars, salts, and gluten-based foods are now banned from the Caine household, but there’s one guilty pleasure of a delicacy that he still can’t let go of.
“[Sir Michael] admits [that] his weakness is a bacon sarnie,” The Sun post explains, which is basically a bacon sandwich with buttered bread.
Despite his pork-based Achilles’ heel, it’s still a hard switch for a man who, by his own admission, once turned to heavy amounts of nicotine and alcohol as a way to quell the stress that came with his 64-year long acting career.
“I was a bit of a piss artist when I was younger,” Caine stated in an interview with the Radio Times last year, as the New York Post transcribed.
“I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day and I was smoking several packs [of cigarettes] a day. I wasn’t unhappy,” he clarified, “but [there] was stress, 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 6 in the morning and I hope the alarm works, [things like that].”
Whenever he was able to find work, which was often, Sir Michael was always quick to put distance between himself and the rim of his favorite drink.
“[I was always capable of] putting the vodka away,” he mentioned to The Telegraph last January, “but I was never, ever pissed in any circumstance of employment. I’ve always been a complete and utter professional.”
He also was seemingly never into hardcore drugs.
“I was never [that] self-destructive,” he added, “because other people had tried to destroy me.”
“I thank God [for that], because he took care of me and I survived.”
Luckily for Sir Michael, his wife of nearly 44 years, Shakira Baksh, was also a factor in him pulling himself back from both the brink of cancer and possible self-destruction.
“She never said, ‘You’ve got to stop drinking,'” Caine remarked, “but being with her made me want to stay sober and be alive.”
“And of course,” he added with a warm laugh, “she was very anxious for me to stay alive [too].”
In his sit down with The Sun, the actor closed out the conversation with a simpler, reiterated version of the loving nod to Shakira.
“Without her,” he admitted, “I probably would’ve drunk myself to death.”
Instead, a happy, healthy, and cancer-free Michael Caine is now preparing for the premiere of his 163rd film, a remake of the 1979 bank-heist comedy Going In Style, that also features two fellow Academy Award-nominated actors of a particular age range, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin, and Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd. The movie is set for widespread release on April 7.
[Featured Image by Anthony Harvey/Stringer/Getty Images]