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Meeting Michael Caine, a Hollywood star who values family above everything else

We’re all set up. The mics are tested, the lights turned on and we sit nervously waiting for the British acting legend in the lobby of his glitzy London riverside apartment.

What will Sir Michael Caine be like? Will he be easy to talk to? Likeable even? Or hard work?

And then I hear the ding of the lift, and hear a voice I’ve grown up with. An accent so familiar approaches.

Moments later, in his charming and endearing way as we fluff around with the technical stuff, he’s asking ME about my day, my family, my journey to the UK and we’re laughing and joking about the weather.

Hang on… this isn’t about me.

Europe Correspondent Joy Reid with veteran British actor Michael Caine
Europe Correspondent Joy Reid with veteran British actor Michael Caine Source: 1 NEWS

But that’s Sir Michael Caine for you - interested. Engaging.

We all have a Michael Caine moment we remember but it depends on your age. Sir Michael’s graced the big screen for five decades.

For some it’s his character in the 1960’s classic Alfie, for others it’s as Batman’s butler.

For me it’s in “Miss Congeniality” as he tries to tutor an FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) into becoming a beauty pageant queen and says to her as she talks with food in her mouth: “I’m sorry, what was the question? I was distracted by the half-masticated cow rolling around in your wide open trap.”

I think my mother has him to thank for me knocking that habit on the head.

To his credit, the veteran actor has no air of superiority, he oozes authenticity.

I could’ve been speaking to any 85-year-old as he gushed about his grandchildren, except this one is a Hollywood superstar.

One who tells of dinners with royalty as though it’s a normal part of life. In fact, he tells me about the time the Queen asked him to tell him a joke at dinner.

I mean WHAT? – The Queen!!! Asked to make the Monarch laugh?? – no pressure. (Actually the joke is kind of funny – it made me laugh).

But the way he talks about A-list celebrities is nothing on how he speaks about his wife, his two daughters and his three grandchildren.

This is a man who has everything - fame, fortune but what he values most is family.

He broke the mould of the British class system to become one of the first cockney working class actors to make it big. But he’s broken the mould in other areas too.

A 45-year marriage in Hollywood.

His secret? Separate bathrooms, and a light that attaches to your book/kindle for nighttime reading so you don’t disturb your sleeping partner – Oops I’m guilty of that one.

He’s considerate, relatable and STILL WORKING.

He retired once, and that was a mistake so there’s still time for my favourite Michael Caine quote to potentially be surpassed.

Although it will be hard to beat the “masticating cow”.

Joy Reid sits down with the actor to find out about the man behind the on-screen legend. Source: 1 NEWS