Entertainment: Michael Caine's tragic pact with doctor over dad's cancer: ‘Just give him an overdose'

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Today, Michael Caine's cult comedy classic The Italian Job airs from 3.50pm on ITV4. The 1969 flick remains one of Caine's most cherished films, and follows the story of his character Charlie Croker, who on his release from prison is enlisted by crime boss Mr Bridger to pull off an audacious heist. With a gang of crooks assembled to try and steal gold bullion from the back of an Italian van, Croker and his squad face a number of serious roadblocks, not least the Mafia.

Londoner Caine boasts a brilliant back catalogue of iconic roles, which has seen the actor earn two Academy Awards, and countless nominations, in his career.

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And while much is known about his talents in front of the camera, when it comes to his personal life, some of it remains unknown.

This includes the heartbreaking moment Caine urged a doctor to help his father stop feeling pain as he suffered from a terminal illness.

Initially, the doctor was reluctant to help, but soon agreed a pact with Caine to ensure his beloved dad no longer struggled.

Michael Caine's tragic pact with doctor over dad's cancer: ‘Just give him an overdose' © GETTY Michael Caine's tragic pact with doctor over dad's cancer: ‘Just give him an overdose' Michael Caine with his wife © GETTY Michael Caine with his wife

Caine's father, Maurice Micklewhite, was a Billingsgate fish market porter, and died in hospital aged 55, as a result of liver cancer.

Speaking to Classic FM in 2010, Caine noted how he had been told in 1956 that Maurice only had four days left to live, and so he took matters into his own hands and spoke to his doctor.

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He said: "My father had cancer of the liver and I was in such anguish over the pain he was in, that I said to this doctor, I said 'Isn't there anything else you could, just give him an overdose and end this', because I wanted him to go and he said 'Oh no, no, no, we couldn't do that.'

"Then, as I was leaving, he said 'Come back at midnight.' I came back at midnight and my father died at five past 12..."

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Michael Caine in The Ipcress File © GETTY Michael Caine in The Ipcress File

Caine was pressed further on whether he agreed with voluntary euthanasia, a practice that was made illegal under the 1961 Suicide Act, he said "Oh I think so, yeah".

The now 89-year-old added: "I think if you're in a state to where life is no longer bearable, if you want to go. I'm not saying that anyone else should make the decision, but I made the request, but my father was semi-conscious."

At the time of the report, Sir Keir Starmer, then Director of Public Prosecutions, issued guidelines in 2009 that noted how somebody acting out of compassion would unlikely be prosecuted under the act.

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Caine himself has discussed his own health battles, and was recently the subject of speculation surrounding recent appearances.

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Michael Caine in The Italian Job © GETTY Michael Caine in The Italian Job

Earlier this year Suggest reported that some friends of Caine's were concerned about his apparently failing health, noting he "has looked quite terrible" recently.

An insider added: "He seems to have aged very rapidly with the surgery and de facto acting retirement. He's got everyone very worried about what comes next."

Caine, who also starred in films such as Alfie and The Dark Knight Batman series, has more recently been snapped out with his walker, and cane.

These were initially used as a temporary measure to aid him following an ankle accident in 2018.

Filming locations in UK © EXPRESS Filming locations in UK

On BBC Radio Two in January, Caine discussed his health further, noting: "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."

It had been speculated that Caine had retired from the acting profession, but the star moved to ease fears his life on screen was over.

He added to Variety: "Regarding retirement, I've spent over 50 years getting up at 6 am to make movies, and I'm not getting rid of my alarm clock!"

The Italian Job airs from 3.50pm on ITV4.

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