Michael Caine: I came out of a repertory theater in the country, and I came to London, and I didn’t have a telephone, and there was a club called the Artsiana Club — where all the out-of-work actors used to be in the coffee bar in the basement — and it was at Leicester Square, which is like Broadway in New York, all the big cinemas and theaters.
And every night, I used to go and phone my agent — to see if there was a job — at six o’clock, in a phone booth on Leicester Square. And because my name was Micklewhite, I called myself — I didn’t want to use that name — in repertory, I was called Michael White. And then, one night, I got a job, and the woman said — my agent, Josephine, said to me, she said, “You’ve got to change your name because you’ve got to join Equity, the trade union.”
I said, “Yes.” She said, “There is another Michael White in the trade union.” So she said, “You can call yourself ‘Michael,’ but you can’t call yourself ‘White’.” She said, “And I need a name now because I’ve got to call the producer, and I’ve got to say your name and tell him who’s going to play the part.” So she said, “Give me a surname.” So I look around the cinemas, and one of my favorite actors is Humphrey Bogart. And on the Odeon in Leicester Square, at that time, was The Caine Mutiny with Humphrey Bogart. And I said, “Michael Caine.” She said, “Okay, how do you spell it?” I said C-A-I-N-E, that’s it. If I had gone to the Leicester Square Theater, I’d have been “Michael 101 Dalmatians.”