Oscar-Winning Actor Michael Caine Helped His Father Die

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Longtime actor Sir Michael Caine (he was knighted in 2000 for his contribution to cinema) has revealed in a radio interview that in 1955, he asked a doctor to help his father die.

His father, Maurice Micklewhite, had been suffering from liver cancer and was given only three to four days to live. Caine confesses he was in such anguish over his father's pain that he asked the doctor for the mercy killing.

"I said to this doctor, I said, 'Isn't there anything else you could do, 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. So he'd done it …"

Micklewhite died in a hospital at the age of 56. Caine says he kept the secret from his mother, Ellen, who passed away in 1989.

Asked if he agree with voluntary euthanasia, Caine said:

"Oh I think so, yeah. 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."

As someone who supports death with dignity, I personally think Caine is brave for speaking out about this. I don't know how the situation today would be different—perhaps Caine's father would have been in a hospice, with his pain better managed, and surely there would have been more focus on whether or not his father had the facilities to specifically ask for the overdose—but I think Caine made a compassionate and loving choice at the time.

This is sort of a deep subject for the comments section, but what are your thoughts on this? Do you support Caine's decision to end his father's life?

 

Image via MichaelCaine.com


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RanaA... RanaAurora

I voted for assisted suicide here in WA and I do support it.

nonmember avatar JoAnna

My dad suffered for years from Parkinson's and dementia. In the last few years of his life, he was basically a vegetable, but could eat whatever kind of pureed food they put in his mouth. His body was frozen, but his heart and lungs and everything else was in perfect shape, his mind was gone. He aspirated on his own vomit and developed pneumonia. We thought once we took him off the breathing tube, he would die. He didn't. They asked us if we wanted to put a feeding tube in to help him get nourishment. We said no. We watched my father starve to death over a period of three weeks. He wasn't in any pain that we knew of before the pneumonia. But I so wish we could have ended his suffering with a shot, a pill, something, long before he died the way he did.

Oh great - off to have a giant cry now.

nonmember avatar wendy

Yes, I do and I would hope that if I was in a situation where I was suffering and there was truly nothing else that could be done to help me that one of my loved ones would have the same sense of care for me that Michael Caine had for his father. I wouldn't want to suffer.

lucidkim lucidkim

Yes, I support his decision - and do think it's brave for him to speak out.  Once life becomes nothing but agony and there is no hope of it changing - it seems only torment to keep them alive.  As you said, back then there were few options - today, medicine offers more hope and more pain relief. 

KTMOM KTMOM

I think that if someone is suffering they have the right to end their life,  yes.

nonmember avatar MichellH

Yes, I do support it. I think in some of these cases there is a point where we are keeping the person alive for selfish reasons when they are truly in pain and suffering. If this is what he knew his father wanted, it is understandable. It sounds like the doctor was very humane and kind and gave him the opportunity to say goodbye in peace.

moder... modernmom2010

When I was 16 yrs old my grandmother developed cancer for the 2nd time. She came to live with us after the drs told her it was so advanced that they could do nothing for her. She didnt want to die in a hospital, she wanted to be near family.


I was responsible for giving her meds, feeding her, helping her to the bathroom, etc. She would daily refuse medicine, and pray that Jesus would let her die. She truly wanted to die. It got to the point that she was hallucinating and thought that I was her own mother. It was alot to handle at a young age and def shaped my views on death.


When she died I was sad, but also relieved-I knew she was where she wanted to be and wasn't in any more pain. ;*)

moder... modernmom2010

So yes, I support this. But only if the person makes the decision to end his/her life in a solid frame of mind.

nonmember avatar Dolly

I think Caine was right, the pro lifers seem to promote a lack of regard for human life and its value expecting people to suffer just to satisfy their archaic ideals.

momto... momto3again

This happens more often than we think I suspect.  It's just not talked about.

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