Michael Caine 'asked doctor to help father die'

9th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

British actor Michael Caine has said he persuaded a doctor to give his terminally ill father a fatal overdose, adding his voice to the country's long-running debate about assisted suicide.

The Oscar-winning star of "The Italian Job" and "The Dark Knight" said in a radio interview he had kept the secret for more than 50 years and now advocated voluntary euthanasia "where life is no longer bearable".

"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,'" he told Classic FM.

"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," he said in the interview to be broadcast Saturday.

Caine's father Maurice Micklewhite, a porter at a London fish market, died in hospital at the age of 56 in 1955. The actor said his father had been given just three or four days to live when he asked the doctor to help.

He said he kept the request secret from his mother, who died in 1989.

Asked if he agreed with voluntary euthanasia, Caine, 77, 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."

Helping people with terminal illnesses to commit suicide is a hotly disputed topic in Britain, where it remains illegal but is rarely prosecuted.

The issue has been brought into sharp focus by a string of high-profile cases. These included two cases of mothers who killed their seriously ill children, one of whom was jailed and another who was not.

© 2010 AFP

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