In town from England for the press sit-downs to promote The Prestige, actor Michael Caine sounded morose about what's become of the city he knew two decades ago. Before talking to John Hiscock of the Toronto Star at the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena, Caine spent the day visiting old haunts around Beverly Hills. Those few that are left, that is.
Many of the bars, cafés and restaurants that were part of his life during the decade he lived there are long gone, and some of his oldest and dearest friends are dead.
But the recollections of his Hollywood heyday were as vivid as if they were yesterday, rather than 25 years ago and more.
"The Daisy on Rodeo Dr., the MLK diner on Wilshire Blvd. where we all used to go at 2 in the morning, the Luau on the corner — they're all gone," he said. "All the time I'm passing places that were part of my history here but they're not there now. I'm walking down the street and seeing things and people that only I can see. The town is full of ghosts for me. Frank Sinatra was a friend, Fred Astaire, Danny Kaye ... They're no longer here.
"And the bloody traffic — it's a nightmare. It used to be like a little country town here but now the traffic is terrible."
Photo of Michael Caine and Jane Asher: CitizenCaine.com