Michael was born in Rotherhithe in 1933, to Maurice Joseph Micklewhite (a fish market porter) and Ellen Frances Marie (a cook and cleaner). He had a brother Stanley, born in 1936.
His father passed away in 1957 (cancer) and When his mother passed away in 1989 (cancer), he found out he had an elder half brother, David (born in 1925, passed away in 1992 of pneumonia).
He attended Wilson's Grammar School. He served with the British Army between 1951 and 1953, serving in Germany and Korea.
Michael's first wife was Patricia Haines (an actress) and they were married between 1955 and 1958 - she passed away in 1976 (cancer). His second wife is Shakira Khatoon Baksh (model and actress); they married in January 1973, and are still together (2008).
He has a daughter, Dominique (b. 1956), from his first marriage, and another, Natasha (b. 1973), from his second marriage.