Ultimate gentleman spy Austin Powers, also known as Sir Austin Danger Powers, is a creation of comedian Mike Myers
and featured in a series of Austin Powers films. He is a swingin' '60s send-up of Ian Fleming's popular James Bond character and is recognized by his blue crushed-velvet suit, frilly lace cravat, Buddy Holly-rimmed glasses and poor dental hygiene.
He first appears in the 1997 comedy Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
as a fashion photographer being chased by clamoring women through the streets of London (a la The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night
). His ruse as a photographer is a front to hide his employment as a secret agent for England's Ministry of Defense. He reports to Basil Exposition (portrayed by Michael York
), who claims Powers is, "irresistible to women, deadly to his enemies and a legend in his own time." His arch nemesis is Dr. Evil (also portrayed by Myers), whose plots to destroy the world often include an elaborate scheme to kill Austin Powers. After a failed assassination attempt against Powers at the fictional "Electric Psychedelic Pussycat Swinger's Club", Dr. Evil escapes by having himself cryogenically frozen and launched into space inside a rocket ship shaped like the mascot for the Big Boy restaurant chain. Powers, in turn, has himself frozen to deal with Dr. Evil's return in 1997.
Austin Powers is the son of secret agent Nigel Powers (portrayed by Michael Caine
), and it is revealed in Austin Powers in Goldmember
, that he is the twin brother of Dr. Evil, whose birth-given name is Dougie Powers
. He was awarded the title of "International Man of Mystery" while attending boarding school and later joined the Ministry of Defense, where he teamed up with Mrs. Kensington (portrayed by Mimi Rogers
). When Austin Powers is unfrozen in 1997 in order to capture Dr. Evil, he partners up with Mrs. Kensington's daughter, Vanessa (portrayed by Elizabeth Hurley
). The couple is eventually married and during their honeymoon Powers is informed that he is to be knighted by the Queen of England. In the series' second installment, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, it is discovered that Vanessa was actually a deadly fembot, designed by Dr. Evil to kill Austin Powers, and she self-destructs. Her death causes Austin to lament, "I can't believe that Vanessa, my one true love, the one who taught me the joys of monogamy, was a fembot all along. Wait a tick, that means I'm single again!"
His newfound bachelorhood allows him to work his mojo
on a string of new attractive ladies including Felicity Shagwell (portrayed by Heather Graham
) and Foxxy Cleopatra (portrayed by Beyoncé Knowles
Mike Myers has revealed in interviews that the Austin Powers character was created becuase his father was a fan of British comedies featuring actors such as Peter Sellers
and Alec Guinness
and that Myers, himself, always wanted to play an English character in a comedy. He also said that one night after coming home from hockey practice, he started flirting with his wife in an English accent. His wife laughed and told him to write the routine down, so he could perform it again. It was that material that led to the first Austin Powers script.
Part of the influence for this film can be seen in an early sketch Mike Myers did for Saturday Night Live
in which several of James Bond's nemeses complain about his invulnerability and how much easier it would be to just shoot him.
Myers reportedly based Austin Powers on Michael Caine
's womanizing character Alfie from the 1966 film Alfie
Austin Powers admits in the first film that only two things scare him: nuclear war and carnies, explaining the latter as, "circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands."
Austin Powers is the author of the book "Swedish-made Penis Enlargers And Me: This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby."