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Cover Stars

Cigar Aficionado’s 112 covers have won high praise, and eight of our cigar-smoking celebrities tell us why.
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Cigar Aficionado's 20th Anniversary, September/October 2012

Fittingly enough, the subject of Cigar Aficionado’s first cover portrait in 1992 was . . . a cigar. The first two celebrities to grace the cover of the magazine, on the third and fifth issues, were the well-known (and long-dead) cigar aficionados Groucho Marx (who once said, “Given the choice between a woman and a cigar, I will always choose the cigar.”) and Winston Churchill, whose name became synonymous with his favorite-sized smoke.

The first living celebrities to appear on the magazine’s cover—in 1994—couldn’t have been more different: conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh  followed in the next issue by the communist leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro—both of whom shared a love of cigars.

In Cigar Aficionado’s first 20 years, the cover story has always been part of the magazine’s draw—both for readers who pick up an issue because of who’s on the cover, and for the stars, who take a certain pride in talking about their discerning passion for fine tobacco. While early cover subjects included well-known cigar lovers such as Bill Cosby and the late George Burns, the magazine has also featured seemingly unlikely faces—from supermodels Linda Evangelista and Claudia Schiffer to politicos such as former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson to Michael Richards (Kramer of “Seinfeld”) to hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky and basketball immortal Michael Jordan.

We caught up with eight of our former cover subjects to check back in with them about cigars, about their lives and about what being the focus of a Cigar Aficionado cover story meant to them. We appreciate that they took the time to be interviewed.

Alec Baldwin

(May/June 2004)

Alec Baldwin’s 2004 cover story in Cigar Aficionado was headlined “Back on Track,” a reference to the personal and professional hurdles Baldwin had overcome to emerge with an Oscar nomination for 2003’s independent film, The Cooler. Since then, Baldwin has won a pair of Emmy Awards and a trio of Golden Globes for playing hilariously manipulative TV executive Jack Donaghy on the critically acclaimed “30 Rock.” Recently remarried, Baldwin took time from his honeymoon to answer Cigar Aficionado’s questions by e-mail.

Cigar Aficionado: What did being in Cigar Aficionado mean to you?
ALEC BALDWIN: I have been a cigar smoker since 1992 and I have always admired Marvin and the magazine. Cigar Aficionado is the most respected publication for serious smokers. When they put me on the cover, I was honored.

CA: What is your go-to cigar these days?
BALDWIN: I started by trying different strengths. Bolivar, Hoyo de Monterrey. Eventually I settled into a somewhat lighter smoke. Today, I like Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo and Partagás. My favorite is H. Upmann.
 
CA: What is your fondest cigar memory?
BALDWIN: Watching a plane land in the bush of Kwazulu, Natal, with a delivery of cigars from J J Cale in Sandton, South Africa.

CA: How has your taste in cigars changed since the cover story?
BALDWIN: I smoke fewer cigars than I used to, but I enjoy them more. And I smoke (at Grand Havana Room in New York and Los Angeles) while I eat. Can’t be helped.
 
CA: What’s the first cigar you remember really appreciating as you smoked it?
BALDWIN: I remember smoking my first Upmann Magnum and it was like chocolate. I could smoke one every day, but my wife won’t let me.

William Shatner

(Sept/Oct 2006)

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