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On His Own Terms

Riding high atop Hollywood's star machine, Jack Nicholson is enjoying the view.
Arthur Marx
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95

(continued from page 2)

Nicholson's favorite cigars today are Romeo y Julietas, Cohiba robustos and Montecristos, but he says the Macanudo maduros are smokable. "I don't think they are from Cuba. I think they are either Dominican or Jamaican. But they are smokable, in my opinion. But I'm not really a connoisseur. I just know I love Montecristos, Cohibas and Romeo y Julietas."

Of course, Cuban cigars are difficult to get in America. "And they're expensive when you are able to pick them up in this country," he says. "At 15 bucks a piece for them, you can bet there's about a 600-percent markup. We ought to recognize Cuba, just to give American cigar smokers a break and keep them from going broke. But until we do, you can bet some enterprising young man's out there in a boat, smuggling them in."

Nicholson doesn't encourage that sort of thing. He says he buys most of his Cuban cigars when he's out of the United States. "I also have friends who bring them back to me when they go abroad, if I ask them to. I have a good place to store them, over there in the corner, behind the dining table. Someone gave me a large, professional humidor, with a motor-driven humidifier that can keep cigars fresh for years. I can load up on them when I have the opportunity, and they won't get stale.

"When I went back to cigar smoking four years ago, after a long layoff, I found my cigars I'd keep in that humidor were as fresh as the day I had bought them. Of course, I don't smoke that many a day, so a few boxes last me a long time. I'm no George Burns, with his 15 a day."

As much as Nicholson enjoys smoking cigars and is pleased about today's revived cigar culture, he maintains that he's very considerate of people who don't smoke. "I don't smoke around my babies, for instance, and if I want to smoke around a lady friend, I always ask for permission before I light up."

He concedes, however, that he's not crazy about the antismoking movement. "But I don't let any mass movements bother me--it's such a waste of time. Of course, it's killing the restaurant business, but that doesn't bother me, either, since I don't own a restaurant. Moreover, I don't eat out much. Of course, the Monkey Bar, a private club I belong to, lets you smoke, but generally I just go to a restaurant to eat. I smoke after I leave. I don't drink, so I don't have to smoke while I'm drinking, which a lot of people do."

Portrait Jack Nicholson
An avid sports fan, especially of the Lakers basketball team, Nicholson tries to go to all their home games at the Forum and playoff games on the road. But he's not allowed to smoke at the Forum anymore. "I remember when I used to sit right on the basketball arena floor and light up, not too long ago," he says. "Then they moved us smokers out into the hall. Then you couldn't smoke in the entire building. But I get around it. I sneak into the men's room at halftime, like when I was in high school, and take my drags there.

"But I'm willing to deal with all that. I don't want to argue with the antismoking movement, because I can remember when I wasn't smoking. I wouldn't eat dinner with somebody who smoked at the table. So I understand where they're coming from."

"You know, there were a lot of things about the Victorian era that I liked--not that I was around then. The men would excuse themselves from the dining table after dinner and go into another room to smoke and drink brandy, to get away from the girls who objected to cigars. That kind of suggests a life to me that seems nice--and civilized."

But, says Nicholson, "at least you can still smoke here--in your house, that is." Though not a spectacular home by Hollywood standards, Nicholson's house offers breaktaking views of the canyon below and the high-rises of downtown Los Angeles in the smoggy distance. He is happy in his modest home. "I've lived here for 25 years," he says. "I've never moved. I bought it before I could afford it." Outside the picture window is a small green lawn, a large rectangular swimming pool with wooden cantilevered decking and a couple of six-foot-tall pieces of iron sculpture. "Once I could afford it, I also bought the house next door, which I use for my office. Now I don't have to worry about any neighbors next door to me."


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Comments   1 comment(s)

Paul AI October 2, 2010 9:07pm ET

Define real cigar Gloria Cubana for Jack Nicholson or a better (cepo) in spanish language



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(;)(:)ashtray by Mustang
Jack Nicholson


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