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Power Smokers of Hollywood

David Shaw
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 2)

"We had lunch one day in 1976 at Musso & Frank (a Hollywood landmark), and when Arnold lit up a cigar afterward, I made a pejorative comment about his nasty habits," Bookman recalls. "He asked if I'd ever smoked a cigar. I said no. He suggested I reserve my judgment until I tried one, and he insisted we make another lunch date right then. He said he wanted to go to a restaurant near the old Dunhill store in Beverly Hills, where he kept his cigars in a locker. He said he'd take me there after lunch and introduce me to my first cigar.

"He did--and I've been hooked ever since."

Like all the other movie machers interviewed for this story, Bookman smokes Cuban cigars--Punch, Montecristo No. 3, occasionally a Cohiba Exquisito on the way back to his office from lunch. ("It's the perfect size for a short walk.") On his birthday every year, Bookman enjoys a Romeo y Julieta Fabuloso.

Like virtually all cigar smokers everywhere, Bookman has problems finding a place to smoke in peace. He often goes to Le Dome restaurant in West Hollywood, where, if anyone complains, the owner, Eddie Kerkhofs, asks the complainer--not the smoker--to move. Or leave.

Bookman also smokes at home. "My wife has been remarkably understanding," he says. Andrew Bergman, the director of Honeymoon in Vegas, The Freshman and the forthcoming Cop Tips Waitress $2 Million, is similarly blessed. "My wife likes cigars," he says. "Her father was a cigar smoker."

Bergman, who began smoking Robert Burns Tiparillos as a 20-year-old college student in the early 1960s because "I saw my history teacher do it, and President Kennedy did it," had his favorite cigar-smoking experience in an airplane, of all places.

He and his producer/partner Mike Lobell were on an Alitalia flight to Venice about a dozen years ago, and they'd just had a "wonderful dinner and great espresso. It was like no airline meal I've ever had, before or since. It was so perfect, it just cried out for a cigar, so we asked the stewardess if there was any possible chance we could light one up. She said, "But of course." It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A real epiphany. And no one complained."

Now, Bergman says, not only can't he smoke on airplanes, he doesn't even try to smoke in restaurants anymore. "I can't deal with the hatred," he says. "I don't think the response would be as negative if you started vomiting in the restaurant."

When he was shooting The Freshman, Bergman says, he, Lobell and Ken Adam, the production designer, smoked so many cigars that they had to have a separate trailer. "No one else would stay in the same van with us. We had to communicate with everyone else by phone, van to van."

But when he's actually on the set, he has no such problems.

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