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Every now and then, while passing through the pages of Cigar Aficionado, I happen across a photograph of George Hamilton and I can't help but smile. As an actor, Mr. Hamilton may have received some mixed reviews at various points in his career, but as a "spokesmodel" for cigar lovers everywhere, he is unsurpassed. In my opinion, he embodies the epitome of elegance and refinement. So, please allow me to tell you my own personal story about George Hamilton.
At the time, I was living in Palm Beach, Florida, and the winter social season was in full swing. My wife and I were returning home from a black-tie charity ball, at which George Hamilton had been an attendee. As we were driving along Ocean Boulevard, we happened to see Mr. Hamilton pulled over at the side of the road where he was receiving a traffic citation from a local police officer. My wife, who could sell Hanukkah dreidels in Vatican City, insisted that we stop to assist. To Mr. Hamilton's amazement, she talked the officer out of giving him the ticket. Graciously, he asked us how he could repay us for this assistance. Cleverly, she insisted that he drop by our house for a glass of Port wine and a cigar.
Well, as often happens in Palm Beach, an odd assortment of characters in formal attire were soon assembled in my living room, including George and his brother David, Roxanne Pulitzer, and Deborah Couples (then recently divorced from golfer Fred).
I was honored to present my guests with a very nice Taylor-Fladgate Port (whose vintage now escapes me) and a box of Cuban Romeo y Julieta cigars (the "Prince of Wales" variety, as I recall).
George was absolutely charming, as you would expect; intelligent, witty, and possessed with a personal style that set everyone at ease. Needless to say, a marvelous time was had by all, and I -- in one of my better bargains -- was able to exchange some truly superb cigars and an equally memorable Port for treasured memories of a wonderful evening.
William Lanting
Lanting Hotel Group
Palm Beach, California

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