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TV's Hottest Cop

As David Caruso savors the global success of "CSI: Miami," the former star of "NYPD Blue" won't forget the lessons he's learned, or the cigars he loves.
Betsy Model
From the Print Edition:
David Caruso, Jan/Feb 2007

(continued from page 6)

Plenty of what he exhales is cigar smoke. Caruso is a cigar lover, and the deck of his condo in Miami has seen a fair amount of cigar smoking over the last few years. "A cigar is a ritual for me, and also a unique way to take a brief vacation from the world…a great way to literally stop the world, have a respite from the things that you need to face.

"I once heard David Letterman say, when talking about cigars to Danny DeVito, I think, 'You get a good one of those and it can change your whole day.' And I have to say there are times where I may have been experiencing some stress or a particularly challenging day and I've said, 'You know what? I'm going to smoke a cigar right now.' "And," he laughs, "the day really does change."

Caruso, who is a member and regular visitor of the Grand Havana Room, both in Beverly Hills and New York, pauses when asked if he's got a favorite smoke or two. "Wow…well, there's a Cuban cigar called a Trinidad which is a fantastic cigar, and I'm also a fan of the Quai d'Orsay, another Cuban cigar. Then there's the Romeo y Julieta Churchill and the Punch Punch and…"

As he rattles off the names of five or six other cigars, it's obvious that he feels strongly not just about what cigar he likes, but what cigar he wants for a particular moment in his life.

"If you're in Paris," muses Caruso, "and it is lunchtime, you want a Montecristo No. 4 because all the Parisian businessmen are sitting and smoking No. 4s! It's a good, short, afternoon smoke. If you are in Italy, in Positano, for instance, there might be an occasion to have a morning cigar, which is also great, but it calls for a different cigar."

Caruso credits his longtime friend, the actor-director Peter Weller, with introducing him to the enjoyment of a cigar. Another close friend of Caruso's who enjoys a good cigar is Rex Linn, who plays Detective Frank Tripp on "CSI: Miami." "So I'm covered," he says, "when I'm in L.A."

Caruso mentions the Lincoln Road area as a great place to shop for cigars in Miami ("Some of the cigar stores have live salsa music in them…very authentic"), but says that when he's not at home, relaxed and sitting on his own deck, he still prefers a club atmosphere when he goes out.

"There is a kind of ritual to going to the Grand Havana Room and meeting another pal who appreciates a good cigar on a Friday afternoon. It's a great reward for me to go there, have lunch and smoke a cigar…it's a male experience in Los Angeles."

Caruso stops for a moment, then adds, "It's not that it's separate from the female experience, because women do go there and enjoy themselves. Sometimes Liza [girlfriend Liza Marquez] comes to the Grand Havana Room with me and if the night is right, she'll take a puff off a cigar and that's pretty cool, pretty sexy."

When Caruso talks about the women in his life—his grandmother and mother, his daughter, his assistant and his girlfriend—there is a distinct change in his voice and demeanor when he describes them, their accomplishments or their roles in his life. Caruso has, it seems, surrounded himself with very strong, very intelligent women.

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