Born into affluence in Havana, Andrés Arturo García Menéndez, better known as Andy Garcia, became an exile at 5½-years-old when his family was forced to flee Cuba without any possessions because of the communist regime of Fidel Castro.
“We left everything—everything was taken away from us. Whatever you had was gone. A million exiles left Cuba in the first two years after 1961,” said Garcia.
Once in Miami his mother and father, a former English teacher and lawyer respectively, along with him and his siblings had to take on menial jobs to survive. Later, on a street corner, the family had a fragrance start-up, which is now called Artistic Brands, a successful company that is still run by his brother Rene Garcia in partnership with Jay-Z.
In high school, Garcia played basketball but later had a bout with mononucleosis that hampered his athletic performance. This led him to explore acting and him further studying it at Florida International University. After graduating from college he was off on his own to Hollywood, where he waited tables in the day and performed with an improvisational group at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. It was at the Comedy Store that Garcia caught the attention of a casting agent and was cast in the pilot for “Hill Street Blues.”
But, before his career took off, Garcia still had to face challenges that affect many Latinos in the acting community even until this day. Agents tried to persuade him to drop his last name and some casting directors tried to place him in stereotypical roles because of it. Despite the pressure he felt to change his name as a young actor, Garcia decided to stay true to himself, keep his name and choose roles that showcased his talent to prove that he is more than just his background.
“Just look at that person as an actor, don’t look at him as an actor of Mexican descent or an Asian or whatever, just look at him for what he can bring to the story and how he can enhance your film by his participation and his talents as an actor or actress,” said Garcia.
Currently, Garcia has three films in post-production for 2015 and 2016 (Geostorm, Max Steel, Headlock), one that was recently announced (Hemingway and Fuentes) and one film that will be released next year (What About Love).
- Was born as a conjoined twin
- He has said that Mickey Rourke was his high school baseball coach
- He has worked with three actors that played Batman (Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney)
- Although his father, Renu Garcia, was well off as a lawyer, he kept the family tradition of running an avocado farm alive before his family had to flee Cuba
- He is a hat collector
By Naeisha Rose
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