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.
Although, it’s been over 4o years, Andy Garcia, still remembers vividly the exact moment he met his wife Marivi.
“It was a thunderbolt,” said the 66-year-old actor, who’s been married to the producer since 1982, He told People Magazine “We were very young, but she swept me off my feet. Some people know each other a while and there’s a friendship first, but when we met that night, it was very clear to me that this was the woman of my life.” Garcia was quick and proposed the night they met.
“She busts my chops saying that I proposed to all the girls that night but that’s not true!” and if it was, it didn’t matter, because I married her –said Garcia.
The couple dated for seven years before getting married. Fast forward to today, the Cuban-born actor and his wife Marivi, have four kids. Dominik, 38, Daniella, 34, Alessandra, 30, and Andres, 20.
Garcia has starred in a good share of successful films, including “The Lost City” “8 Million Ways to Die,” “The Untouchables,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and “The Godfather Part III.” In which his performance as Vincent Mancini earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
He has been a part of the hugely successful “Ocean” trilogy, starring in all three films – “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”. All three films were box office hits, grossing over $450 million worldwide combined. Garcia’s impressive trajectory has made him one of the most recognizable and beloved actors in Hollywood.
Garcia on health:
At 66, Andy Garcia is still fit and healthy, he maintains a healthy diet plan and this is non-negotiable for him. He’s certainly at the point in his life where he no longer craves anything unhealthy. It’s all about listening to what his body needs right now. As for his workout routine, the Ocean’s Eleven actor swears by Pilates. He used to be a yoga practitioner, but it eventually put too much strain on his back.
“I had some disc issues, and I would get hurt often doing power yoga, Pilates seems to be a lot better for it.” -said Garcia.
- Was born as a conjoined twin. Born into an affluent family in Cuba that fled to Miami Florida when Fidel Castro came to power
- His family struggled after their move but eventually started a fairly successful fragrance company that made over one million dollars
- When he was in high school he was an athlete and very popular, but contracted mononucleosis and hepatitis and was unable to play sports after this. This is the time in which Andy decided to spend more attention with acting
- 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)
- Andy Garcia started going to college at Florida International University but ended up heading to Hollywood where he got his first break in 1981 on “Hill Street Blues.”
- He is a hat collector