Great men and great cigars have always gone together, so it’s no
surprise that some of the century’s most influential and popular figures
have embraced this time-honored pastime. Here are the top 25 from Cigar Aficionado
Nov-Dec 1999.

Regardless, everyone on the list shares one trait: the love of a good cigar !

1 WINSTON CHURCHILL Throughout his long life, Churchill nourished
England with his battlefield bravery, political courage and prolific
writing, and nourished himself with the best food, drink and cigars he
could find. The man for whom the imposing Churchill cigar size is named
smoked eight to 10 cigars a day, primarily Cuban brands. Not even the
necessity of wearing an oxygen mask for a high-altitude flight in a
nonpressurized cabin could prevent Churchill from smoking. As the story
goes, the prime minister requested that a special mask be created that
would allow him to smoke while airborne. Naturally, the request was
fulfilled. On another occasion, Churchill hosted a luncheon for King Ibn
Sa’ud of Saudi Arabia, who did not allow smoking or drinking in his
presence. Rather than submit to the king’s wishes, Churchill pointed out
that “my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking
cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be
during all meals and in the intervals between them.” The king was
convinced.   Favorite cigar: Romeo y Julieta

2 JOHN F. KENNEDY When you’re the president of the United States, you
can get just about anything you’d like. What the 35th president wanted
in early 1962 was a bunch of Cuban cigars, 1,000 Petit Upmanns to be
exact. He gave his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, less than 24 hours
to round them up. Short notice for such a big request, but then JFK had
a pressing reason for procuring the stash in such a timely fashion. He
was about to sign an embargo prohibiting any Cuban products from
entering the country, including his beloved cigars. The embargo was born
of a nasty spat that the United States was having with Cuba and its
fears that Fidel Castro represented a growing threat to America’s
security. But before Kennedy could act, he needed Salinger to complete
his assignment. The press secretary didn’t let him down, as he managed
to scrounge up 1,200 cigars. Kennedy then signed the embargo, and Cuban
tobacco has been off-limits to Americans ever since.   Favorite cigar:
Petit Upmann

3 FIDEL CASTRO Until he gave up the habit in 1985, the man who has ruled
Cuba with an iron fist for 40 years was synonymous with cigars. Only a
rising national concern over the health risks of smoking would lead to
Castro’s unequivocal decision to stop smoking cigars, even in private,
to set an example for his people. Just because he abandoned a pastime
that he had relished for 44 years doesn’t mean he doesn’t still think
about cigars. He would occasionally dream that he was smoking a cigar,
though he would admonish himself for doing so. “Even in my dreams I used
to think that I was doing something wrong,” he said in a 1994 Cigar
Aficionado interview. “I was conscious that I had not permitted myself
to smoke anymore, but I was still enjoying it in my sleep.” Years
earlier, when Castro and the rebels were plotting how to topple the
Batista regime, the only time he did without cigars was when he ran out
of them. Anticipating those infrequent occasions, he would hoard his
last smoke, lighting it only to celebrate a victory or console himself
over a setback.   Favorite cigar: Cohiba Corona Especial

4 GEORGE BURNS From an impromptu singing gig in a candy store at the age
of seven, to his enduring partnership with Gracie Allen, to solo
stand-up comedy acts into his late 90s, Burns kept American audiences in
stitches through most of the twentieth century. Invariably, he smoked
his trustworthy El Producto cigars during his act, not because he
couldn’t afford a more expensive cigar, but because they stayed lit on
stage longer than the more tightly packed Havana smokes. “If you have to
stop your act to keep lighting your cigar, the audience goes out,” he
once cracked. The legendary star of vaudeville, radio, TV and film
resurrected his movie career in the 1970s with starring roles in The
Sunshine Boys and Oh, God! Burns, who lived to 100, credited his 10- to
15-cigar-a-day habit over a 70-year span with not only keeping him spry
on stage but also with helping him outlive his physician. “If I had
taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised me to,” Burns
quipped at age 98, “I wouldn’t have lived to go to his funeral.”
Favorite cigar: El Producto

5 MARK TWAIN The author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn smoked at least 22 cigars a day, maybe as
many as 40. Twain, née Samuel Clemens, supposedly once declared, “If
smoking is not allowed in heaven, I shall not go.” Twain’s penchant for
cigars didn’t necessarily mean he smoked the best cigars. He knew that
even his closest acquaintances were reviled by his stogie selections.
Once, as he would later relate in his essay “Concerning Tobacco,” he
pilfered a handful of costly and elegant cigars from a friend’s house,
removed the labels, and placed the smokes in a box identified by his
favorite brand. He then invited the man and 11 other friends over for
dinner, offering each a cigar afterward. Everyone shortly excused
themselves, and the next morning Twain found the cigars sprawled
outside–except for the one left on the plate of the man from whom the
cigars had been filched. “He told me afterward that some day I would get
shot for giving people that kind of cigars to smoke.”   Favorite cigar:
Anything except a Havana

6 MILTON BERLE Most men would be thrilled if their wives relished the
smoke wafting from their cigars. Berle must be ecstatic, as all three of
his spouses supported his hankering for Havanas. Even Marilyn Monroe,
with whom the entertainer had a short fling before she became a star,
savored the aroma of his cigars, and Uncle Miltie, who regularly tried
to wean his friends off cigarettes and on to cigars, once bought a box
of small cigars for the blonde bombshell, hoping to persuade her to
switch. Berle’s second wife, Ruth, not only supported his cigar habit,
she showed ingenuity in doing so. During their honeymoon in Paris, Ruth
went shopping for an evening bag, trying larger and larger sizes until
she found one that could fit four of Miltie’s mammoth Cubans. Before
flying on to Rome, Berle packed some 500 Havanas, but customs officials
there informed him that visitors were limited to 100 cigars. Nonplussed,
Ruth pulled out a cigar from her bag and asked Berle for a light. “She
nearly choked to death smoking it,” Berle recalled, “but it enabled us
to bring another hundred cigars in.”   Favorite cigar: H. Upmann

7 BILL COSBY There’s something about winter that doesn’t seem so funny
to the man who has made millions laugh. In 1994, Cosby was watching the
ladies’ figure skating finals in the Winter Olympics on TV, puffing away
on an Ashton. Suddenly, Tonya Harding began to cry during her routine.
No, Nancy Kerrigan hadn’t just blasted her with a bazooka; rather, the
problem was a wayward shoelace. Mesmerized by the drama, Cosby took his
cigar, which he had placed in an ashtray, and stuck it in his mouth–ash
end first. His tongue told him he had “instantly made a very serious
mistake.” Two winters earlier, the comedian experienced another tobacco
tribulation. As he walked about Manhattan with a cigar, the 38 degree
chill “turned my warm, succulent corona into a piece of cold, soggy
rutabaga.” Stopping in a store that sold expensive gadgets for the Man
Who Has Everything, as he described it, Cosby hoped to find some device
that would keep his cigar warm. No such luck. “What kind of store was
this?” he ruminated. “How could a man have everything if he didn’t have
a thing to keep his cigar warm?”   Favorite cigar: Ashton Maduro No. 60

8 RED AUERBACH “I didn’t want to rub anything in or show anybody what a
great coach I was when I was 25 points ahead. Why? I gotta win by 30?
What the hell difference does it make?” To Auerbach, sitting down on the
bench to smoke a cigar in the waning minutes of a Boston Celtics triumph
was his way of exuding humility. No one else saw it that way, though. To
opposing fans, the “victory cigar” symbolized smugness in being able to
administer such an awful beating to their team. Opposing players would
be motivated by the cigar, doubling their intensity level until the
final buzzer. Even Red’s own players suffered from the fourth-quarter
fumigation. According to guard Bob Cousy, the sight of Auerbach sitting
calmly smoking a cigar only served to increase the fans’ hostility and
the abuse they heaped upon the Celtics. Auerbach’s victory ritual was so
reviled that the Cincinnati Royals management once handed out 5,000
cigars to its fans, instructing them to light up when the Royals won.
Instead, the move backfired, as a fired-up Celtics squad blew the Royals
off the court.   Favorite cigar: Hoyo de Monterrey

9 JACK NICHOLSON The three-time Academy Award winner had been a longtime
cigarette smoker when he took up golf in the early 1990s. He found
himself smoking half a pack during a round to calm his nerves, so he
decided to switch to cigars from around the fifth hole on. The change
helped relax him, and eventually Nicholson got down to a 12 handicap.
The actor first became enamored of Cuban cigars in 1973, when he was
making The Last Detail, insisting that the petty officer character he
played be a cigar smoker. The picture was shot in Canada, affording easy
access to Havanas. When he resumed cigar smoking in the ’90s, one of
Nicholson’s favorite haunts was the Forum in Los Angeles, where he would
attend most of the Lakers’ home games. At one time he was able to light
up right on the arena floor, but as California antismoking laws got
tougher, he found himself relegated to a hallway and, eventually,
outside the building itself. “But I get around it,” he said in 1995. “I
sneak into the men’s room at halftime, like when I was in high school,
and take my drags there.”   Favorite cigar: Montecristo

10 BABE RUTH His larger-than-life persona, his considerable girth, and
his zest for excess couldn’t disguise the fact that George Herman Ruth
was one of the best baseball players of the century. A standout pitcher
for the Boston Red Sox before being traded to the New York Yankees, Ruth
was the greatest slugger of his time, and perhaps of all time. Off the
field, the Babe loved the good life: food, drink, women–and cigars.
While still in Boston, he invested in a local cigar factory that
produced nickel smokes with his picture plastered on the wrapper. “I
smoked them until I was blue in the face,” he once lamented. On a road
trip, he snuck a woman into the room he was sharing with Ernie Shore, a
fellow Red Sox pitcher (who once combined with Ruth to pitch a perfect
game against the Washington Senators). Not surprisingly, Shore couldn’t
sleep, as the sounds emanating from the Babe’s bed were hard to shut
out. The next day, Shore noticed four or five cigar butts next to a
sleeping Ruth. The Babe’s explanation later: “Oh, that! I like a cigar
every time I’m finished.”   Favorite cigar: “Babe Ruth” perfecto

11 AL CAPONE One of America’s most notorious gangsters was about to
board a train for prison, having been nailed for tax evasion. During the
Roaring Twenties, Capone had controlled gambling, prostitution and
bootlegging rackets. Despite his propensity for violence, the Chicago
crime boss saw himself as a generous benefactor, someone who provided
jobs for thousands and served “decent liquor and square games.” As he
was led to the train in 1932 after losing his appeal, Capone bade adieu
to his freedom by lighting a cigar.

12 GROUCHO MARX A cigar sometimes got the comedian into trouble. Once,
his third wife, Eden, objected to his “stinky old cigar” and ordered him
to extinguish it or get a new wife. On an earlier occasion, Marx
splurged for a 10-cent pure Havana after spotting an advertisement that
promised “thirty glorious minutes in Havana.” When the cigar lasted only
20 minutes, Groucho demanded a replacement. Somehow, each subsequent
cigar met the same fate, until after the fifth one the merchant wised up
and tossed Groucho out.

13 BILL CLINTON Does he or doesn’t he? The 42nd president is known for
chewing cigars on the golf course, but there have been only a few
reports of his actually smoking a cigar. It’s well known that the first
lady bans tobacco smoke from the White House, but does the chief
executive light up somewhere else–say, for instance, on a state visit
overseas? Perhaps if Hillary makes her way to the Senate, she’ll entrust
her husband with the authority to set the smoking regulations in their
new home in New York.

14 MICHAEL JORDAN When the NBA legend made a move on court, few
opponents could stop him. Off the court, it was much the same way. Case
in point: Jordan would be smoking, say, a Cuban Montecristo No. 2 on the
Bulls’ bus. Would any of his nonsmoking teammates ever ask the five-time
league MVP to snuff out his cigar? As former teammate John Salley once
put it: “We were just apostles. Jesus was smoking, that’s all there is
to it. What are you going to say?”

15 ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER It never hurts to have a father-in-law who
smokes cigars. Sargent Shriver, the father of Schwarzenegger’s wife,
Maria, the TV correspondent, offered him a cigar after a dinner, shortly
after Schwarzenegger and Maria met in 1977. Now, any complaints Maria
might make about her husband’s cigar smoking can be parried with a quick
reference to her dad. “You can always say, ‘Look, honey, your father
wouldn’t have introduced me to something that’s bad,’ ” the
ex-bodybuilder once cracked.

16 RON PERELMAN When the multimillion dollar businessman and former
owner of Consolidated Cigar Corp. wants to eat out, he naturally looks
for a cigar-friendly establishment. As he explained in a 1995 interview,
“I think I pretty much gravitate toward restaurants that allow cigar
smoking, partly because it’s so important to me to smoke, particularly
after dinner. But from a purely financial point of view, if somebody is
not going to support my business, I’m certainly not going to support
their business.”

17 FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA The director of such films as The Godfather and
Apoca-lypse Now owes his cigar education, in part, to Jack Warner, the
onetime head of Warner Bros. As a young writer and director, Coppola
worked a bit with Warner, who taught Coppola the proper way to light a
cigar. When Warner died, he left a gold-and-silver cigar cutter to an
associate, who gave it to Coppola. Warner had gotten the cutter from
Lord Mountbatten, the British admiral who was assassi-nated in 1979.

18 RUSH LIMBAUGH The outspoken radio and TV commentator was a latecomer
to cigars, but he was a quick learner. Starting out with Macanudos,
Ashtons and Fonsecas, Limbaugh soon gravitated toward Havanas. On a trip
to London, he became acquainted with Punch Double Coronas, Partagas
Lusitanias and Monty No. 2s, but, alas, he couldn’t find any Hoyo de
Monterreys. The disappointment was short-lived, however; on a yachting
holiday, he found a rare box of Hoyo Double Coronas on St. Maarten.

19 WHOOPI GOLDBERG If there’s anyone who’s hard to pigeonhole, it’s
Goldberg. She has been nominated for an Oscar for her performance in The
Color Purple and been named best supporting actress in Ghost. Her
screwball stand-up routines are renowned, but she has also hosted a talk
show in which she explored serious subjects. She’s just as difficult to
classify when it comes to cigars. While she prefers small cigars, she’s
been known to light up a big Cohiba now and then.

Regardless of their status, everyone on the list shares one trait: the
love of a good cigar

1 WINSTON CHURCHILL Throughout his long life, Churchill nourished
England with his battlefield bravery, political courage and prolific
writing, and nourished himself with the best food, drink and cigars he
could find. The man for whom the imposing Churchill cigar size is named
smoked eight to 10 cigars a day, primarily Cuban brands. Not even the
necessity of wearing an oxygen mask for a high-altitude flight in a
nonpressurized cabin could prevent Churchill from smoking. As the story
goes, the prime minister requested that a special mask be created that
would allow him to smoke while airborne. Naturally, the request was
fulfilled. On another occasion, Churchill hosted a luncheon for King Ibn
Sa’ud of Saudi Arabia, who did not allow smoking or drinking in his
presence. Rather than submit to the king’s wishes, Churchill pointed out
that “my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking
cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be
during all meals and in the intervals between them.” The king was
convinced.   Favorite cigar: Romeo y Julieta

2 JOHN F. KENNEDY When you’re the president of the United States, you
can get just about anything you’d like. What the 35th president wanted
in early 1962 was a bunch of Cuban cigars, 1,000 Petit Upmanns to be
exact. He gave his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, less than 24 hours
to round them up. Short notice for such a big request, but then JFK had
a pressing reason for procuring the stash in such a timely fashion. He
was about to sign an embargo prohibiting any Cuban products from
entering the country, including his beloved cigars. The embargo was born
of a nasty spat that the United States was having with Cuba and its
fears that Fidel Castro represented a growing threat to America’s
security. But before Kennedy could act, he needed Salinger to complete
his assignment. The press secretary didn’t let him down, as he managed
to scrounge up 1,200 cigars. Kennedy then signed the embargo, and Cuban
tobacco has been off-limits to Americans ever since.   Favorite cigar:
Petit Upmann

3 FIDEL CASTRO Until he gave up the habit in 1985, the man who has ruled
Cuba with an iron fist for 40 years was synonymous with cigars. Only a
rising national concern over the health risks of smoking would lead to
Castro’s unequivocal decision to stop smoking cigars, even in private,
to set an example for his people. Just because he abandoned a pastime
that he had relished for 44 years doesn’t mean he doesn’t still think
about cigars. He would occasionally dream that he was smoking a cigar,
though he would admonish himself for doing so. “Even in my dreams I used
to think that I was doing something wrong,” he said in a 1994 Cigar
Aficionado interview. “I was conscious that I had not permitted myself
to smoke anymore, but I was still enjoying it in my sleep.” Years
earlier, when Castro and the rebels were plotting how to topple the
Batista regime, the only time he did without cigars was when he ran out
of them. Anticipating those infrequent occasions, he would hoard his
last smoke, lighting it only to celebrate a victory or console himself
over a setback.   Favorite cigar: Cohiba Corona Especial

4 GEORGE BURNS From an impromptu singing gig in a candy store at the age
of seven, to his enduring partnership with Gracie Allen, to solo
stand-up comedy acts into his late 90s, Burns kept American audiences in
stitches through most of the twentieth century. Invariably, he smoked
his trustworthy El Producto cigars during his act, not because he
couldn’t afford a more expensive cigar, but because they stayed lit on
stage longer than the more tightly packed Havana smokes. “If you have to
stop your act to keep lighting your cigar, the audience goes out,” he
once cracked. The legendary star of vaudeville, radio, TV and film
resurrected his movie career in the 1970s with starring roles in The
Sunshine Boys and Oh, God! Burns, who lived to 100, credited his 10- to
15-cigar-a-day habit over a 70-year span with not only keeping him spry
on stage but also with helping him outlive his physician. “If I had
taken my doctor’s advice and quit smoking when he advised me to,” Burns
quipped at age 98, “I wouldn’t have lived to go to his funeral.”
Favorite cigar: El Producto

5 MARK TWAIN The author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn smoked at least 22 cigars a day, maybe as
many as 40. Twain, née Samuel Clemens, supposedly once declared, “If
smoking is not allowed in heaven, I shall not go.” Twain’s penchant for
cigars didn’t necessarily mean he smoked the best cigars. He knew that
even his closest acquaintances were reviled by his stogie selections.
Once, as he would later relate in his essay “Concerning Tobacco,” he
pilfered a handful of costly and elegant cigars from a friend’s house,
removed the labels, and placed the smokes in a box identified by his
favorite brand. He then invited the man and 11 other friends over for
dinner, offering each a cigar afterward. Everyone shortly excused
themselves, and the next morning Twain found the cigars sprawled
outside–except for the one left on the plate of the man from whom the
cigars had been filched. “He told me afterward that some day I would get
shot for giving people that kind of cigars to smoke.”   Favorite cigar:
Anything except a Havana

6 MILTON BERLE Most men would be thrilled if their wives relished the
smoke wafting from their cigars. Berle must be ecstatic, as all three of
his spouses supported his hankering for Havanas. Even Marilyn Monroe,
with whom the entertainer had a short fling before she became a star,
savored the aroma of his cigars, and Uncle Miltie, who regularly tried
to wean his friends off cigarettes and on to cigars, once bought a box
of small cigars for the blonde bombshell, hoping to persuade her to
switch. Berle’s second wife, Ruth, not only supported his cigar habit,
she showed ingenuity in doing so. During their honeymoon in Paris, Ruth
went shopping for an evening bag, trying larger and larger sizes until
she found one that could fit four of Miltie’s mammoth Cubans. Before
flying on to Rome, Berle packed some 500 Havanas, but customs officials
there informed him that visitors were limited to 100 cigars. Nonplussed,
Ruth pulled out a cigar from her bag and asked Berle for a light. “She
nearly choked to death smoking it,” Berle recalled, “but it enabled us
to bring another hundred cigars in.”   Favorite cigar: H. Upmann

7 BILL COSBY There’s something about winter that doesn’t seem so funny
to the man who has made millions laugh. In 1994, Cosby was watching the
ladies’ figure skating finals in the Winter Olympics on TV, puffing away
on an Ashton. Suddenly, Tonya Harding began to cry during her routine.
No, Nancy Kerrigan hadn’t just blasted her with a bazooka; rather, the
problem was a wayward shoelace. Mesmerized by the drama, Cosby took his
cigar, which he had placed in an ashtray, and stuck it in his mouth–ash
end first. His tongue told him he had “instantly made a very serious
mistake.” Two winters earlier, the comedian experienced another tobacco
tribulation. As he walked about Manhattan with a cigar, the 38 degree
chill “turned my warm, succulent corona into a piece of cold, soggy
rutabaga.” Stopping in a store that sold expensive gadgets for the Man
Who Has Everything, as he described it, Cosby hoped to find some device
that would keep his cigar warm. No such luck. “What kind of store was
this?” he ruminated. “How could a man have everything if he didn’t have
a thing to keep his cigar warm?”   Favorite cigar: Ashton Maduro No. 60

8 RED AUERBACH “I didn’t want to rub anything in or show anybody what a
great coach I was when I was 25 points ahead. Why? I gotta win by 30?
What the hell difference does it make?” To Auerbach, sitting down on the
bench to smoke a cigar in the waning minutes of a Boston Celtics triumph
was his way of exuding humility. No one else saw it that way, though. To
opposing fans, the “victory cigar” symbolized smugness in being able to
administer such an awful beating to their team. Opposing players would
be motivated by the cigar, doubling their intensity level until the
final buzzer. Even Red’s own players suffered from the fourth-quarter
fumigation. According to guard Bob Cousy, the sight of Auerbach sitting
calmly smoking a cigar only served to increase the fans’ hostility and
the abuse they heaped upon the Celtics. Auerbach’s victory ritual was so
reviled that the Cincinnati Royals management once handed out 5,000
cigars to its fans, instructing them to light up when the Royals won.
Instead, the move backfired, as a fired-up Celtics squad blew the Royals
off the court.   Favorite cigar: Hoyo de Monterrey

9 JACK NICHOLSON The three-time Academy Award winner had been a longtime
cigarette smoker when he took up golf in the early 1990s. He found
himself smoking half a pack during a round to calm his nerves, so he
decided to switch to cigars from around the fifth hole on. The change
helped relax him, and eventually Nicholson got down to a 12 handicap.
The actor first became enamored of Cuban cigars in 1973, when he was
making The Last Detail, insisting that the petty officer character he
played be a cigar smoker. The picture was shot in Canada, affording easy
access to Havanas. When he resumed cigar smoking in the ’90s, one of
Nicholson’s favorite haunts was the Forum in Los Angeles, where he would
attend most of the Lakers’ home games. At one time he was able to light
up right on the arena floor, but as California antismoking laws got
tougher, he found himself relegated to a hallway and, eventually,
outside the building itself. “But I get around it,” he said in 1995. “I
sneak into the men’s room at halftime, like when I was in high school,
and take my drags there.”   Favorite cigar: Montecristo

10 BABE RUTH His larger-than-life persona, his considerable girth, and
his zest for excess couldn’t disguise the fact that George Herman Ruth
was one of the best baseball players of the century. A standout pitcher
for the Boston Red Sox before being traded to the New York Yankees, Ruth
was the greatest slugger of his time, and perhaps of all time. Off the
field, the Babe loved the good life: food, drink, women–and cigars.
While still in Boston, he invested in a local cigar factory that
produced nickel smokes with his picture plastered on the wrapper. “I
smoked them until I was blue in the face,” he once lamented. On a road
trip, he snuck a woman into the room he was sharing with Ernie Shore, a
fellow Red Sox pitcher (who once combined with Ruth to pitch a perfect
game against the Washington Senators). Not surprisingly, Shore couldn’t
sleep, as the sounds emanating from the Babe’s bed were hard to shut
out. The next day, Shore noticed four or five cigar butts next to a
sleeping Ruth. The Babe’s explanation later: “Oh, that! I like a cigar
every time I’m finished.”   Favorite cigar: “Babe Ruth” perfecto

11 AL CAPONE One of America’s most notorious gangsters was about to
board a train for prison, having been nailed for tax evasion. During the
Roaring Twenties, Capone had controlled gambling, prostitution and
bootlegging rackets. Despite his propensity for violence, the Chicago
crime boss saw himself as a generous benefactor, someone who provided
jobs for thousands and served “decent liquor and square games.” As he
was led to the train in 1932 after losing his appeal, Capone bade adieu
to his freedom by lighting a cigar.

12 GROUCHO MARX A cigar sometimes got the comedian into trouble. Once,
his third wife, Eden, objected to his “stinky old cigar” and ordered him
to extinguish it or get a new wife. On an earlier occasion, Marx
splurged for a 10-cent pure Havana after spotting an advertisement that
promised “thirty glorious minutes in Havana.” When the cigar lasted only
20 minutes, Groucho demanded a replacement. Somehow, each subsequent
cigar met the same fate, until after the fifth one the merchant wised up
and tossed Groucho out.

13 BILL CLINTON Does he or doesn’t he? The 42nd president is known for
chewing cigars on the golf course, but there have been only a few
reports of his actually smoking a cigar. It’s well known that the first
lady bans tobacco smoke from the White House, but does the chief
executive light up somewhere else–say, for instance, on a state visit
overseas? Perhaps if Hillary makes her way to the Senate, she’ll entrust
her husband with the authority to set the smoking regulations in their
new home in New York.

14 MICHAEL JORDAN When the NBA legend made a move on court, few
opponents could stop him. Off the court, it was much the same way. Case
in point: Jordan would be smoking, say, a Cuban Montecristo No. 2 on the
Bulls’ bus. Would any of his nonsmoking teammates ever ask the five-time
league MVP to snuff out his cigar? As former teammate John Salley once
put it: “We were just apostles. Jesus was smoking, that’s all there is
to it. What are you going to say?”

15 ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER It never hurts to have a father-in-law who
smokes cigars. Sargent Shriver, the father of Schwarzenegger’s wife,
Maria, the TV correspondent, offered him a cigar after a dinner, shortly
after Schwarzenegger and Maria met in 1977. Now, any complaints Maria
might make about her husband’s cigar smoking can be parried with a quick
reference to her dad. “You can always say, ‘Look, honey, your father
wouldn’t have introduced me to something that’s bad,’ ” the
ex-bodybuilder once cracked.

16 RON PERELMAN When the multimillion dollar businessman and former
owner of Consolidated Cigar Corp. wants to eat out, he naturally looks
for a cigar-friendly establishment. As he explained in a 1995 interview,
“I think I pretty much gravitate toward restaurants that allow cigar
smoking, partly because it’s so important to me to smoke, particularly
after dinner. But from a purely financial point of view, if somebody is
not going to support my business, I’m certainly not going to support
their business.”

17 FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA The director of such films as The Godfather and
Apoca-lypse Now owes his cigar education, in part, to Jack Warner, the
onetime head of Warner Bros. As a young writer and director, Coppola
worked a bit with Warner, who taught Coppola the proper way to light a
cigar. When Warner died, he left a gold-and-silver cigar cutter to an
associate, who gave it to Coppola. Warner had gotten the cutter from
Lord Mountbatten, the British admiral who was assassi-nated in 1979.

18 RUSH LIMBAUGH The outspoken radio and TV commentator was a latecomer
to cigars, but he was a quick learner. Starting out with Macanudos,
Ashtons and Fonsecas, Limbaugh soon gravitated toward Havanas. On a trip
to London, he became acquainted with Punch Double Coronas, Partagas
Lusitanias and Monty No. 2s, but, alas, he couldn’t find any Hoyo de
Monterreys. The disappointment was short-lived, however; on a yachting
holiday, he found a rare box of Hoyo Double Coronas on St. Maarten.

19 WHOOPI GOLDBERG If there’s anyone who’s hard to pigeonhole, it’s
Goldberg. She has been nominated for an Oscar for her performance in The
Color Purple and been named best supporting actress in Ghost. Her
screwball stand-up routines are renowned, but she has also hosted a talk
show in which she explored serious subjects. She’s just as difficult to
classify when it comes to cigars. While she prefers small cigars, she’s
been known to light up a big Cohiba now and then.

20 AL LERNER This Montecristo No. 2 connoisseur was given the unenviable
task a decade ago of turning around MBNA Corp., a Maryland bank saddled
with underperforming real estate loans. Lerner began to pay down debt
and took the parent company public, and today it is one of the nation’s
biggest credit card issuers. Part of MBNA’s success is due to Lerner’s
introduction of affinity credit cards, which benefit the group issuing
them. A football fan, Lerner bought the new Cleveland Browns last year.

21 RUDYARD KIPLING The Nobel Prize-winning English writer and poet was
hailed in Britain as the heir apparent to Charles Dickens. He is best
known for tales that relate to British imperialism in India, such as The
Jungle Book (1894) and Kim (1901). Despite being admired, Kipling was
criticized by many of his peers for his support of British colonialism
and racial prejudice. The cigar-loving author is also famous for saying,
“A woman is a woman but a good cigar is a smoke.”

22 ZINO DAVIDOFF “If your wife doesn’t like the aroma of your cigar,
change your wife,” said the late Swiss-based cigar-industry icon, who
began his illustrious career in the 1930s as a worker in his father’s
tobacco shop in Geneva. The Russian émigré was instrumental in creating
the high-end Hoyo de Monterrey “Chateaux” series of cigars and launched
his signature line of Cuban smokes in 1970. He was the author of The
Connoisseur’s Book of the Cigar, widely regarded as the bible of the
industry.

23 J. P. MORGAN The legendary business tycoon and robber baron was a
painfully shy and private person. But in his professional dealings, John
Pierpont Morgan was ruthless. During his long career as head of J.P.
Morgan & Co., he helped save the U.S. government from bankruptcy (at a
price) and helped to create U.S. Steel. He loved to travel, collect art
and smoke cigars, of which he consumed dozens a day. He was known to
favor Cuban smokes, particularly Meridiana Kohinoors.

24 SIGMUND FREUD The father of psychoanalysis saw phallic symbols
everywhere, but nevertheless conceded that “sometimes a cigar is just a
cigar.” He began smoking at 24, enjoyed an average of 20 cigars a day,
and was rarely photographed without his tobacco companion. He often
stated that he couldn’t work without cigars and that “smoking was one of
the greatest pleasures in life.” A lifetime smoker, he favored Don
Pedros, Reina Cubanas and Dutch Liliputanos.

25 BRUCE WILLIS Willis, who first gained attention as the wisecracking
David Addison on ABC’s “Moonlighting,” has electrified worldwide
audiences in a number of big-budget blockbusters that usually have him,
if not saving the world (Armageddon), then saving the day (the Die Hard
trilogy). He has demonstrated a flair for comedy as well, as shown in
The Player. During the mid-1990s, Willis frequented Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s Monday night cigar dinners at Schatzi on Main.   This Montecristo No. 2 connoisseur was given the unenviable
task a decade ago of turning around MBNA Corp., a Maryland bank saddled
with underperforming real estate loans. Lerner began to pay down debt
and took the parent company public, and today it is one of the nation’s
biggest credit card issuers. Part of MBNA’s success is due to Lerner’s
introduction of affinity credit cards, which benefit the group issuing
them. A football fan, Lerner bought the new Cleveland Browns last year.

21 RUDYARD KIPLING The Nobel Prize-winning English writer and poet was
hailed in Britain as the heir apparent to Charles Dickens. He is best
known for tales that relate to British imperialism in India, such as The
Jungle Book (1894) and Kim (1901). Despite being admired, Kipling was
criticized by many of his peers for his support of British colonialism
and racial prejudice. The cigar-loving author is also famous for saying,
“A woman is a woman but a good cigar is a smoke.”

22 ZINO DAVIDOFF “If your wife doesn’t like the aroma of your cigar,
change your wife,” said the late Swiss-based cigar-industry icon, who
began his illustrious career in the 1930s as a worker in his father’s
tobacco shop in Geneva. The Russian émigré was instrumental in creating
the high-end Hoyo de Monterrey “Chateaux” series of cigars and launched
his signature line of Cuban smokes in 1970. He was the author of The
Connoisseur’s Book of the Cigar, widely regarded as the bible of the
industry.

23 J. P. MORGAN The legendary business tycoon and robber baron was a
painfully shy and private person. But in his professional dealings, John
Pierpont Morgan was ruthless. During his long career as head of J.P.
Morgan & Co., he helped save the U.S. government from bankruptcy (at a
price) and helped to create U.S. Steel. He loved to travel, collect art
and smoke cigars, of which he consumed dozens a day. He was known to
favor Cuban smokes, particularly Meridiana Kohinoors.

24 SIGMUND FREUD The father of psychoanalysis saw phallic symbols
everywhere, but nevertheless conceded that “sometimes a cigar is just a
cigar.” He began smoking at 24, enjoyed an average of 20 cigars a day,
and was rarely photographed without his tobacco companion. He often
stated that he couldn’t work without cigars and that “smoking was one of
the greatest pleasures in life.” A lifetime smoker, he favored Don
Pedros, Reina Cubanas and Dutch Liliputanos.

25 BRUCE WILLIS Willis, who first gained attention as the wisecracking
David Addison on ABC’s “Moonlighting,” has electrified worldwide
audiences in a number of big-budget blockbusters that usually have him,
if not saving the world (Armageddon), then saving the day (the Die Hard
trilogy). He has demonstrated a flair for comedy as well, as shown in
The Player. During the mid-1990s, Willis frequented Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s Monday night cigar dinners at Schatzi on Main.

 

 

 

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