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Andy Garcia Puts Family First

Marriage and family may be his top priority, but the actor and director still manages to find time to grow as an artist and practice the hot Hollywood fitness trend Pilates.
By Melanie D. G. Kaplan
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Listening to Andy Garcia talk about his son's latest hobby, you get the sense that a toy caboose is just as important to the actor, director, and musician as the release of his latest feature film, Ocean's Thirteen, which opened last month to fanfare, here and abroad.

"He plays a lot of trains," Garcia says of the 5-year-old aficionado, and then adds with gravitas: "He's an avid collector."

Unlike some of his overtly ambitious, publicity-seeking peers, Garcia, 51, is a private man who treasures his family and seems to genuinely enjoy the company of his children. He carries a strong work ethic -- passed along by his parents, who moved their family from Cuba to Miami when Garcia was 5 -- and he is constantly driving forward to fulfill his next dream as an artist.

But he is also happy being one of the guys, which he did again in Ocean's Thirteen, the third in a trilogy of films that began with Ocean's Eleven, a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack heist flick. In the movie, Garcia plays Terry Benedict and reunites with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Bernie Mac, a crew of actors that Garcia calls "generous and easy-going. There's a friendship that develops," he says, noting that the actors would sometimes stop by the Ocean's lounge set during filming on the Warner Bros. studio lot. "It's always a pleasure to hang."

Garcia's first major break was in Brian De Palma's The Untouchables, in 1987, and he received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his supporting role in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather: Part III (1990). He went on to make strong impressions in Dead Again with Kenneth Branagh (1991), When a Man Loves a Woman with Meg Ryan (1994), and Twisted with Samuel L. Jackson (2004). While continuing to act, he also made his feature directorial debut in 2006 with The Lost City, which he starred in, alongside Dustin Hoffman and Bill Murray. And as a percussionist (bongos and congas) and pianist, Garcia has won two Grammy Awards for CDs he performed on and produced in 1994 and 2005.

Still, Garcia would much rather talk trains and family life than stardom and awards. "The most important happiness is your family's happiness," he says. "Everything else is secondary."

He says every industry -- Hollywood especially -- goes through cycles and fads, and you can't control the outcome. He never pays attention to reviews -- good or bad. "Just do your own thing," he advises. "The only review that's important is the one at home. If you have to look outside for your self-worth and acceptance, you're in trouble, because none of that can ever be real consistent. The only thing that is consistent is what's inside your home and your relationships."

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