Phil Caruso/2009 City Island, inc. all rights reserved
Off the course, Garcia’s recall is more acute. An accomplished composer, conga player, and pianist, Garcia has a mind for music and a memory filled with more songs than the average iPod. (Ask him, for instance, to hum the first few bars of any Cuban composition and odds are he’ll rise quickly to the task.) He also leads a band, the CineSon All-Stars, an assemblage of masters in traditional Cuban music like rumba and mambo. The group has performed live at venues ranging from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles to the B.B. King Blues Club in New York.
The All-Stars have also played Miami, where Garcia maintains a vacation home. A cherished refuge for him; his wife, Marivi; and their four children, the house sits on the water, with resplendent views. Garcia also owns a boat, which gives him easy access to prime sportfishing spots. On his frequent excursions, he’ll set off on a whim for wherever the action takes him, chasing wahoo all the way to the Bahamas or angling for sailfish in the Gulf Stream off Miami Beach.
“Everyone in my family, we’re all fishermen,” Garcia says. “There’s just something about being on the water. We’re drawn to it. It’s in our blood.”
Extended fishing trips aside, Garcia is a man of moderation. On the rare occasion when he reaches for a cocktail, the drink includes well-aged Bacardi rum. His cigar of choice is the Fuente Fuente Opus X, an elegant hand-rolled smoke produced in the Dominican Republic by Garcia’s friend, acclaimed cigar maker Carlos Fuente. But he only lights up on special occasions — during a round at Pebble, say, or to punctuate a festive holiday meal.
Not that Garcia treats his body as a temple. He settles instead for deep respect.
“I try to watch what I eat,” he says. “But it’s not something my life revolves around.” Having passed the ideal age for pounding the pavement and pick-up basketball, Garcia keeps fit by running on a treadmill in his home and by doing Pilates three days a week. When time allows, he walks the golf course. But the strictures of his schedule more often require him to take a cart, the better to fit in a quick nine holes.“The full 18 is always more enjoyable,” he says. “But I do what I need to do to get in my fix.”
Though he plays many rounds with fellow Lakeside member Lopez, Garcia is not a Hollywood hobnobber, an inclination that’s reflected in his choice of films.
At this point in his career, Garcia can cherry-pick his projects, and while he’s happy to take part in a studio blockbuster, his heart lies closer to small-budget films like City Island (above and left), also starring Julianna Margulies.
Fortunately, Garcia’s real life is nothing like the movie, a chain-reaction of riotous events and chaos at every turn, except that his character gets the part.