Written by Puff Staff

Saturday, 16 June 2012

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celebrity cigar smokersdavid letterman
george burnsmilton berle
wc fields

funnyleadpicThe whole world loves to laugh, so it’s no surprise that some of the most loved entertainers have been comedians. And while the handsome leading man may make all the ladies swoon, some of the world’s most beautiful women have fallen madly in love with funny men. These legendary comics had a taste for the hottest ladies as well as the best cigars.

Why have so many legendary comics used cigars as part of their acts? Maybe because it made a great prop for punctuating a punch line. Or maybe just because these larger-than-life characters always enjoyed the finer things in life.

W.C. Fields perfected his character of a hard-drinking, cigar-smoking lout in comedies of the thirties and forties, but he got his start in vaudeville—juggling cigar boxes. In real life, the comic actor had little in common with his onscreen persona, except that both enjoyed cigars.


It’s hard to believe in today’s anti-smoking culture, but in the early days of television, there were commercials airing for all kinds of tobacco products, including cigars. No TV star of the fifties was as known for his cigar smoking as comic/TV star/producer Ernie Kovacs , who smoked 20 Cuban double coronas every day. Kovacs and his blonde bombshell wife Edie Adams starred on his TV shows and also did a series of memorable commercials for their sponsors, Dutch Masters and Muriel cigars.

In a cautionary tale for other smokers, Kovacs died in an early-morning car crash in Beverly Hills on January 13, 1962. The comic lost control of the car while trying to light his cigar. This was probably the perfect ending for Kovacs, who worked hard, lived hard and had carved on his tombstone: “Nothing in Moderation.

funnyernie kovacs1

Milton Berle was another star from the golden age of television that loved his cigars. Fortunately for this much-married ladies man, so did his ladies. One of them was legendary sex goddess Marilyn Monroe, with whom Uncle Miltie had a brief fling. The blonde beauty loved the smell of his smokes so much that he gifted her with a box of small cigars in hopes of persuading her to make the switch from cigarettes.


All three of Berle’s wives adored the smell of his cigars and wife #2 even bought an especially large evening bag so she could carry a few of her new hubby’s giant Cubans when they went out together. Like many other well-heeled cigar smokers, Berle favored the H. Upmann.

Bill Cosby has to consider himself a lucky guy, since he was the first African American actor to star in a hit primetime TV series, “I Spy,” back in the 60s. That was jus the beginning for this multifaceted performer, who went on to have one of the most successful sitcoms ever.


The one area where Cosby’s luck seems to run out is his fondness for cigars, which has led to a painful mishap. In 1994, enthralled by the battle between Winter Olympic skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, Cosby picked up his lit cigar and popped it into his mouth—lit end first. Ouch! That little accident did not deter Cosby from continuing to puff his favorite Ashton Maduro No. 60 smokes.   

Back in the 90s, David Letterman was one of TV’s most visible cigar smokers, often seen puffing on a double-sized Corona during his show’s commercial breaks. Some guests would bring the late-night talk show host gifts of Cuban cigars, but Letterman’s smoking days are over since he had emergency multiple-bypass heart surgery back in January of 2000. In May of that year, Letterman said on his show, “Yeah, but I’ve always, you know, I quit and then I smoke, and then I quit. But now I’m off the cigars for good.”


In an interview with Larry King, Letterman waxed nostalgic over giving up his beloved smokes. “Man, do I miss those cigars.”

He explained, “Well, it's been a pattern since I started smoking back in the late 70s and whenever I started. I smoked for a couple of years and then stopped for a couple of years, smoked for a couple of years. Because I'm beginning to hear and see some things that indicate to me that maybe tobacco smoke is not that good for you…I'm starting to see a few things that make me uncomfortable.”


Letterman related a conversation with fellow cigar smoker Bill Cosby, who asked him, “How many cigars do you have a day?” Cosby replied, “Two…One after lunch, one after dinner.” That led Letterman to think, “Wow, that would be great…I was smoking like 20 a day. I was smoking them like gum, you know? That’s too many.”

Too bad—he looked so much funnier with a stogie in his hand.


0 # Mr.Spankmeister 2012-07-01 15:42

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