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Andy Garcia Reflects On Latinos Being Typecast In The 70s As ‘Gang Members And Maids’

Cuban-born Andy Garcia, 66, stars as an overprotective father in the new romantic comedy “Father of the Bride,” and his latest interviews show how art might just imitate life after all. 

Garcia has proudly been married for 39 years with wife Marivi Lorido Garcia, who he tells PEOPLE he proposed to on the first day they met (yes, really).

He said meeting her was the “cliché thunderbolt moment, like in The Godfather when Michael Corleone sees Apollonia.” They still dated “for years” before finally getting married in 1982, and ended up having four children together: Dominik, 38, Daniella, 34, Alessandra, 31, and Andrés, 20. 

Now, the icon stars in the role he seems like he was born to play in HBO Max’s “Father of the Bride,” which centers on a daughter Sofia (Adria Arjona) telling her Latino parents she proposed to her fiancé Adan (Diego Boneta).

An epic wedding scene ensues, while protective, dominant father Billy (Andy Garcia) isn’t shy to make his opinions very well-known to the rest of the family. 

The actor also shared with the outlet that while he walked fictional daughter Sofia down the aisle on the movie set, he also had a similar role in real life.

He just walked his own daughter Daniella down the aisle on June 11, and will do the same for Dominik on her wedding day set for July 9. He explained, “Three fathers of the bride in 30 days—I’m just going to take it all in… I’m very grateful.” 

While the Oscar-nominated actor seems to be in a state of peace as he basks in his family and his success in legendary movies like “When A Man Loves A Woman” and “The Godfather Part III,” it wasn’t always this way.

He told the outlet “Life is full of obstacles” and dug deep into his immigration story, leaving Cuba with his family when he was just 5 years old “to avoid political oppression and the loss of human, civil and financial rights.”

Garcia now says he is “blessed” that his parents chose to leave, reflecting on how his father was a janitor going from “opportunity to opportunity” when they arrived in the U.S. in 1961. The actor said this county gave the family “the freedom to pursue our dreams,” while those in Cuba live in a “terrible situation” of “unbelievable injustice.”

The 66-year-old also sat down recently with the New York Times and shared more of his backstory, describing how his family eventually started a successful fragrance business. He said his father was also a lawyer “by trade” and a farmer, and didn’t always understand Garcia’s idea to become an actor. Saying, “I’m sure in the back of his mind [my father] said, ‘I love my son, but he’s no Humphrey Bogart.’”

Getting a leg-up in the business was difficult, especially in the 70s.

Garcia told the New York Times that racism and stereotypes towards the Latino community made it near-impossible to snag roles. He described how “It was very difficult for someone with a Hispanic surname because you were never considered,” and how “You were typecast and the parts they were writing for Hispanics were predominantly gang members and maids.”

Finally, once the actor got his breakout role as George Stone in 1987’s “The Untouchables,” he quit his job as a waiter, which until then had allowed him to provide for his family.

Fast-forward to today, and Garcia still longs to return to Cuba “every day,” but will not. Saying “there is a certain responsibility that you have to honor that freedom” that comes with emigrating to the U.S., he explains the question of whether he would visit Cuba is “like asking a Jewish person if they’d go back to Nazi Germany.” 

While Garcia does not “pass judgment” on anyone who chooses to go, he believes going back will make people say: “See, he believes we’re doing the right thing. He’s here vacationing.”

He also believes prominent Cubans who go back to the country are “watched” by “government people” who follow them around, and will not risk his safety.

There’s no doubt the actor has landed icon status, and we’re already obsessed with his latest role in “The Father of the Bride” — and are pretty curious if he’s similar to his character Billy or not!

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