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Talking with English Actor and Director Marc Sinden about Cigars

When the fates drew lots to determine Marc Sinden’s destiny, the outcome was inevitable. For Marc is the youngest son of Sir Donald Sinden, one of the most gifted British actors of the 20th century.

And fortune smiled on Marc, for he inherited his father’s first love: the theatre.

A renowned stage, film and tv actor, voice-over artist, theatre producer and film director (and, just the once, British spy), Marc’s long list of credits is like reading a history of the performing arts. He has worked with many actors, producers and directors of note, both in the UK and America, including Helen Mirren, Tom Selleck (in Magnum P.I.), Sir John Gielgud, Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, Lord Richard Attenborough, Steven Berkoff, and Bill Kenwright.

Now 62, he is as busy as ever. His next film, as an actor, will be Property of the State, out later this year. This autumn he will start directing the film version of Jeffrey Archer’s Prison Diaries.

Meanwhile, he has been working on a 40 part documentary series about London’s Great West End Theatres. The first ten episodes were presented by Marc’s father and broadcast three years ago. The series has been described as the nearest thing to performing on a London stage and taking an ovation and will no doubt encourage future generations to tread the boards.

We were turned down by the BBC because they thought it was too high falutin‘,” said Sinden. “That didn’t stop it becoming the third most successful programme on Sky Arts.”

Another highlight of Sinden’s long eventful journey includes 1968 when he and his brother, actor Jeremy Sinden, were part of the „Na-Na“ chorus on Hey Jude by the Beatles.

“Cigars came late in my life,” he admits. “My father was a cigarette smoker and I didn’t start smoking cigars until I began to produce plays in my 30’s – they became part of the first night celebration. I didn’t get into cigars seriously until I met Mitchell Orchant of C.Gars Ltd who helped me find the cigars that suited me best, especially Hoyo de Monterrey double coronas.”

“Smoking, especially cigars, are often part of the action in drama and comedy, thank God. And I always carry a cigar when I’m directing: It’s somewhere between a nervous tic and something to keep me calm and probably makes me a nicer person. But that cigar isn’t lit until I’ve finished for the day and can relax properly.”

You can’t beat a fine cigar for those special occasions. Such as that eventful day in 2007 when Sinden inaugurated the British Theatre Season, Monaco, bringing English-language theatrical shows to the Théâtre Princesse Grace, for which the Season was given a Royal Warrant from Prince Albert.

My favourite cigar memory is sitting on the theatre’s balcony savouring an H.Upmann Winston Churchill while overlooking my first production running downstairs,” said Sinden. “Life couldn’t get better – it was one of those “fuck you” moments I’ll never forget.”

James Leavey

James Leavey has been writing about cigars since 1995. A year later his first book, The Forest Guide to Smoking in London was published. He has since written about cigars for many publications including World Tobacco, Tobacco Reporter, Punch ('Sharing an ashtray'), Cigar Style and others. He also edited JJ Fox's occasional cigar newsletter, The Humidor, and The Harrods Pocket Guide to Fine Cigars. A regular contributor to several programmes on radio, he is also an occasional contributor to Matt Allan's weekly radio programme, Lighten Up! broadcast throughout the USA. In December 2015 he was awarded The Snow Queen Cigar Writer of the Year.


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