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Jack Lemmon, Harry Belafonte and Gabriel García Márquez Walk Into a Bar…

This weekend’s Washington Post interview with Edith Grossman, who translated the novels of Gabriel García Márquez beginning with 1985′s Love in the Time of Cholera, was fascinating. But FishbowlNY’s favorite remembrance of the Nobel Prize winner, also involving the year 1985, comes from David Markus, executive for arts coverage at San Francisco public outlet KQED.

ShutterstockHemingwayElFloriditaIn 1985, on behalf of two publications, Markus was attending the Latin Film Festival in Cuba. At one point, he found himself hanging out at the El Floridita, a bar made famous by Hemingway, with the author and festival honorees Jack Lemmon, Harry Belanfonte. From Markus’ piece:

That day “Gabo,” as everyone called Márquez, is the definition of cool. He looks like a cross between Anthony Quinn and Jean-Paul Belmondo, fit, strong, proudly middle aged. He speaks pretty good English in what appears to me as his unofficial role as minister of charisma for the festival — meeting, greeting, charming all kinds of folks…

He speaks as you would expect a master writer to speak: precise and decisive — and mostly cheery. His hands and fingers punctuate and guide you through his discourse, moving right and left, up and down (much like his friend Fidel Castro whom I observe from a distance the next night, also chatting energetically with the American honorees).

That fateful day, Markus went on to talk to “Gabo” about the books the journalist was reading at the time; he also has a great passage about Márquez’s thoughts on the cordoned-off stool once occupied at El Foridita by Hemingway. Read the rest here.

[Photo of bronze Hemingway statue that has since replaced the El Floridita bar stool: 360b/Shutterstock.com]

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