Armand Assante remembers 1992 ‘Mambo Kings’ premiere in Miami

Armand Assante
Armand Assante ho

Armand Assante poured on the charm Thursday night at Selecta magazine’s cover party at Bagatelle Miami Beach, where he was chatting with the crowd and posing for photos as a video of his classic film “The Mambo Kings” — which premiered at the Miami Film Festival at the Gusman downtown in February 1992 — was screened. With Assante to celebrate her birthday was the publication’s founder and longtime pal Nora Bulnes.

We caught up with the 66-year-old “Gotti” star who manages to keep very busy, with acting and running his company, Ora Vivo skincare products and cigars.

Your last cover for Selecta was 24 years ago in 1992, the same year “Mambo Kings” came out. What memories do you have of that heady time in your life?

The festival? That was huge. It was the first time I had anxiety. I got so much attention — there were something like 1,800 people at that party. Thank God it was a successful night. As for being on the cover, that was hard for me to do as well. I was so nervous.

How often do you get to Miami?

I’ve been down a few times over the last five years. I have a very few dear friends helping me promote Ora Vivo. There are some really fine products I think people here would like and we are in the process of developing more. Miami is a center for branding, if you have the right thing. It’s also the fashion plate of the world. Everyone wants to be here. I haven’t been to clubs. I don’t party. It’s all business. I’d love to come back and have a good time. It’s very tempting to move to Florida. Miami in particular.

What keeps you occupied these days?

I travel the world constantly for Ora Vivo. I just came back from Europe and have been working about 90 hours a week. My schedule is very tight. I won’t say how old I am but I can’t afford to retire. Not even one day. That shows you how much the world has changed [laughs].

Can you name a favorite role over your long career?

If I had regret it’s not making a “Private Benjamin” sequel. It was a loved film. People want to see more of beloved films like that. It’s a fact. Goldie Hawn is a consummate professional, no matter what she does. She legitimately produced that movie and knew what she wanted out of it. She knew what demographic she was going to tap into. The fact that it was a huge hit had a lot to do with her vision. We had phenomenal chemistry. And there was a very good friendship — it’s endearing and everlasting.