Cesar Castillo
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Cesar Castillo

The Mambo Kings

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About Him

Grew Up... in Cuba. But after getting on the wrong side of some gangsters, Cesar has to leave his whole life behind – including his ex-wife and daughter.

Living... in New York City, with his cousin, Pablo, and brother, Nestor. They've come to New York to become famous, and with his solid baritone and good looks, Cesar thinks he has what it takes to make it big.

Profession... aspiring singer. To pay the bills, he has a day job at a meatpacking plant, which gives him enough money to party and sing at night.

Interests... singing, dancing, and playing his band with Nestor. On his nights off, Cesar's favorite place to hang out is the Park Palace Ballroom, a huge dance club on 110th Street and Fifth Avenue. With the sound of Machito or Tito Puente in the air, Cesar and his musician friends drink, chase women, and dance.

Relationship Status... dating Vanna Vane, a luscious and long-legged party girl who was Miss Mambo for the month of June 1954. It's not a serious thing, since Cesar views all his girls as merely conquests. But the perpetual playboy might just be falling for Delores, a girl who's got eyes on both Castillo brothers.

Challenge... succeeding musically. With so many good dance bands already out there, competition is stiff, and on his days off the plant, Cesar does a lot of footwork, going from club to club around New York. Too often, however, he finds himself trying to set up auditions with jaded, tan-suited Puerto Rican gangsters who own half of the mambo singers in New York.

Personality... impulsive, fun-loving, and optimistic. Sometimes Cesar will miss his daughter or and feel bad things didn't work out with his ex-wife, but he prefers to look forward instead of backwards. There are moments when life gets him down, but it's nothing that a drink, a woman, and a cha-cha-cha won't fix.

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