In 1981, “Montreal’s most popular celebrity” is Irving Layton & Leonard Cohen is “a man not frequently given to dressing up”

Layton Draws S.R.O. Crowd
By Thomas Schnurmacher
The Montreal Gazette – Nov 11, 1981

Indeed, today’s readers can be excused for being flummoxed by the notions that (1) a city’s most popular celebrity, as proclaimed in a newspaper entertainment column, would be a poet – in this case Irving Layton and (2) Leonard Cohen, who informed biographer Sylvie Simmons that he was “born in a suit,” was once known as “a man not frequently given to dressing up.” That he was wearing pinstripe pants and a navy blue trenchcoat (no, it wasn’t the famous blue raincoat – it had disappeared by 1981) was unusual enough to be newsworthy.

The part about Layton saying “My best friend, the poet Leonard Cohen who is a genius” — that was pretty common knowledge.

Note: Originally posted November 14, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric