12.0 'Landy' de Montbrun - A Hard Act to Follow

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Leandro de Montbrun, more popularly known as ‘Landy’ de Montbrun was born April 2, 1899, the second child of Jose Leandro de Montbrun, Barrister at Law and Josephine (‘Josie’) Laughlin-de Montbrun. For Landy, life began tragically; just before he was born, his father, Jose Leandro died suddenly at the age of only 31, in Guira, Venezuela of Tuberculosis. His parents had only been together for three short years. Suddenly, Landy, his elder brother, Jose and their mother Josephine were all that was left of the young promising lawyer, Jose Leandro de Montbrun.

But Landy took ever tragedy that befell him in stride, as he molded himself into Trinidad’s performer extraordinaire. In 1932, Landy de Montbrun produced the successful musical stage revue “A Peep into Hollywood” which premiered at the Empire Theatre in Port of Spain. It was in the theatre that his fame as Trinidad’s foremost comedian would be forged. For 30 years, at almost every major event, charitable or otherwise, that took place throughout the length and breadth of Trinidad, Landy de Montbrun would be featured as Master of Ceremonies or a headlining act. Major social events like the Trinidad Country Club Cabaret (Dec 1940), and the British Red Cross Society Cabaret at the Portuguese Club, (Jan 1942) both featured Landy de Montbrun as Master of Ceremonies.

Despite his celebrity status in Trinidad and his bubbly disposition, Landy was no stranger to heartbreak - his only daughter, Patricia Ann died on December 19, 1940 at the age of just eighteen months under suspicious circumstances.

On February 21, 1960 the tireless Landy returned from a business trip to Grenada only a few hours before the start of the Gasparillo Carnival Queen show, a show he was scheduled to act as Master of Ceremonies. While he was whisked away to the Rivoli Cinema in San Fernando, the show was held back for more than half an hour awaiting his arrival. He collapsed on stage while cracking his jokes just a half an hour into the Queen show. The show, sponsored by the Gasparillo Welfare and Development Council, went on with Mr. D.I. Lynch taking over as Master of Ceremonies. Landy was taken unconscious in a Fire Services Ambulance to the San Fernando General Hospital where he died at the age of 60, on Sunday 23 February, 1960 only a few days before the Trinidad Carnival, a season which if it was created for any one man, that man was Landy de Montbrun. He never regained consciousness from that fateful night. Landy de Montbrun died in much the same way he lived his life, with drama and flair. He left to mourn his wife, Grace de Montbrun; his mother, Mrs. Josephine (‘Josie’) de Montbrun; his brother, Jose Emilio de Montbrun; and his four sons, Lance, Allan, Peter and Patrick and five grandchildren.

The drama and wit of Landy de Montbrun continued even after his death. On his tombstone in the Mucurapo Cemetery (at Landy's request) was written:

Stop, traveler stop,

as you go by ,

for as you are,

so once was I

and as I am,

so shall you be,

prepare yourself,

to follow me.

The headstone on Landy's grave with the inscription disappeared sometime after his death. Only his children's memories of it remain intact (thanks to Landy's son, Patrick de Montbrun for sharing this memory of his father).

Alan de Montbrun

ademontbrun@gmail.com