Michel Longtin, who served as a promoter and publicist in Quebec, died on Friday following a long illness at the age of 77.
Historian and broadcaster Pat Laprade reported his passing and was one of the final people to speak with Longtin earlier this week.
The close confidant of legendary figure Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon, had been suffering from a severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that led to regular bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis, according to Laprade. Longtin requested medical assistance to end his life, it was initially rejected in January, but doctors went ahead with his request this past week.
Longtin did not begin his career in professional wrestling, establishing hit roots in promoting and publicity in the entertainment field before assisting with the launch of Grand Prix in Quebec.
The group was launched in 1971 by Maurice Vachon, Edouard Carpentier, Yvon Robert Sr., Lucien Gregoire, Gerry Legault, and lawyer Michel Awada under the name “Les Enterprises Sportives Transcanada”, later renamed “Les Enterprises Sportives Grand Prix”, more commonly referred to as simply “Grand Prix”.
Later, Paul Vachon and Yvon Robert Jr. would obtain shares in the promotion.
Longtin worked on the public relations side of the promotion as it battled the Rougeau’s All-Star Wrestling for superiority within the province.
The peak for Grand Prix occurred in July 1973 when they drew 29,129 to Jarry Park for a show headlined by “Mad Dog” Vachon vs. Killer Kowalski, which remains the highest attended wrestling show in Montreal’s history.
The Vachons sold their shares in the company to Tony Mule at the end of 1973, and the promotion ceased operations by 1975.
Longtin and “Mad Dog” remained connected as Longtin assumed the role of Vachon’s agent including the handling of his retirement tour in 1986.
The several-month-long tour included Vachon all over the media, releasing a rap song, and other unique forms of promotion that Longtin assisted with.
In Pat Laprade & Bertrand Hebert’s biography “Mad Dog”, they spoke with Maurice’s oldest son Mike, who describes the role Longtin played in the tour:
Longtin did the rounds and sold Mad Dog to the media. My father always took the time to talk to people even when he was late. In a way, people paid him back a hundred times over for showing them so much respect over the years. His retirement could have been rushed. Longtin was the magic ingredient that had been missing. He believed in my father more than my father believed in himself.
Vachon’s final match took place October 13, 1986, teaming with archrival Jos Leduc to defeat Gilles “The Fish” Poisson and Man Mountain Moore in Montreal.
In Laprade’s obit, he ended the piece sharing his final conversation with Longtin from earlier this week:
What to say to someone when you know it’s the last time you’re talking to them? I always have trouble finding the right words in these situations.
So I simply thanked Michel. First, for all the help he gave us for the book on Mauritius. Then, in the name of the Quebec struggle, for its contribution to its history.
“How nice. You will say hello to Bertrand for me. I will watch over you from up there. ”
As he had done throughout his career, Michel had found the right words. And it was with wet eyes that I greeted Michel for the last time.
Thanks again Michel. You were finally able to join your friends Maurice Vachon, Toto Gingras, René Angélil and all the others you have known over the years.
Rest in peace my friend.
I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his children, Nicolas and Hans, his grandson as well as his ex-wife, Nicole.