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‘The Clothier of the King’, Bernard Lansky Dead at 85

Elvis and Mr. Lansky
Lansky Bros.

As I get older, I understand now why my parents always checked the obituaries first when they got the daily paper. I heard that a man that I’ve met a few years ago had passed away earlier today. His name was Bernard Lansky, he was 85 years old and he was the ‘Clothier to the King’.

I met Mr. Lansky about six years ago on my first trip to Memphis, Tennessee to visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His shop was located on the ground floor in the Peabody Hotel. I popped into Mr. Lansky’s store looking for souvenirs to bring home to my wife and daughter, instead I got a history lesson. As it turns out, Mr. Lansky has had a pretty impressive clientele since the 1950s, including a high school student named Elvis Presley.

When Mr. Lansky introduced himself on the floor of his store, he had already been serving the people of Memphis and some pretty big-named entertainers for over 60 years. My first impression of Mr. Lansky was that he was one of those folks that just like people, and a man that people just couldn’t help but like. He took the time to show me around the shop and give me a little history about the place. Then I began to notice all the memorabilia on his walls, guitars and pictures from famous rock ‘n roll stars who wanted to buy their clothes were the king had been fitted. I heard a lady that worked in the shop saying that some fellas from some band named U2 had come by last week along with a man named Bon Jovi. It was tough not to be in awe of all the famous folks who had come through Mr. Lansky’s store. But to him it didn’t matter who you were, he treated everyone like a star.

In the following years I would always stop by the shop to see Mr. Lansky, and he was always as friendly and nice as the day I’d met him. That was until last year, when I stopped by and they told me that Mr. Lansky probably wouldn’t be back in the store, he’d fallen ill and wasn’t doing very well.

This year when I head to Memphis, I’ll stop by his store again even though I know Mr. Lansky won’t be there. It will not be the same without him, but I heard he’s thrilled to have his old job back, as clothier of the King.

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