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Lenny Bruce

Lenny BruceAKA Leonard Alfred Schneider

Born: 13-Oct-1925
Birthplace: Mineola, NY
Died: 3-Aug-1966
Location of death: Hollywood, CA
Cause of death: Accident - Overdose
Remains: Buried, Eden Memorial Park, Mission Hills, CA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Comic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Multiply obscene comic

Military service: US Navy (1942-45)

In 1966, 40-year-old Lenny Bruce was found naked and dead of a morphine overdose on his toilet in Hollywood Hills. By this time he had been blacklisted by nearly every comedy club in America. His profanity-laced act offered fearless monologues and vulgar word-pictures which tickled the edges of the First Amendment, got him arrested numerous times, and rendered him nearly unbookable. Clubs were threatened with stiff fines or the revocation of their licenses if they chose to feature him as a headliner. He was also a jailtime regular for drug-related offenses, heroin and morphine chief among them. He provoked the wrath of the Catholic Church, the police, and the political structures which protected them both.

At the Troubador Theater in Hollywood, he was arrested for using the phrase "dwarf motherfucker". He was arrested at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco on October 4, 1961 for violating the California Obscenity Code after uttering the word cocksucker. His trial, which forced him into bankruptcy, was considered a landmark in the fight to preserve the freedoms set forth in the First Amendment. Bruce alleged a conspiracy between the state courts of New York and California to violate his rights. He was acquitted, but by this time no comedy clubs were willing to give him a chance.

Offstage he behaved indulgently, without morals, stopping at nothing to pursue his whims and impulses. He consumed drugs in in epic proportions; he staged spontaneous orgies, and he enjoyed acts of revenge: he set up his wife for a dope bust with the same cops who had nailed him several times before. Considered by many to be a crusader and a martyr, a moralist and a preacher, a saint and a sinner, Bruce paved the way for comics like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Bill Hicks, all of whom considered Lenny a groundbreaking visionary.

Father: Myron Bruce (shoe salesman)
Mother: Sally Marr ("Sadie Schneider", dancer)
Wife: Jacqueline Fontaine (actress, div.)
Wife: Honey Harlowe Bruce Friedman (m. 1951, div. 1959, d. 12-Sep-2005, one daughter)
Daughter: Brandy Kathleen Bruce Bruce ("Kitty", actor-singer, now a nurse, b. 7-Nov-1955)

    High School: Wellington C. Mepham High School, Bellmore, NY

    Ran Away From Home age 16
    Dishonorable Discharge (Jul-1945), later reversed
    Drug Possession: Marijuana
    Fraud Miami, FL (23-Apr-1951), not guilty
    Impersonating a Priest Miami, FL (23-Apr-1951), not guilty
    Drug Possession: Amphetamine John Bertram Hotel, Philadelphia, PA (29-Sep-1961), charges dropped
    Drug Paraphernalia Possession John Bertram Hotel, Philadelphia, PA (29-Sep-1961), charges dropped
    Obscenity three counts, Jazz Workshop, San Francisco, CA (4-Oct-1961), acquitted (Mar-1962)
    Contempt of Court fined $100 (8-Mar-1962)
    Drug Possession Los Angeles, CA (5-Oct-1962)
    Obscenity The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA (24-Oct-1962), mistrial
    Obscenity The Gate of Horn, Chicago, IL (5-Dec-1962), convicted, overturned (24-Nov-1964)
    Drug Possession Los Angeles, CA (23-Feb-1963)
    Failure to Appear Chicago, IL (27-Feb-1963)
    Deported from England (14-Apr-1963)
    Obscenity Le Grand Theater, Los Angeles, CA (23-May-1963)
    unknown detox facility State Rehabilitation Center, Chico, CA (Jun-1963)
    Obscenity The Trolley Ho, Los Angeles, CA (13-Mar-1964)
    Obscenity Café Au Go Go, Greenwich Village, NY (3-Apr-1964), convicted (4-Nov-1964)
    Represented Self in Court
    Bankruptcy Oct-1965
    Died Intestate
    Pardoned for the 1964 obscenity conviction (23-Dec-2003), posthumous
    Sgt. Pepper Lonely Heart
    Jewish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Pleurisy, Hepatitis, Heroin, Marijuana, Amphetamines

    Dynamite Chicken (20-Jan-1971) · Himself

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