42 Facts About Lenny Bruce


Leonard Alfred Schneider, better known by his stage name Lenny Bruce, was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, and actor.


Lenny Bruce's trial for obscenity was a landmark of freedom of speech in the United States.


Lenny Bruce grew up in nearby Bellmore, and attended Wellington C Mepham High School.


Lenny Bruce's parents divorced before he was 10, and he lived with various relatives over the next decade.


Lenny Bruce's British-born father, Myron Schneider, was a shoe clerk; they saw each other very infrequently.


Lenny Bruce's mother, Sally Marr, was a stage performer and dancer and had an enormous influence on Bruce's career.


Lenny Bruce defiantly convinced his ship's medical officer that he was experiencing homosexual urges, leading to his dishonorable discharge in July 1945.


In 1959, while videotaping the first episode of Hugh Hefner's Playboy's Penthouse, Lenny Bruce talked about his Navy experience and showed a tattoo he received in Malta in 1942.


One place where they congregated was Hanson's, a diner where Lenny Bruce met Joe Ancis, who had a profound influence on Lenny Bruce's approach to comedy.


Lenny Bruce gained notoriety for his focus on controversial subjects, black humour, obscenity, and criticism of organized religion and the establishment.


Lenny Bruce was a roommate of comedian Buddy Hackett in the 1950s.


Thomas photographed Bruce's other covers, acted as cinematographer on abortive attempts to film their screenplays, and in 1989 wrote a memoir of their ten-year collaboration, Lenny Bruce: The Making of a Prophet.


Two later records were produced and sold by Lenny Bruce himself, including a 10-inch album of the 1961 San Francisco performances that started his legal troubles.


Lenny Bruce developed the complexity and tone of his material in Enrico Banducci's North Beach nightclub, the hungry i, where Mort Sahl had earlier made a name for himself.


In 1951, Lenny Bruce met Honey Harlow, a stripper from Manila, Arkansas.


Lenny Bruce left Strip City in late 1954 and found work at various strip clubs in the San Fernando Valley.


Honey and Lenny's daughter Kitty Bruce was born in 1955.


Lenny Bruce was later sentenced to two years in federal prison.


Lenny Bruce had an affair with jazz singer Annie Ross in the late 1950s.


Lenny Bruce was acquitted because of the legality of the New York state-chartered foundation, the actual existence of the Guiana leper colony, and the local clergy's inability to expose him as an impostor.


Later, in his semifictional autobiography How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, Lenny Bruce said that he had made about $8,000 in three weeks, sending $2,500 to the leper colony and keeping the rest.


Lenny Bruce was arrested again in 1961 in Philadelphia for drug possession, and again in Los Angeles two years later.


On December 5,1962, Lenny Bruce was arrested on stage at the Gate of Horn folk club in Chicago.


Lenny Bruce was arrested along with club owners Howard and Elly Solomon, who were arrested for allowing an obscene performance.


On both occasions, Lenny Bruce was arrested after leaving the stage.


Lenny Bruce was sentenced on December 21,1964, to four months in a workhouse; he was set free on bail during the appeals process and died before the appeal was decided.


Solomon, the owner of the club where Lenny was arrested, later saw Bruce's conviction overturned.


Lenny Bruce was booked for a two-week engagement at Aaron's Exchange Hotel, a small pub in central Sydney, by American-born, Australia-based promoter Lee Gordon, who was by then deeply in debt, nearing the end of his formerly successful career, and desperate to save his business.


Local university students, who were fans of Lenny Bruce's humor tried to arrange a performance at the Roundhouse at the University of New South Wales, but at the last minute the university's vice-chancellor rescinded permission to use the venue, with no reason given, and an interview Lenny Bruce was scheduled to give on Australian television was cancelled by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.


Lenny Bruce remained largely confined to his hotel, but eight days later gave his third and last Australian concert at the Wintergarden Theatre in Sydney's eastern suburbs.


Lenny Bruce left the country a few days later and spoke little about the experience.


Lenny Bruce gave a famous performance at the Berkeley Community Theatre in December 1965, which was recorded and became his last live album, The Berkeley Concert.


The performance was not remembered fondly by Bill Graham, whose memoir describes Lenny Bruce as "whacked out on amphetamine"; Graham thought that Lenny Bruce finished his set emotionally disturbed.


At the request of Hefner and with the aid of Paul Krassner, Lenny Bruce wrote an autobiography that was serialized in Playboy in 1964 and 1965.


Record producer Phil Spector, a friend of Lenny Bruce, bought the negatives of the photographs "to keep them from the press".


Lenny Bruce was in a sense an evangelist, on a street corner.


Lenny Bruce's own work was a dead end, but out of that compost grew the buds of a flourishing school.


The main character's editing of a fictionalized film version of Lenny was a major part of Fosse's own autobiopic, the 1979 Academy Award-nominated All That Jazz, where Gorman again played Bruce.


The documentary film Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth, directed by Robert B Weide and narrated by Robert De Niro, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.


Lenny Bruce is portrayed in the popular Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs Maisel which is a fictitious story in which Lenny Bruce appears as a recurring character.


Pryor said that hearing Lenny Bruce for the first time "changed my life"; while Carlin said that Lenny Bruce was a "brilliant comedian" who influenced him as much as a man in his moral thinking and attitudes as he did as a comedian.


Carlin was arrested along with Lenny Bruce after refusing to provide identification when police raided a Lenny Bruce performance.