Born Leonard Alfred Schneider in Mineola, New York on 13 October 1925, Lenny Bruce became a comedian after being discharged from the US Navy in 1946.
He developed a brand of irreverent humour which made him popular in burlesque clubs and also got him into a lot of trouble. Almost immediately, he was in the headlines and he weathered obscenity and narcotics arrests in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
One of Lenny Bruce’s shortest performances came in Sydney (Australia) in 1962, when he walked on to the stage, declared “What a fucking wonderful audience” and was immediately arrested by the police.
In 1963, he was twice refused admittance to Britain as an undesirable.
He was married once, to striptease dancer Harriett (Honey) Harlow, whom he divorced in 1957.
Bruce died in August 1966 at his Hollywood Hills home from an accidental overdose of morphine. He was just 40.