Lenny Bruce (October 13, 1925 – August 3, 1966), born Leonard Alfred Schneider, was an American stand-up comedian, writer, social critic and satirist of the 1950s and 1960s. His 1964 conviction in an obscenity trial led to the first posthumous pardon in New York history.
In 1947, soon after changing his last name to Bruce, he earned $12 (equivalent to $116 in 2008) and a free spaghetti dinner for his first stand-up performance in Brooklyn, New York. From that modest start, he got his first break as a guest (and introduced by his mother, who called herself "Sally Bruce") on the Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts Show, doing a "Bavarian mimic" of American movie stars (e.g., Humphrey Bogart).
On February 3, 1961, in the midst of a severe blizzard, he gave a famous performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. It was recorded and later released as a three-disc set, titled The Carnegie Hall Concert.
On August 3, 1966, Bruce was found dead in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home at 8825 Kings Road. The "official" photo, taken at the scene, showed Bruce lying naked on the floor, a syringe and burned bottle cap nearby, along with various other narcotics paraphernalia. His official cause of death was acute morphine poisoning caused by an accidental overdose.
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