on august 3, 1966, lenny bruce was found dead of a drug overdose - he was only 40 years old. his career as a cutting edge comic was repeatedly interrupted by arrest and prosecution because local authorities thought his act was indecent. between the years 1961 and 1964 bruce was arrested multiple times in san francisco, denver, los angeles, and new york city.
bruce was also arrested and prosecuted here in new york city. following a highly publicized six month long trial, he was convicted on obscenity charges in november, 1964. bruce was given a four month sentence which, thankfully, he never served because bruce was granted bail during the appeals process.
what was truly obscene, in my opinion, was the persecution on this iconic comedian. it took 40 years, but on december 3, 2004, then-governor pataki granted lenny bruce a posthumous pardon - the first in new york history.
check out dustin hoffman's portrayal of lenny bruce in bob fosse's "lenny."
r.i.p. lenny bruce