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Chronology – The 60’s


In 1960, Lenny became ill for over a month and a half with staphylococcus septicaemia.He was at one stage on the critical list at Mount Sinai Hospital of Miami Beach.


On February 2nd, Lenny performed a concert at Carnegie Hall. This show was recorded live at midnight for release on LP.

lenny bruce arrestedSeptember 29th, he was arrested for possession of narcotics in Philadelphia.The charges were eventually dropped due to the fact it was only prescription drugs they found.

Lenny announces on television that a city law enforcement officer offered to ensure all charges would be squashed on receipt of a bribe worth approximately $28,000.

October 4th, he was arrested again for obscenity at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco. The offense was the use of the word cocksucker in a public place.


In March, his first obscenity trial in San Francisco is held.He is charged with violating Section 311.6 of the Penal code of the State of California, which provides: “Every person who knowingly sings or speaks any obscene song, ballad, or any other words in a public place is guilty of a misdemeanor.”He is acquitted.

Lenny Bruce’s American is released.It is an LP of recordings he made in 1960.

Plays the London at Peter Cook’s club, The Establishment.

In September, Lenny is officially banned from Australia.

October 6th, he is arrested for possession which he is acquitted for and then 6 days later on the 12th, he is arrested again.This time it is for obscenity once more.

In December, Lenny is arrested for obscenity at The Gate of Horn in Chicago.He is released on bail and returns to work at the club.

Variety writes: “The prosecutor is at least equally concerned with Bruce’s indictments of organized religion as he is with them more obvious sexual content of the comic’s act.”

Eighty prominent American figures including Arthur miller, Woody Allen, Gore Vidal, Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, sign a petition in support of Lenny.


January of 1963, sees Lenny arrested for possession of narcotics in Los Angeles which again he is acquitted.The arresting officer in this case was later imprisoned for drug smuggling.

Under conditions of bail in Los Angeles, Lenny is unable to attend court in Chicago and is found guilty of obscenity “in absentia”.

In April, he is barred from entering England by Home Office as an “undesirable alien”.

Hugh Hefner suggests that Lenny writes his autobiography.It serialized in Playboy magazine over the next two years.

leny on planeThe Earl of Harewood invites Lenny to take part in an International Drama Conference at the Edinburgh Festival.The Home Office refuses permission again.


In March, The New York Post writes: “Bruce stands up against all limitation on the flesh and spirit, and someday they are going to crush him for it.”

He is scheduled to play an appearance at the Alamo in Detroit but it is prevented by the Detroit Board of Censors, despite successful concerts at the same venue in all of the previous eight years.

In April, he is arrested for obscenity twice in one week at the Café Au Go Go in Greenwich Village, New York City.This time he is convicted.

Hospitalized with pleurisy, including a five hour operation.His New York trial is postponed while he recovers in Los Angeles.

In June of 1964, the British TV show That Was The Week That Was features a spoof photograph of Bruce becoming an Honorary Doctor of Letters – “to the man who won fame using them four at a time.”

Later on in June at his appeal, the verdict of guilty of obscenity charges are unanimously upheld by the Illinois State Supreme Court.

Only 7th the Illinois State Supreme Court drops the affirmation of guilt before it’s referred to the United States Supreme Court, who had just declared that the film The Lovers was not obscene because it was “of social importance.”

Variety refuses to place Bruce’s advertisement stating “I’m available.”


Lenny’s autobiography is published in book form as How To Talk Dirty And Influence People by Playboy Press.

In October, Lenny is declared a legally bankrupt pauper in San Francisco.Requests a federal court in San Francisco to keep him out of jail in New York.

On October 10th, he lodges a complaint at the San Francisco field office of the FBI that the courts of New York and California are conspiring to violate his rights.No Action is taken.


On July 24th and 25th at the Filmore concerts, Lenny and the The Mothers Of Invention.

On August 3rd of 1966, Lenny Bruce dies from a Morphine Overdose in Los Angeles.

The press all report death from heroin overdose following the original unfounded report.

He is buried with an orthodox Hebrew service.


The Essential Lenny Bruce is published in paperback.