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Leonard Alfred Schneider (October 13, 1925 – August 3, 1966), better known by the stage name Lenny Bruce, was an American comedian, social critic and satirist. His 1964 conviction in an obscenity trial was followed by a posthumous pardon, the first in New York state history. He was renowned for his open, free-style, dangerous and critical form of comedy which integrated politics, religion, and sex. His tumultuous private life marked by substance abuse, promiscuity, as well as his efforts to prevent his wife from working as a stripper, make him a compelling figure. He paved the way for future outspoken comedians, and his trial for obscenity, in which – after being forced into bankruptcy – he was eventually found not guilty is seen as a landmark trial for freedom of speech.
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