Lenny Bruce (1925 - 1966)

Jewish-American comic Lenny Bruce became a symbol of the first amendment as he fought for the right to free speech throughout his life. His groundbreaking free-form comedy style included critical observations on religion, racism and sex. Denounced for his obscene language, Lenny said he used vulgar words in order to remove the poison from them. He was blacklisted for his ‘sick humor’ and was harassed and arrested often. Ultimately convicted of obscenity, Lenny Bruce died of a drug overdose before his appeal. His trial and eventual pardon is seen as a landmark for freedom of speech in the U.S.