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Old 09-20-2005, 07:24 AM   #1
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Default Lenny Bruce’s ex-wife dies

Honey Bruce Friedman, 78, died Sept. 12, 2005 in Honolulu. She had a checkered past and a bit of a film career, appearing in a couple of movies in the 1950s. She married Lenny Bruce in 1951. They were divorced in 1957, and Bruce died in 1966.

Despite their short time together, Honey was a strong figure in Bruce’s life (today I suppose we would call her an enabler or a co-addict). She was played by Valerie Perrine in Lenny (1974, produced by Bob Fosse) and was featured in the documentary on Bruce’s life, Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth (1998). She also wrote a memoir, Honey: The Life and Loves of Lenny’s Shady Lady.

I was a Lenny Bruce fan. Jack and I saw his act at the Condor in San Francisco in 1963, and perhaps on one earlier occasion. In 1964 he was convicted on obscenity charges (for which Honey and others won a posthumous pardon in 2003). He was a brilliant if bitter (and, yes, foul-mouthed) comedian and social critic. (Today it seems we hear language nearly as raunchy on many a TV show; in any event, speech should not be a crime.)

If you don’t know who Lenny Bruce is (was), never mind. Pity, though.

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