Honey Bruce

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Honey Harlow
Born Harriett Jolliff
(1927-08-15)August 15, 1927
Manila, Arkansas
Died September 12, 2005(2005-09-12) (aged 78)
  • Lenny Bruce (m. 1951–57)
  • Jeffrey Friedman (m. 1984)
Children Kitty Bruce

Honey Harlow Bruce Friedman (August 15, 1927 – September 12, 2005) was a stripper and showgirl best remembered as being the wife of legendary stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce.[1] She was portrayed by Valerie Perrine in the 1974 biopic Lenny. Perrine was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Harlow.


She was born as Harriett Jolliff in Manila, Arkansas on August 15, 1927. She was raised in Detroit, Michigan. While still in her teens, she ran away from home and ended up dancing topless. She was convicted, along with several friends, of stealing cars and attempting to rob a candy machine, and spent more than a year in prison. After her release from prison she worked as a stripper under the name "Hot Honey Harlow."[2]

On June 15, 1951, she married comedian Lenny Bruce. They divorced on January 21, 1957, after having a daughter, Kitty.[3][4] The two fought a custody battle over their daughter.[5]

Harlow successfully lobbied New York Governor George Pataki to posthumously pardon Bruce for the obscenity conviction resulting from his performance and arrest at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village in 1964.[3]

She married Jeffrey Friedman in 1984.[6]

She died on September 12, 2005, in Honolulu.[1][2][7]


  1. ^ a b "Honey Bruce Friedman, Wife of Lenny Bruce". Washington Post. 19 September 2005. Honey Bruce Friedman, 78, the former wife of comedian Lenny Bruce who successfully lobbied to clear her husband's 40-year-old obscenity conviction, died Sept. 12 at a hospital near her home in Honolulu. No cause of death was reported. ... 
  2. ^ a b Fox, Margalit (September 20, 2005). "Honey Bruce Friedman Dies at 78; Entertainer and 'Lenny's Shady Lady'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-03. Honey Bruce Friedman, a former nightclub entertainer who in 2003 helped win a posthumous pardon for her ex-husband, the comedian Lenny Bruce, on a 39-year-old obscenity conviction, died on Sept. 12 at a hospital in Honolulu. She was 78 and a Honolulu resident. The cause was complications of colitis, her daughter, Kitty Bruce, said. 
  3. ^ a b August, Melissa (September 25, 2005). "Died.". Time (magazine). Retrieved 2008-08-03. Honey Bruce Friedman, 78, ex-stripper who in 1951 married the soon-to-be-famous comedian Lenny Bruce; in Honolulu. Though the drug-addled pair split in 1957 (they had a daughter, Kitty), the sometime actress who called herself "Lenny's Shady Lady" helped successfully lobby New York Governor George Pataki to pardon Bruce 
  4. ^ O'Malley, Ryan, "Lenny Bruce’s daughter reaching out : Pittston resident Kitty Bruce hopes to help women in recovery with ‘Lenny’s House’", The Pittston Dispatch, Pittston, Pennsylvania, October 4, 2009
  5. ^ "Ex-Dancer and Mate Agree on Custody". Los Angeles Times. January 4, 1957. Retrieved 2008-08-03. Honey Harlow, 29, former striptease, yesterday went before Superior Judge Elmer D. Doyle to fight her, estranged husband for custody of their daughter Brandie, 1 year old, spirited from their home in Hawaii by him. 
  6. ^ *Honey Harlow at Strip Magazine
  7. ^ "Honey Bruce Friedman, ex-wife of Lenny Bruce, 78". Associated Press. September 19, 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-03. Honey Bruce Friedman, the former wife of comedian Lenny Bruce who successfully lobbied to clear her husband's 40-year-old obscenity conviction, has died. She was 78. Friedman died Monday after a long illness at a hospital near her home in Honolulu, family friend Jeff Abraham said from his Santa Monica office on Friday. [dead link]

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