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Marvelous Mrs Maisel: was Lenny Bruce’s death depicted in season 5?

Lenny Bruce is the only real-life person portrayed in Marvelous Mrs Maisel 

lenny bruce midge
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
Updated: 26 May 2023
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Marvelous Mrs Maisel has concluded after five seasons, with Rachel Brosnahan making her final outing as the ambitious and loveable Miriam Maisel. The series also stars Luke Kirby, who portrays one of the only real-life people depicted in the show, Lenny Bruce.

In real life, Lenny was a legendary comedian who tragically passed away aged just 40 from a drug overdose in 1966. While the show shows parts of his career and troubles with the law, as well as an imagined blossoming romance with Miriam, did season five depict his heartbreaking death? Find out here...

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Warning spoilers ahead for season five's finale. The new series mixed things up by introducing flash-forwards - showing Miriam's family and career after she finally makes it to become a huge star. While there are glimpses of Lenny in the years before his death, most speficially a poignant moment between Miriam and Lenny where they coincidentally see one another at the airport, the closest we get to his fate comes in the season finale 

lenny bruce stand up

Lenny passed away in 1966 

In a flash-forward to 1965, a year before Lenny's death, Susie watches his stand-up act where he is clearly struggling to deliver his material while discussing his legal troubles and eventually resorting to an awkward dance bit, leading audience members to leave. Reaching out to him, Susie offers him help which he refuses. Susie then goes outside where Miriam is waiting, saying that she will try to help him again. Of course, Lenny passed away in August 1966, and the moment seems to hint that this would be the left encounter with Lenny that Miriam ever had. 

Lenny Bruce appears in the season finale© Philippe Antonello/Prime Video
Lenny Bruce appears in the season finale

Rachel has previously opened up about Lenny's tragic death - and admitted that she didn't want it to be shown on the show. She told The Hollywood Reporter: "I think it would be absolutely gutting for Midge. Lenny’s been her mentor and her hero. In so many ways, she’s modelled herself in her career after him. Even in intention when sometimes she’s wrong, as Lenny points out at the end, I just think she’d be absolutely gutted. And a big part of me hopes we never get there." 

lenny bruce 7

Luke portrays Lenny on the hit show

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Luke added: "Lenny Bruce was a little bothered by a few things, and met a sad and early end. That’s always been in the back of my mind in playing him… We felt duty-bound to address that a little more explicitly, which you’ll see a bit [in season four]." 

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