Richard Lewis, the renowned comedian popularly known for his appearance in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” alongside Larry David, died Tuesday night at his Los Angeles home due to a heart attack. The actor/comedian was 76 years old when he breathed his last. In April 2023, Lewis announced he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years earlier. He even declared that he was renouncing his comedic career and would instead focus on writing. He most recently appeared in Season 12 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” currently airing on HBO.

In 2021, he announced he would not appear in Season 11 of “Curb” following his recovery from his three surgeries. However, to everyone’s delight, he made a comeback for one Season 11 episode. During an interaction with Variety, he recounted the gleeful moment and shared, “When I walked in, and they applauded, I felt like a million bucks. Larry doesn’t like to hug, and he hugged me and told me how happy he was after we shot our scene.”

Lewis was indeed the heart of the show, as he played a semi-fictionalized version of himself throughout the 24 years of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Lewis was known for dark comedy, self-deprecation, and frank discussions regarding his many neuroses, as well as his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction. A major contribution to his comedic career goes to comedian David Brenner. Brenner helped Lewis’s career by introducing him to the comedy clubs in Los Angeles and getting Lewis his first appearance on The Tonight Show. Since then Lewis rose to prominence and was regarded by esteemed publications like New York Daily News and New York Magazine as one of the “new breed” or “class” of comedians.

Apart from “Crub,” Lewis has showcased his talent shows like the 1985 Showtime comedy special “I’m in Pain,” the HBO specials “I’m Exhausted” (1988), “I’m Doomed” (1990), and “Richard Lewis: The Magical Misery Tour” (1997). Lewis has worked alongside some renowned actors like Jamie Lee Curtis in the ABC sitcom “Anything but Love.” Other films featuring Lewis include the 1993 comedy “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” the 1995 drama “Leaving Las Vegas” and the 1997 rom-com “Hugo Pool.”

 

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The comedian also suffered from substance abuse and has been candid about it throughout his career. Lewis once shared that his decision to get sober was partly inspired by John Candy’s 1994 death.

During an interview with Variety, he shared,

“I’ve devoted my life to comedy and my sobriety the last almost 27 years. I’m overwhelmed with joy right now. I never learned how to keep joy in my head for more than a minute, but I’m breaking all records for my life today.”

His long-time friend and co-star Larry David paid homage to Lewis by stating,

“Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he’s been like a brother to me. He had that rare combination of being the funniest person and also the sweetest. But today he made me sob and for that I’ll never forgive him.”

HBO also tributed the comedian and said in a statement,

“We are heartbroken to learn that Richard Lewis has passed away. His comedic brilliance, wit and talent were unmatched. Richard will always be a cherished member of the HBO and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ families, our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and all the fans who could count on Richard to brighten their days with laughter.”

Lewis is survived by his wife, Joyce Lapinsky.

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