‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ actor Richard Lewis dies at 76

Lewis had retired from stand-up comedy in April 2023 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

February 29, 2024 12:16 pm | Updated 12:16 pm IST

FILE PHOTO: Comedian Richard Lewis poses at a premiere for the Netflix original film “Sandy Wexler” in Los Angeles, California, April 6, 2017.

FILE PHOTO: Comedian Richard Lewis poses at a premiere for the Netflix original film “Sandy Wexler” in Los Angeles, California, April 6, 2017. | Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok

Actor and comedian Richard Lewis, best known for the popular sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, died on Tuesday following a heart attack. He was 76.

In a statement to Deadline, Lewis' publicist Jeff Abraham said the actor passed away on Tuesday night at his house in Los Angeles.

"His wife, Joyce Lapinsky, thanks everyone for all the love, friendship and support and asks for privacy at this time," Abraham said.

In April 2023, Lewis was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a progressive disorder that tends to affect the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves. Following his diagnosis, the actor retired from stand-up comedy.

Larry David, the creator and lead star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, remembered Lewis as someone who was a "rare combination" of funny and sweet. The late actor emerged as a fan-favourite character on the HBO series after his appearances across more than 40 episodes, including the 2000 pilot.

"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," David wrote in a statement, shared by the network.

Jamie Lee Curtis, who co-starred with Lewis on the four-season ABC comedy series Anything but Love through the early '90s, also remembered the actor.

"Richard's last text to me, was hoping that I could convince ABC/Disney to put out another boxed set of episodes of the show. He also is the reason I am sober. He helped me. I am forever grateful for him for that act of grace alone.

"He found love with Joyce and that, of course, besides his sobriety, is what mattered most to him. I'm weeping as I write this. Strange way of saying thank you to a sweet and funny man. Rest in laughter, Richard. My Marty, I love you, Hannah!" Curtis wrote on Instagram.

Lewis made his screen debut in 1979 with the NBC special Diary of a Young Comic, a 90-minute film that aired in the Saturday Night Live slot.

He followed it up with his first Showtime special, titled I'm In Pain, which aired in 1985. He became one of the leading presenters on HBO with comedy specials in 1988, 1990 and 1997.

Lewis was brutally honest about his battle with drug and alcohol addiction, something he addressed through his comic sketches which were steeped in self-deprecating humour.

His film credits include Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), Drunks and Leaving Las Vegas, both in 1995.

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