Richard Lewis dies at 76 | Pioneering stand-up and Curb Your Enthusiasm star © HBO

Richard Lewis dies at 76

Pioneering stand-up and Curb Your Enthusiasm star

Richard Lewis, the hugely respected stand-up who played a fictionalised version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, has died at the age of 76.

The comic suffered a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles, his publicist Jeff Abraham said.

Last year the comic revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,.

‘His wife, Joyce Lapinsky, thanks everyone for all the love, friendship and support and asks for privacy at this time,’ Abraham said, adding on social media: 'Thanks for all the laughs, my friend.'

Curb creator Larry David paid tribute, saying in a statement: '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.'

Others honouring Lewis tonight were actor and comedian Albert Brooks who tweeted: 'RIP Richard Lewis. A brilliantly funny man who will missed by all. The world needed him now more than ever.'

Comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff said: 'Richard Lewis was absolutely one of the nicest people in show businesses. What a career.'

And  a spokesperson for HBO, which aired Curb as well as a number of Lewis's stand-up specials, added: '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 started in the New York and Los Angeles comedy scenes of the 1970s, with his raw, honest stand-up winning him plenty of slots on the late-night talk show circuit. Clad all in black, he was known for frank discussions of his many neuroses as well as his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, leading to his nickname The Prince of Pain.

 New York Magazine grouped him in with the ‘new breed’ of comedians at the time alongside the likes of Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Andy Kaufman and Richard Belzer. He was know

He made a  big splash in the 1979’s Diary of a Young Comic, a 90 minute satirical comedy film, which aired in the Saturday Night Live slot on NBC, and he made a handful of stand-up specials.

He co-starred in a number of now-forgotten sitcoms of the 1980s and 1990s –  opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in Anything but Love, Don Rickles on 1993’s Daddy Dearest and Kevin Nealon in Hiller and Diller.

Curtis paid a heartfelt tribute on Instagram:

Lewis's film credits included 1993’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights, in which he played Prince John. But his most is enduring TV appearances have been on Curb, starting from the very first episode in 2000.

He first met the show's star and creator, Larry David, at summer camp in upstate New York when they were 12 years old – Lewis claimed that at the time they hated each other, and met up again later on the New York comedy circuit. The two comedians later found out they were born so close together – and in the same hospital.

Here are some clips of his stand-up in the 1990s

And on Curb:

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Published: 28 Feb 2024

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