Beloved Comedian And Curb Your Enthusiasm Star Richard Lewis Passes Away at 76; Remembering His Life and Legacy

With a career spanning decades, Richard Lewis left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, captivating audiences with his wit, charm, and unparalleled talent.

Updated on Feb 29, 2024  |  02:11 PM IST |  68K
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Richard Lewis (Getty Images)

Richard Lewis, the stalwart comedian who also played a fictionalized version of himself in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, is no more. The beloved actor passed away Tuesday night at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack. He was 76. 

His death was confirmed by his publicist, Jeff Abraham, who said, “His wife, Joyce Lapinsky, thanks everyone for all the love, friendship, and support and asks for privacy at this time.” 

Lewis had been living with Parkinson’s, a diagnosis he revealed in 2023. 

Richard Lewis – Life and Legacy 

Richard Lewis (Getty Images)

Lewis began his career in his early 20s, performing in New York clubs. He soon became a dark-humor prodigy and was well-known and well-received for bringing his struggles with alcoholism and drugs and his broken family to the stage. He was pretty much the frontman of the stand-up comedy boom which followed the upsurge of cable TV networks in the 80s.

He parlayed the same persona into his acting career as well. I’m Doomed, I’m In Pain, I’m Exhausted are some of his TV specials that stand evidence of it. 

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Additionally, Lewis was a regular on several late-night shows including Late Night with David Letterman, The Howard Stern Show, and more. 

Before he was on Curb Your Enthusiasm, he appeared as a fictionalized version of himself in Diary of a Young Comic, a movie about the L.A. Comedy space. He followed it up with films like Once Upon a Crime, That’s Adequate, Game Day, and more. 

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In Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is currently airing on HBO Lewis played a loyal friend to David. However, in reality, Lewis and David’s friendship took time to flourish. The duo reportedly met as preteens in a sports camp. Speaking of his first impression of David, Lewis told the Spectator in a 2023 interview, “I disliked him intensely. He was cocky, he was arrogant. We were arch-rivals. I couldn't wait for the camp to be over just to get away from Larry. I’m sure he felt the same way.” 

Tributes pour in for the late actor and comedian – David Larry and others remember Richard Lewis 

Richard Lewis (Getty Images)

After an unremarkable first encounter, Larry David and Richard Lewis encountered each other again in the New York comedy scene years later. Their friendship blossomed — paving the way for decades-long on and off-screen camaraderie. 

In a statement given to the Associated Press, Larry said of his departed friend, “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.” 

A spokesperson on behalf of HBO in a statement to USA Today said, “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’ Anything But Love co-star Jamie Lewis remembered the late actor in a lengthy Instagram post. She credited him for her sobriety, writing, “He also is the reason I am sober. He helped me. I am forever grateful for him for that act of grace alone.” 

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Elsewhere, in her lengthy tribute to her friend, Curtis remembered Lewis as a standup comic who hated live audiences and hid his lines everywhere on the set, “On props, door frames, on my face in a close up and was always carrying a clipboard with his lines on them.” 

Lewis Richard is survived by his wife, whom he married in 2005. He did not have any children. 

FAQ

What is Richard Lewis famous for?
Richard Lewis is perhaps best known for his role as a fictionalized version of himself on the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm.

What impact did Richard Lewis have on the comedy world?
Richard Lewis was widely regarded as a comedic pioneer, known for his dark humor, honesty, and ability to tackle difficult subjects with wit and charm. He was instrumental in shaping the landscape of comedy and inspiring future generations of comedians.

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