Richard Lewis, beloved comedian and Curb Your Enthusiasm star, dead at 76

Richard Lewis, the famous comedian, stand-up superstar, and beloved Curb Your Enthusiasm actor, has died at age 76.

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis, the beloved comedian, stand-up comedy all-star, and series regular on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 76. Lewis’ death was confirmed by his publicist, Jeff Abraham. “His wife, Joyce Lapinsky, thanks everyone for all the love, friendship and support and asks for privacy at this time,” Abraham said.

Richard Lewis’ comedic journey began with dual debuts in the New York and Los Angeles comedy arenas in the 1970s. Mentioned in the same breaths as comedy legends like Andy Kaufman, Richard Belzer, and Elayne Boosler, Lewis’ comedy style was darker and more self-deprecating than his fellow kings and queens of comedy. Not afraid to lampoon his shortcomings, Richard Lewis shared grim comedy about his addictions and bizarre thinking.

Lewis revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in April 2023 and planned to retire from his stand-up career.

He’s best known for playing a fictionalized version of himself on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Lewis was a long-time friend of Larry David, although their relationship didn’t start out on the best foot. They first met as teenagers at a summer sports camp, and Lewis couldn’t stand his future collaborator. “I disliked him intensely,” Lewis said last year. “He was cocky, he was arrogant… When we played baseball, I tried to hit him with the ball; 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.

Years later, the pair reconnected. “We became friendly years later as young comics in New York, but I noticed something one night,” Lewis recalled. “‘There’s something about you I hate,’ I told him. ‘Wait, you’re that Larry David from summer camp.’ And he said, ‘You’re that Richard Lewis.’ We nearly came to blows.” Thankfully, they got over it and gifted us with one of TV’s most delightful comic duos.

In a statement, Larry David said, “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 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.

In addition to Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lewis can also be seen in TV shows such as Anything But Love, Daddy Dearest, Tales from the Crypt, Hiller and Diller, 7th Heaven, Alias, Two and a Half Men, The Dead Zone, The Simpsons, ‘Til Death, Blunt Talk, and BoJack Horseman as well as movies like Once Upon a Crime, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Wagons East, Leaving Las Vegas, Hugo Pool, Vamps, Sandy Wexler, and more.

Our thoughts go out to Lewis’ family and friends during this difficult time. He will be missed, but will doubtlessly be making people laugh for generations to come.

Source: Deadline

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.