Comedy Legend Richard Lewis Dead at 76

Comedian and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Richard Lewis has died after suffering an unexpected heart attack.

Lewis was 76 when he passed away at his Los Angeles, California, home on Tuesday night, his publicist, Jeff Abraham, said in a statement.

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

Lewis announced last April that he was retiring from stand-up comedy after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“I have Parkinson’s disease, but I’m under a doctor’s care and everything is cool,” the veteran actor-comic said in a video posted to X at the time.

“I’m finished with standup.

“I’m just focusing on writing and acting from here on out.

“But you know, the last three and a half years I’ve had sort of a rocky time,” the “Leaving Las Vegas” actor lamented.

“And people have said, ‘Gee I haven’t heard from you, are you still touring?’

“Well, here’s really what happened.”

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Lewis, who starred alongside Larry David in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as a semi-fictionalized version of himself, spoke about his Parkinson’s diagnosis in a Vanity Fair interview published last week.

“It changed my outlook in that it’s been a combination of forcing myself to look back and be grateful,” he said.

“I’ve had such an amazing life. I still do. I’m a lucky man.

“I got in touch with more gratitude and also acceptance.

“It’s imperative that I accept the fact that I have Parkinson’s.

“If you don’t accept it, then it lingers around your brain and you get morbid and depressed. You lose energy.”

In 2021, Lewis announced that he would only appear in one episode of “Curb” Season 11 due to experiencing pain during filming.

He returned for the show’s 12th and final season, which premiered earlier this month on HBO. The series finale is set to air on April 7.

The New York-born actor, who graduated from Ohio State University in 1969, noted that there “were rumblings” that the popular series was coming to an end.

“There was behind-the-scenes gossip that ‘Larry sort of feels that this would be it,’” he said.

“I never asked him from year one if he’s coming back.

“The truth is he never knows,” Lewis continued.

“He has the luxury of being able to tell HBO, ‘I’m not sure. I’ll tell you in a couple of months.’

“And they’ll say, ‘Fine.’

“They’ll just put him on hold until he says yes or no.

“I don’t know what his plans are after it wraps.”

An HBO spokesperson 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,” the statement concluded.

Known for his neurotic, self-deprecating style of comedy, Lewis made his acting debut in 1979’s “Diary of a Young Comic.”

A Showtime comedy special, “I’m in Pain,” followed in 1985, as did multiple HBO comedy specials — “I’m Exhausted” (1988), “I’m Doomed” (1990), and “Richard Lewis: The Magical Misery Tour” (1997).

Lewis is also known for co-starring with Jamie Lee Curtis in the sitcom “Anything but Love,” as well as short-lived roles in “Daddy Dearest” and “Hiller and Diller.”

His other film credits include “Robin Hood: Men in Tights,” “Drunks,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” and “Hugo Pool.”

Comedy Central would go on to name him one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time.

In 2000, he also released the memoir “The Other Great Depression” — a collection of essays from his life — after getting sober from drugs and alcohol in 1994.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce.

READ MORE – ‘Once Upon a Time’ Actor Chris Gauthier Dead at 48

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