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By Sarah May on
 February 29, 2024

Beloved actor, comedian Richard Lewis dies at age 76

Sad news emerged from the world of show business on Wednesday when it was learned that actor and comedian Richard Lewis, well-known for his role on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm and decades as a stand-up comedy legend, died at the age of 76, as CBS News reports.

Lewis' publicist, Jeff Abraham, indicated that the immediate cause of Lewis' death was a heart attack, though the comedian announced last year that he had been living with a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease for some time.

Prolific career remembered

Lewis was born in Brooklyn in 1947, grew up in New Jersey, and ultimately matriculated at Ohio State University, as Deadline detailed.

After graduation, Lewis began his journey to comedy stardom by working the stand-up circuits of New York and Los Angles and joining the ranks of other giants of the era, which included Richard Belzer, Andy Kaufman, and the like, making numerous appearances on popular late-night programs such as Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman along the way.

In time, Lewis grew into a distinctive comedic persona marked by his dark attire and focus on the trials and tribulations of someone struggling with seemingly endless angst.

Lewis eventually moved into the realm of television specials, including many on HBO, the network responsible for Curb Your Enthusiasm, the wildly popular endeavor in which he performed with fellow comedic force and childhood friend, Larry David.

The body of work for which Lewis was responsible included appearances in numerous television series and feature films, and he also penned two books, The Other Great Depression and Reflections from Hell, works that both touched on his personal struggles and the way in which they contributed to his unique comedic voice.

Parkinson's diagnosis revealed

It was just last April that Lewis revealed to the world that he had previously been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, as Fox News noted at the time, coming forward in response to fan questions about his whereabouts and whether had any upcoming plans to tour.

Noting that he had just completed filming the finale of the 12th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, an experience he said was “amazing” and for which he was “grateful,” Lewis added, “But you know, the last three and a half years I've had sort of a rocky time.”

After detailing a difficult process of recovery from a series of surgeries, Lewis shared that after he began “walking a little stiffly,” a brain scan revealed that he was suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Telling fans that he was managing his condition with “the right meds,” Lewis added, “I have Parkinson's disease, but I'm under a doctor's care, and everything is cool, and I love my wife, I love my little puppy dog, and I love all my friends and my fans, and now you know where it;s been at the last three and a half years.”

Tributes pour in

As news of Lewis' death began to spread, tributes from many of the Hollywood luminaries who knew and loved him paid tribute, with David poignantly declaring, “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,” David went on. “But today he made me sob and for that I'll never forgive him.”

Also joining the host of famous names offering personal reminiscences on the late comedian was his Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Cheryl Hines who said, “Through the years I learned who Richard really was and the gifts he gave. Yes, he was the comedian I fell in love with, but he was also one of the most loving people I know. He would take time to tell the people he loved what they meant to him,” she added, and that is a legacy to which everyone can assuredly aspire.

Written By:
Sarah May

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