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HomeNewsComedian Richard Lewis, a star of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' Passes Away at...

Comedian Richard Lewis, a star of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Passes Away at 76: A Life That Mirrored His Art

For those of us who grew up with HBO comedy specials as a childhood staple, the name Richard Lewis is synonymous with the face of stand-up comedy. As his fans have aged alongside him, it’s with a heavy heart we report that our beloved entertainer has made his final curtain call. According to an email sent to CNN, Lewis passed away peacefully at his Los Angeles home on Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack.

Earlier in April 2023, Lewis disclosed his battle with Parkinson’s disease, a revelation that added a poignant layer to his legacy. Throughout his career, Lewis was celebrated for his acerbic wit, often drawing from his personal struggles and neuroses to fuel his humor. Watching Lewis perform was an exercise in laughter through absurdity, yet his delivery was so convincing because it was deeply rooted in his reality.

Lewis was the youngest of three siblings, with a brother six years his senior and a sister nine years older. The early loss of his father and his mother’s emotional struggles deeply impacted Lewis’s psychological makeup. After graduating from Ohio State University in 1969, the New York-born Lewis embarked on his journey in comedy, honing his craft alongside contemporaries like Jay Leno, Freddie Prinze, and Billy Crystal.

Making his debut on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1974, Lewis quickly became a staple of late-night comedy. His friendship with Larry David, spanning from their twenties, was legendary, leading to their memorable on-screen partnership in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Reflecting on their lifelong friendship, David, through a statement to CNN via HBO, expressed his grief, saying, “Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital. For most of my life, he was like a brother to me. He was the funniest and sweetest man I knew. Today, he made me cry, and for that, I’ll never forgive him.”

Richard Lewis and Larry David in season 10 of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”HBO

Unlike his contemporary Robin Williams, Lewis invited audiences into his world of melancholy, channeling his inner turmoil and frustrations onto the stage. Fans often compared him to the legendary Lenny Bruce for his candidness. In interviews and his stand-up, Lewis was open about his struggles with alcoholism and addiction. Reflecting on his decades of sobriety since 1994, Lewis remarked in a 2017 CNN interview, “I always wanted to be honest as a comedian, and I was. But it wasn’t until I admitted I was an alcoholic and got sober that my comedy truly resonated with me personally because I was finally true to myself on stage.”

After achieving sobriety in 1994, Lewis released his memoir, “The Other Great Depression,” in 2008—a collection of essays that offered a brave and candid look into his life. He also penned “Reflections from Hell.” Lewis’s acting career included a guest role in “Leaving Las Vegas,” leading to his first major dramatic role as Jimmy Epstein in “Drunks,” an indie film about an addict’s fight for survival. He played Don Rickles’s son in “Daddy Dearest” and a priest in “7th Heaven.”

Richard Lewis’s life and career were a testament to the power of comedy to address and heal personal pain. His legacy will live on in the laughter he brought to so many.


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