Richard Lewis, comedian and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' actor, dies at 76

Lewis played a fictionalized version of himself on the HBO comedy.

February 28, 2024, 4:45 PM

Richard Lewis, the comedian and actor known for his roles on the HBO comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and in the film "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," has died. He was 76.

Lewis "passed away peacefully" at his home in Los Angeles Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack, his publicist Jeff Abraham said in a statement to ABC News.

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

The comedian revealed last year that he had been living with Parkinson's disease.

Lewis was best known for his dark and self-deprecating sense of humor, starting his career in comedy clubs and making appearances on late-night talk shows like "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" throughout the '70s and '80s.

PHOTO: Comedian Richard Lewis attends the premiere of "Sandy Wexler" at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on April 6, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
Comedian Richard Lewis attends the premiere of "Sandy Wexler" at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on April 6, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
Jason Laveris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

He starred on the ABC sitcom "Anything but Love," a workplace romantic sitcom alongside Jamie Lee Curtis for four seasons between 1989 and 1992. The pair played co-workers at a magazine office in Chicago who struggle to keep their feelings out of the workplace.

He also played a fictionalized version of himself on Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," where he can be seen in the 12th season which is currently airing.

On the big screen, Lewis most famously played Prince John in Mel Brooks' comedy classic "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" opposite Cary Elwes as the titular character.

He also starred alongside Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue in the Oscar-winning drama "Leaving Las Vegas."

In a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, in April 2023, Lewis announced that he was retiring from stand-up comedy after nearly 50 years.

He also revealed in the video that he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease about two years prior.

Lewis recently opened up about how his Parkinson's had affected his outlook on life, telling Vanity Fair in an interview published earlier this month that "it's been a combination of forcing myself to look back and be grateful."

"I've had such an amazing life. I still do. I'm a lucky man," he told the magazine. "I got in touch with more gratitude and also acceptance."

Lewis, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, was honest about his mental health struggles as well as his recovery from alcohol and drug abuse in both his comedy and his writings, first with his 2000 memoir "The Other Great Depression" and then with his 2015 book "Reflections From Hell: Richard Lewis' Guide on How Not to Live."

David, his co-star on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," said in a statement Wednesday, "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."