Richard Lewis, Beloved 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Star, Dead at 76

The actor, also known for 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights,' most recently appeared in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Season 12.

Richard Lewis, the actor and standup comedian who starred alongside Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, has died. Lewis passed away at his Los Angeles home Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack, his publicist Jeff Abraham confirmed, Deadline reported. Lewis, who announced last April he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, was 76.

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

Born in Brooklyn in June 1949 and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, Lewis graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in 1965 and went on to study marketing and communications at Ohio State University, according to The Hollywood Reporter. After graduating, he began writing ad copy for an agency located above a pizza parlor in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey while also writing jokes and selling material to longtime New York comic Morty Gunty and others. 

Following his father's death in 1971, Lewis developed his own act and brought it to the stage, going on to perform at New York venues like The Improv and Pips Comedy Club and becoming known for his self- deprecating, razor-sharp humor.

After appearing on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show in 1974, Lewis went on to star in the 1979 NBC telefilm Diary of a Young Comic. He made his Late Night With David Letterman debut in 1982, followed by TV specials 'I'm in Pain' Concert in 1985, The I'm Exhausted Concert in 1988, and Richard Lewis: I'm Doomed in 1990.

Lewis, however, was best known for his starring role in Curb Your Enthusiasm, the HBO series on which he portrayed a fictional version of himself. The series centers around transplanted New York stand-ups now living in Los Angeles. In 2021, Lewis announced he would not appear in Season 11 of the series as he recovered from three surgeries, though he ended up returning for one episode of the season.

In April 2023, Lewis announced he was retiring from stand-up comedy as he revealed his Parkinson's disease diagnosis, sharing he had quietly been battling the disease since 2021. At the time, Lewis said he noticed that he had "started walking a little stiffly" and his feet were occasionally "shuffling." After seeing a neurologist and having a brain scan, he was diagnosed.

Although Lewis mostly stepped away from performing, he returned to Curb periodically, most recently appearing in the show's 12th and final season, which is currently airing on HBO. His other acting credits include Prince John for Mel Brooks in Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), the psychologist son of a used car dealer on the 1993 Fox sitcom Daddy Dearest, and a rabbi from 2002-04 on The WB's 7th Heaven, as well as Tales From the Crypt, Two and a Half Men, George Lopez, Everybody Hates Chris, Once Upon a Crime (1992), The Elevator (1996), Vamps (2012), and She's Funny That Way (2014), among many others.