Comic, Suppress your Enthusiasm star Richard Lewis dead at 76

Ora Sawyers

Acclaimed comedian Richard Lewis has died. He was 76.

Lewis, who unveiled he experienced been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disorder in 2023, died at his dwelling in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening following suffering a heart attack, reported his publicist Jeff Abraham. He was known for exploring his neuroses in frantic, stream-of-consciousness diatribes while dressed in all black, primary to his nickname, “The Prince of Pain.”

A regular performer in golf equipment and on late-night time Tv set for a long time, Lewis also played Marty Gold, the passionate co-direct reverse Jamie Lee Curtis, in the ABC collection Anything But Love, and the reliably neurotic Prince John in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Gentlemen In Tights. He re-released himself to a new era opposite fellow comic Larry David in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, kvetching on a regular basis.

“Richard and I were being born three times aside in the exact medical center and for most of my lifetime he is been like a brother to me,” David stated in a statement. “He had that uncommon mixture of getting the funniest human being and also the sweetest. But right now he produced me sob and for that I am going to under no circumstances forgive him.”

Five people in fancy attire pose in front of a photowall.
Richard Lewis, left, poses with the cast of Suppress your Enthusiasm at a Los Angeles celebration, Sept. 15, 2009. (Valerie Macon/Getty Pictures)

Comedy Central named Lewis one particular of the top rated 50 standup comedians of all time, and he gained a berth in GQ’s checklist of the “20th Century’s Most Influential Humorists.” He lent his humour for charity brings about, such as Comic Relief and Comedy Offers Back.

“Watching his standup is like sitting down in on a quite humorous and generally dim therapy session,” the Los Angeles Occasions said in 2014. The Philadelphia City Paper identified as him “the Jimi Hendrix of monologists.” 

Comedians took to social media Wednesday to share their thoughts.

In a submit on X, previously Twitter, Albert Brooks called Lewis “a brilliantly funny gentleman who will missed by all. The environment necessary him now more than ever.” 

Other tributes came from Bette Midler, Michael McKean and Paul Feig, who called Lewis “1 of the funniest individuals on the earth.”

‘I never seemed back’

Pursuing his graduation from the Ohio Point out College in 1969, New York-born Lewis started his standup profession, honing his craft on the circuit with other contemporaries who at the time were also just starting up out, like Jay Leno, Freddie Prinze and Billy Crystal.

He recalled Rodney Dangerfield choosing him for $75 US to fill in at his New York club, Dangerfield’s.

“I had a lot of wonderful friends early on who believed in me, and I met rather iconic men and women who really helped me, advised me to keep performing on my materials. And I never appeared back,” he informed the Gazette of Colorado Springs in 2010.

In contrast to modern Robin Williams, Lewis permitted audiences into his planet and his melancholy, pouring his torment and agony onto the stage. Fans favourably compared him to the groundbreaking comedian Lenny Bruce.

Singer Billy Joel has reported he was referring to Lewis when he sang in My Life, of an previous mate who “acquired a ticket to the West Coast / Now he presents them a standup schedule in L.A.”

Lewis told GQ his signature glance came by the way, declaring his obsession with dressing in black arrived from watching the television Western Have Gun – Will Journey, with a cowboy in all black, when he was a kid. He also popularized the time period “from hell” — as in “the day from hell” or “the career from hell.”

“That just arrived out of my mind just one working day, and I held repeating it a great deal for some cause. Similar thing with the black apparel. I just felt actually comfy from the early [1980s] on and I under no circumstances wore anything else. I never seemed again.”

Immediately after acquiring sober from prescription drugs and alcohol in 1994, Lewis put out his 2008 memoir, The Other Wonderful Despair — a assortment of essay-style riffs on his everyday living — and in 2015, Reflections from Hell: Richard Lewis’ Guide On How Not To Live.

Obtaining a property in improv

Lewis was the youngest of a few siblings — his brother was older than him by six many years, and his sister by nine. His father died young and his mom had emotional issues, by his account.

“She did not get me at all. I owe my career to my mom. I need to have supplied her my agent’s commission,” he told the Washington Publish in 2020.

“Hunting back on it now, as a entire-blown, center-aged, functioning anxiousness collector, I can admit devoid of cringing that my parents had their reasonable share of incredible traits, but, being human considerably of the day, experienced additional than just a handful of flaws, as well,” he wrote in his memoir.

Before long following, Lewis located a house and new spouse and children accomplishing in New York’s improv scene.

“I was 23, and all sorts of men and women ended up coming in and out and observing me, like Steve Allen and Bette Midler. David Brenner undoubtedly took me under his wing,” he was quoted as declaring in a Los Angeles Times write-up. “To generate residence to my minimal dump in New Jersey typically being aware of that Steve Allen explained, ‘You obtained it,’ that validation held me going in a big, big way.” 

A man and woman pose in front of a red wall.
Richard Lewis, still left, and wife Joyce Lapinsky get there at the 2015 MusiCares Man or woman of the 12 months function in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2015. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/The Affiliated Push)

He had a cameo in Leaving Las Vegas, which led to his first major spectacular role as Jimmy Epstein, an addict battling for his life, in the indie film Drunks. He played Don Rickles’s son on one year of Daddy Dearest and a rabbi on 7th Heaven.

Lewis’s recurring part on Curb Your Enthusiasm can be credited immediately to his friendship with comedian, producer and sequence star Larry David. The two native Brooklynites — born in the same Brooklyn medical center — they first achieved and turned pals as rivals while attending the very same summer camp at age 13. He was cast from the beginning, bickering with David on unpaid payments and common courtesies.

He is survived by his spouse, Joyce Lapinsky.

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