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US: Comedian Richard Lewis dies at 76

February 29, 2024

Nicknamed "The Prince of Pain," comedian Richard Lewis was known for exploring his neuroses in frenzied diatribes while dressed all in black. More recently, he had a permanent role in the series "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

US actor Richard Lewis
US comedian Richard Lewis died in his Los Angeles homeImage: Chris Delmas/AFP

Richard Lewis, an acclaimed US comedian known for exploring his neuroses in frenzied diatribes while dressed in all black, earning him the nickname "The Prince of Pain," has died at the age of 76, his publicist Jeff Abraham announced on Wednesday.

Lewis, who revealed in 2023 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, died at his home in Los Angeles after suffering a heart attack, according to Abraham.

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

One of the top comedians of his generation

A native of Brooklyn, Lewis began performing stand-up comedy in the early 1970s while working a day job in advertising. By the end of the decade, he had risen to the top of his generation of comedians.

Throughout the 1980s, he was a regular on late-night talk shows. He starred opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the ABC TV comedy "Anything But Love". He went on to appear in several films in the 1990's, most notably starring in "Robin Hood: Men in Tights."

In later years, he was best known for his portrayal of a version of himself as Larry David's friend on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," in which the two men bickered relentlessly.

"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," David said in a statement. "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."

dh/jsi (AP, Reuters)