ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Comedian Richard Lewis, who recently starred on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ dies at 76

Feb 28, 2024, 1:02 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm

Image: Comedian Richard Lewis attends an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 25, 2012....

Comedian Richard Lewis attends an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 25, 2012. (File photo: Alex Gallardo, AP)

(File photo: Alex Gallardo, AP)

Richard Lewis, an acclaimed comedian known for exploring his neuroses in frantic, stream-of-consciousness diatribes while dressed in all-black, leading to his nickname “The Prince of Pain,” has died. He was 76.

Lewis, who revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2023, died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack, according to his publicist Jeff Abraham.

More on Parkinson’s disease: Mercer Island MD explains long-term health risks of viral infection, links to nervous system disorder

A regular performer in clubs and on late-night TV for decades, Lewis also played Marty Gold, the romantic co-lead opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, in the ABC series “Anything But Love” and the reliably neurotic Prince John in “Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights.” He re-introduced himself to a new generation opposite Larry David in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” kvetching regularly.

“I’m paranoid about everything in my life,” he once joked onstage. “Even at home. On my stationary bike, I have a rear-view mirror, which I’m not thrilled about.”

To Jimmy Kimmel he said: “This morning, I tried to go to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I counted sheep but I only had six of them and they all had hip replacements.”

Comedy Central named Lewis one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time and he earned a berth in GQ magazine’s list of the “20th Century’s Most Influential Humorists.” He lent his humor for charity causes, including Comic Relief and Comedy Gives Back.

“Watching his stand-up is like sitting in on a very funny and often dark therapy session,” the Los Angeles Times said in 2014.

The Philadelphia’s City Paper called him “the Jimi Hendrix of monologists.”

Mel Brooks once said he “may just be the Franz Kafka of modern-day comedy.”

Following his graduation from The Ohio State University in 1969, the New York-born Lewis began a stand-up career, honing his craft on the circuit with other contemporaries also just starting out like Jay Leno, Freddie Prinze and Billy Crystal.

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

“I had a lot of great friends early on who believed in me, and I met pretty iconic people who really helped me, told me to keep working on my material,” he told The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2010. “And I never looked back,”

More lifestyle news on MyNorthwest: Beyoncé’s controversial country hit is glossing over the bigger issue

Unlike contemporary Robin Williams, Lewis allowed audiences into his world and melancholy, pouring his torment and pain onto the stage. Fans favorably compared him to the ground-breaking comedian Lenny Bruce.

“I take great pains not to be mean-spirited,” Lewis told The Palm Beach Post in 2007. “I don’t like to take real handicaps that people have to overcome with no hope in sight. I steer clear of that. That’s not funny to me. Tragedy is funny to other humorists, but it’s not to me, unless you can make a point that’s helpful.”

Singer Billy Joel has said he was referring to Lewis when he sang in “My Life” of an old friend who “bought a ticket to the West Coast/Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.”

Entertainment News

Photo: Missy Elliott performs "Lose Control" at the 65th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 5, 20...

Julia Dallas

Is it worth it? Let her work it — Missy Elliott, Ciara coming to Seattle

Take it back to the 2000s this summer. R&B queen Missy Elliott is coming to Seattle and she's bringing stars Ciara and Busta Rhymes.

14 days ago

seattle weekend events...

Paul Holden

Weekend revelry roundup: SquatchCon arrives, cherry blossoms galore

If you aren't glued to the TV for March Madness hoping that your bracket won't bust, there's still lots to do this weekend!

1 month ago

Photo: John Legend poses for a portrait on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in West Hollywood, Calif., to pro...

Julia Dallas

Chateau Ste. Michelle announces eclectic summer concert series

Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville announced the full list of its popular summer concert series on Monday.

1 month ago

Photo: Mixed drinks named "Peanut Butter Jelly Thyme," left, and a "Best Cup of Coffee in a Manhatt...

Paul Holden

Whimsical weekend roundup: Seattle offers dancing, drinks, art, movies

Friday is here yet again and it is time to get out and enjoy some fun in the Pacific Northwest this weekend.

2 months ago

Photo: The Flaming Lips release confetti as thousands of music and art lovers flocked to the Capito...

Julia Dallas

Capitol Hill Block Party announces 2024 indie, pop, edm lineup

Capitol Hill Block Party is back with another electric lineup. On Tuesday, the event revealed a diverse set of artists.

2 months ago

Emerald City Comic Con...

Paul Holden

Holden: Emerald City Comic Con’s guest lineup ‘biggest one I’ve seen’

Don't be alarmed if you see elves or superheroes walking the streets of Seattle this weekend. Emerald City Comic Con has returned!

2 months ago

Comedian Richard Lewis, who recently starred on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ dies at 76