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Curb Your Enthusiasm actor and comedian Richard Lewis dies aged 76

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Richard Lewis, who played a version of himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Prince John in Robin Hood: Men In Tights, has died.

The comedian, known for exploring his neuroses in frenetic, self-aware diatribes while dressed in black – earning him his nickname “Prince of Pain” – was 76 years old.

He died Tuesday evening at his home in Los Angeles following a heart attack, said his publicist Jeff Abraham.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2023.

Richard Lewis and Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Photo: HBO/Sky Comedy/Kobal/Shutterstock
Picture:
Richard Lewis and Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Photo: HBO/Sky Comedy/Kobal/Shutterstock


Lewis, born in New York, began his stand-up career after graduating from Ohio State University in 1969.

He was named one of the 50 best comedians of all time by Comedy Central and was celebrated in GQ magazine’s list of the “Most Influential Comedians of the 20th Century.”

Lewis told GQ that his signature look came from watching the western TV show Have Gun – Will Travel, with an all-black cowboy, when he was a kid.

He also popularized the term “from hell” – as in “hell’s work” or “hell’s date”.

“It slipped my mind one day and I kept saying it for some reason,” he said. “Same thing with black clothes. I felt really comfortable since the early ’80s and I never wore anything else. I never looked back.”

Lewis has also lent his humor to charitable causes including Comic Relief and Comedy Gives Back.

Richard Lewis was known for exploring his neuroses dressed in black.  Photo: mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX/AP
Picture:
Richard Lewis was known for exploring his neuroses dressed in black. Photo: mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX/AP

After becoming sober from drugs and alcohol in 1994, Lewis published his 2008 memoir, The Other Great Depression, which featured a collection of fearless essay-style riffs on his life.

His role on Curb Your Enthusiasm grew out of his friendship with fellow comedian, producer and series star Larry David.

Both Brooklyn natives – born in the same Brooklyn hospital – they met and became friends as rivals while attending the same summer camp when they were 13 years old.

Lewis was singled out from the start and argued with David over unpaid bills and common courtesies.

He also starred as the romantic co-lead alongside Jamie Lee Curtis in the series Anything But Love and the neurotic Prince John in Robin Hood: Men In Tights.

Paying tribute in appropriate style to the comedy they starred in together, Larry David said in a statement issued to Sky News’ US partner NBC News: “Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital and for most of my life he was 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 I will never forgive him for that.

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