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Comedian Richard Lewis dies at 76

Los Angeles: Comedian and actor Richard Lewis has died, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He was 76.
Abraham told CNN in an email that the entertainer died 'peacefully' at his Los Angeles home on Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack.
In April 2023, Richard stated that he had Parkinson's disease.
Lewis, known as a comic's comic, made his debut appearance on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' in 1974 and quickly rose to prominence in the late-night comedy scene.
On-screen, Lewis has played himself for years on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' opposite his friend Larry David, at one point joking during an episode this season about which one of them looked worse.
As his career grew with cable specials in the 1980s, Lewis transitioned into acting, starring opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the sitcom "Anything but Love," playing Prince John in Mel Brooks' movie comedy "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," and breaking into drama as a struggling alcoholic in the 1995 film "Drunks."
In a statement, a representative for HBO (which, like CNN, is a Warner Bros. Discovery branch) claimed Lewis' "comedic brilliance, wit, and talent were unmatched."
"Richard will always be a cherished member of the HBO and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' families, our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and all the fans who could count on Richard to brighten their days with laughter," the statement went on to say.
Lewis, who is arguably best recognised for his role on "Curb," recently revealed that the decision to play himself on the hit series was the brainchild of creator David.
"It's spectacularly unique to be able to be in a scene where other actors are not themselves and I'm myself," Lewis told Vanity Fair in an interview that was published earlier this month.
Lewis and David's bond went beyond the screen; they had been in each other's lives since their 20s. Their friendship is what motivated David to invite Lewis to join the cast of "Curb."
Calling David "the best friend you could ever imagine," Lewis said in the interview that "the show gives me another vehicle to express my feelings to Larry because we are the oldest of friends."
After learning of his friend's death on Wednesday, David told CNN via HBO, "Richard and I were born three days apart in the same hospital, and for the majority of my life, he's been like a brother to me." He had the unusual combination of being both the funniest and the sweetest. But tonight he made me cry, and for that, I will never forgive him."
Lewis, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey, attended Ohio State University, where he wrote ad copy while moonlighting as a joke writer for comedians before embarking on his standup career.
Lewis was open in interviews and in his comedy about his issues with booze and addiction. In a 2017 interview with CNN, he discussed how his decades of sobriety (he had been sober since 1994) influenced his comedic career.
"I was hellbent on being honest as a comedian from the get-go and I was," he said.
"But it wasn't until I admitted that I was a drunk and an alcoholic... And when I got clean and sober is when my comedy took off for me because then I was myself on stage."
Lewis spent 50 years performing stand-up comedy until retiring in 2018 at Chicago's Zanies. He was notorious for making his neuroses - and hardships - the centrepiece of his show.
"There's just a part of me that's always going to be never totally happy," he said in a 2020 interview with the Washington Post.
However, his emotions did not always mirror his reality. "I'm thrilled to be alive," he said at the time. "I'm grateful for who's in my life. I've got great friends, a great wife, a dog, and I have a great career."
Lewis' publicist stated that the comedian's wife, Joyce Lapinsky, thanks "everyone for all the love, friendship, and support and asks for privacy at this time."

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