Larry David pays tribute to childhood friend and co-star Richard Lewis

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Comedian Richard Lewis died at age 76 after suffering a heart attack, his publicist announced Wednesday. The comedian, most recently known for playing himself on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” was remembered by his friend and the show’s creator Larry David and other stars.

“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 shared on the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Instagram page. “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.” 

Lewis and David first met at 12 years old at summer camp. The pair played fictionalized versions of themselves on the long-running HBO comedy about David, who co-created “Seinfeld.”

Curb Your Enthusiasm FYC Panel
Larry David and Richard Lewis attend the Curb Your Enthusiasm FYC Panel at DGA Theater Complex on April 10, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Charley Gallay/FilmMagic for HBO


Other “Curb” stars also remembered Lewis, who had a decadeslong standup career and dozens of film and TV roles.

“He would take time to tell the people he loved what they meant to him,” Cheryl Hines, who plays David’s ex-wife on the show, wrote on X. “In between takes on Curb, he would tell me how special I was to him and how much he loved me. To be loved by Richard Lewis. A true gift. I love you Richard. You will be missed.”

In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, Susie Essman, who played Susie Green, the wife of David’s best friend and manager on the show, called Lewis an “original brilliant voice that cannot be replaced.”

“I was lucky to call him a friend. He made me laugh and he was one of the most supportive and kindest people I’ve ever known,” she said. 

Other stars also remembered working with Lewis, including Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred with him on the sitcom “Anything But Love.” The pair played a couple on the show. “He got the part when I snort laughed when he mispronounced the word Bundt cake,” she wrote on Instagram. 

She remembered Lewis’ trick of hiding scripts around the set to remember his lines. “It turns out he was a wonderful actor. Deep and so freaking funny.”

“He found love with Joyce and that, of course, besides his sobriety, is what mattered most to him. I’m weeping as I write this,” she said, mentioning Lewis’ wife, Joyce Lapinsky. “Strange way of saying thank you to a sweet and funny man. Rest in laughter, Richard.”

Ben Stiller wrote in on social media: “I never met a kinder, more empathetic comedy genius. He was so funny. And deep. As a stand-up he was really iconic in the ’70s. Cool, funny, self deprecating and hip. He was a friend to my parents and the whole Stiller family.”

Director Paul Feig said Lewis was his “hero.” “Absolutely devastated by this news. Richard was my hero when I was a stand-up. I was lucky enough to get to know him and he was the most wonderful man. So supportive and kind and truly one of the funniest people on the planet,” he wrote on social media.

Cary Elwes, who starred alongside Lewis in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” said he and Lewis were recently making plans to get together. “Besides your remarkable talent there was no one sweeter or more generous than you, my friend. I miss you already & forever. Rest in Power, Richard. Our sincere condolences to Joyce, his family & fans,” he wrote on social media.

A statement about Lewis was posted by HBO as well. “We are heartbroken to learn that Richard Lewis has passed away. His comedic brilliance, wit and talent were unmatched,” the social media post reads. “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.”

Lewis revealed last year that he had Parkinson’s disease and was retiring from standup, he said in a video posted on social media. Despite his illness, he continued to film scenes for the final season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” In a recent episode, he and David argue about what Lewis will leave him in his will. David insists he doesn’t need the money.

“When I die I want you to know how much I care about you,” Lewis tells him on the show. “You’re my best friend, you’re getting it.”

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