Jewish comedian and Curb star Richard Lewis dies at 76

The longtime collaborator of Larry David was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 2021


HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 06: Actor/comedian Richard Lewis and Larry David attend the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Mel Brooks after party at Dolby Theatre on June 6, 2013 in Hollywood, California. Special Broadcast will air Saturday, June 15 at 9:00 P.M. ET/PT on TNT and Wednesday, July 24 on TCM as part of an All-Night Tribute to Brooks. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI)

Comedian and actor Richard Lewis has died at the age of 76. 

Lewis, a frequent star of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, had spoken of his declining health in recent years and despite appearing on every season of Curb, only made sporadic appearances in the show in his latter years. 

Lewis was born in 1947, three days apart from Larry David, in Brooklyn Jewish Hospital and raised in Englewood New Jersey.

David paid tribute to his friend and colleague, saying: “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. 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."

He described his upbringing as Jewish, but not overly religious. 

His comedy frequently discussed his faith and in an interview with the Jewish United Fund, he said: “We weren't [too] religious but I was always proud to be a Jew and what Jews had to fight for from the get-go. I take great pride in keeping my Judaism alive and well-respected.”

He added that his Judaism was: “Something that I wear as a cloak and with the utmost respect for all those in my faith.”

In an interview with the Jewish Telegraph, he paid tribute to his father William, who he described as the "god of kosher catering" in New York and New Jersey.

He recalled: "My father was so well known as a caterer and so booked up that he was actually booked on the weekend of my bar mitzvah so I had to have my party on the Tuesday.

"I had about 30 friends at the bar mitzvah party and it was one of the great bar mitzvahs of all time.”

In an interview with the Jewish Journal, Lewis said: “I’m so Jewish. I’m Jewish from my toes to the remaining hairs on the back of my head. I’m not a deeply religious person, but I am spiritual. I feel Jewish when I wake up. I feel Jewish when I go to bed. I’m not an atheist. I love the story. I’m proud to be a Jew. I don’t feel I do enough as a practicing Jew, but as Mel Brooks once said, and this is his line, ‘I don’t practice, I’m very good at it.’ I reek of Judaism. And I feel blessed about it.”

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