Inside Richard Lewis’ final act of love to his wife — to keep her in their shared LA home

Six months before his death, Richard Lewis' ensured his wife was secured in their home.
Six months before his death, Richard Lewis ensured his wife would be secure in their home.

In a moving act just six months before his death, comedy legend Richard Lewis took a decisive step to ensure his wife, Joyce Lapinsky, could continue to call their Los Angeles abode her home — even in the face of financial uncertainty, The Post has learned.

Records obtained by The Post reveal that Lewis, who died of a heart attack at age 76 on Wednesday, switched his standard mortgage to an assignment of rents trust deed.

While a typical mortgage hinges on the property itself as collateral, the assignment of rents trust deed places emphasis on rental income generated by it.

Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky in 2018. Getty Images
Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky in 2018. Getty Images

Should the borrower default, the lender gains the authority to collect rental payments directly from tenants who move into the space, thereby alleviating any outstanding debt burden.

Lewis and Lapinsky, 72, acquired their three-bedroom, three-bathroom Los Angeles sanctuary in 2016 for $1.53 million, according to property records.

They secured a $2.02 million loan for renovations.

However, as of August 2023, financial documents indicate the property still carried a mortgage balance of $1 million.

Prior to Lewis’s maneuver, the loan was slated for repayment by 2046.

The couple purchased the three-bedroom, three-bathroom home back in 2016. Daniel Jordinelli
The couple purchased the three-bedroom, three-bathroom home back in 2016. Daniel Jordinelli

Yet, with the implementation of the trust deed, the timeline has been extended to 2053, affording his now widow more manageable monthly payments.

Nestled in the serene Lake Hollywood Estate of the Hollywood Hills, the couple’s midcentury-modern oasis boasts more than 2,200 square feet of living space.

Featuring Chinese mineral stained slate and bamboo flooring, the residence doesn’t shy from elegance and comfort.

Its walls open onto a flagstone entertaining patio, offering views of the iconic Hollywood sign.

The Hollywood Hills home occupies more than 2,200 square feet. Daniel Jordinelli
The Hollywood Hills home occupies more than 2,200 square feet. Daniel Jordinelli

Amenities include a pool.

Tributes have since poured in, celebrating Lewis’s wit both on stage in comedy clubs nationwide and as a scene-stealer on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Lewis’s relationship spanned more than three decades with Lapinsky.

Their serendipitous encounter at Ringo Starr’s album release party in 1998 marked the beginning of a remarkable journey.

Lapinsky, immersed in the music publishing world, wasted no time cutting to the chase, candidly laying out her background and intentions.

“Let’s nip this in the bud. I’m 42. I’m a Jew from Minnesota. So if that bugs you … And if children are a major thing,” she reportedly said.

The home’s pool is seen above. Daniel Jordinelli
The home’s pool is seen above. Daniel Jordinelli

Their paths had crossed earlier when a friend attempted to set them up on the set of his sitcom, “Anything But Love.”

However, Lapinsky’s initial response was a resolute, “No, he’s crazy. I’m not going out with him.”

At that time, Lewis candidly admitted his struggles with addiction, making a relationship seem improbable.

Richard Lewis and Larry David on an earlier episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” HBO
Richard Lewis and Larry David on an earlier episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” HBO

But fate had other plans.

By the time they encountered each other at Starr’s soirée, Lewis was on the path to sobriety, and the chemistry between them was undeniable.

Lewis, convinced he had found his soulmate, boldly declared to sportscaster Bob Costas, “I met the woman I’m going to marry.”

Their engagement in 2004 culminated in a joyous union the following year.

Richard Lewis is seen with Larry David in a scene from Season 12 on the still-buzzy show. AP
Richard Lewis is seen with Larry David in a scene from Season 12 on the still-buzzy show. AP

Though children weren’t part of their journey, Lewis found solace and happiness in what he referred to as a “neurotic” yet “deeply loving” relationship.

In April 2023, Lewis disclosed his battle with Parkinson’s disease, acknowledging the unwavering support of his wife and the solace he found in their bond.

“I’ve found peace and serenity. On stage, I still mine my bottomless pit of bad memories,” he said.

“In real life, I’m still crazy, but I’m far happier and more grateful than I’ve ever been. Marriage has a lot to do with that.”