'Like a brother to me': Larry David leads tributes to Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Richard Lewis

'Like a brother to me': Larry David leads tributes to Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Richard Lewis
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Larry David has paid a moving tribute to his Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Richard Lewis following his death aged 76.

The US comedian and actor died “peacefully” at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening after suffering a heart attack, his publicist Jeff Abraham told the PA news agency. Lewis announced he had been living with Parkinson’s disease last year.

His wife Joyce Lapinsky also sent a message of thanks for “all the love, friendship and support” during this time.

Lewis rose to fame in the 1980s and became well-known for his self-deprecating humour, later starring alongside David in Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO, where he played a semi-fictionalised version of himself.

“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 given to PA.

“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.”

A spokesperson from HBO also described Lewis’ “comedic brilliance, wit and talent” as unmatched.

For decades, Lewis was a regular performer in clubs and on late-night TV and played the reliably neurotic Prince John in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights.

He re-introduced himself to a new generation opposite David in Curb Your Enthusiasm which first premiered in 1999, alongside TV star Cheryl Hines – who played David’s wife.

“When I was young I had the biggest crush on Richard Lewis,” Hines said in an Instagram post.

“Then, when I was cast on Curb Your Enthusiasm, I got to work with him, and it was a dream come true.

“Through the years I learned who Richard really was and the gifts he gave. Yes, he was the comedian I fell in love with, but he was also one of the most loving people I know.

“He would take time to tell the people he loved what they meant to him – especially in recent years.

“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.”

Lewis, known for poking fun at his own neuroses and hypochondria during his comedy routines, was later nicknamed The Prince of Pain.

He is currently co-starring in the final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO.

Among those paying tribute was Oscar-winner Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred opposite Lewis in the US sitcom Anything But Love, which aired from 1989 until 1992.

“I remember exactly where I was when I saw a billboard of him about a stand-up special on Sunset Boulevard when we were casting the ABC pilot Anything But Love and asked the casting people to bring him in to audition to play my best friend/maybe boyfriend, Marty Gold.

“I thought he was handsome. He made me laugh, which is the one thing that a strong, capable woman can’t really do for herself.”

Curtis described Lewis as a “sweet and funny man” who was the reason she became sober.

“He helped me. I am forever grateful for him for that act of grace alone,” the actress added.

After getting sober from drugs and alcohol in 1994, Lewis published his memoir The Other Great Depression in 2008.

Other stars paying tribute included comedian Jon Stewart, who made reference to the pair looking similar to one another, and Beatles singer Sir Ringo Starr, who sent peace and love to his wife.

While US actor Ben Stiller described him as a “true comedy great”.

“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.

“…I feel very lucky to have known him over all these years. I’m sad I won’t see him again.”

After graduating from Ohio State University, New York-born Lewis began a stand-up career, honing his craft on the circuit with stars including Jay Leno, Freddie Prinze and Billy Crystal.