Comedian and actor Richard Lewis dies

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(NEXSTAR) – Richard Lewis, a comedian and actor who played an exaggerated version of himself in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” has died. He was 76 years old.

Lewis died in his Los Angeles home after suffering a heart attack, his publicist Jeff Abraham said.

The comedian was known for wearing all black while exploring his neuroses in frantic, stream-of-consciousness diatribes, leading to his nickname “The Prince of Pain.”

The actor revealed last year that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “Luckily, I got it late in life, and they say you progress very slowly if at all, and I’m on the right meds, so I’m cool,” he said at the time. “I’m finished with stand-up. I’m just focusing on writing and acting.”

  • FILE: Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky attend the premiere of HBO’s ‘If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast’ on May 17, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
    FILE: Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky attend the premiere of HBO’s ‘If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast’ on May 17, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
  • FILE – “Jimmy Kimmel Live” guests for Friday, September 8 included Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”), Richard Lewis (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and musical guest Jack Johnson. (Randy Holmes via Getty Images)) RICHARD LEWIS, JIMMY KIMMEL
    FILE – “Jimmy Kimmel Live” guests for Friday, September 8 included Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”), Richard Lewis (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and musical guest Jack Johnson. (Randy Holmes via Getty Images)) RICHARD LEWIS, JIMMY KIMMEL
  • FILE – Comedian Richard Lewis attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on February 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
    FILE – Comedian Richard Lewis attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on February 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
  • FILE – Comedian Richard Lewis attends an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Dec. 25, 2012. Lewis is retiring from stand-up following four surgeries and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The 75-year-old “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star who is known for wearing all-black and exploring his neuroses onstage posted a video Monday to Twitter explaining his various health issues. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo, File)

A regular performer in clubs and on late-night TV for decades, Lewis also played Marty Gold, the romantic co-lead opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, in the ABC series “Anything But Love” and the reliably neurotic Prince John in “Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights.” He re-introduced himself to a new generation opposite Larry David in HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” kvetching regularly.

“I’m paranoid about everything in my life. Even at home. On my stationary bike, I have a rear-view mirror, which I’m not thrilled about,” he once joked onstage. To Jimmy Kimmel he said: “This morning, I tried to go to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I counted sheep but I only had six of them and they all had hip replacements.”

Comedy Central named Lewis one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time and he earned a berth in GQ magazine’s list of the “20th Century’s Most Influential Humorists.” He lent his humor for charity causes, including Comic Relief and Comedy Gives Back.

“Watching his stand-up is like sitting in on a very funny and often dark therapy session,” the Los Angeles Times said in 2014. The Philadelphia’s City Paper called him “the Jimi Hendrix of monologists.” Mel Brooks once said he “may just be the Franz Kafka of modern-day comedy.”

Lewis’s recurring role on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” can be credited directly to his friendship with fellow comedian, producer and series star Larry David. Both native Brooklynites — born in the same Brooklyn hospital — they first met and became friends as rivals while attending the same summer camp at age 13. He was cast from the beginning, bickering with David on unpaid bills and common courtesies.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Lapinsky.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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