Curb Your Enthusiasm and Robin Hood: Men In Tights star dies

By John Mercury February 29, 2024

Richard Lewis, who played a version of himself in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Prince John in Robin Hood: Men In Tights, has died.

The comedian, who was known for exploring his neuroses in frantic, stream-of-consciousness diatribes while dressed in all-black – prompting his nickname The Prince Of Pain – was 76.

He died at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack, his publicist Jeff Abraham said.

He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2023.

Richard Lewis and Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Pic: HBO/Sky Comedy/Kobal/Shutterstock
Image:
Richard Lewis and Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Pic: HBO/Sky Comedy/Kobal/Shutterstock


New York-born Lewis began his stand-up career after graduating from The Ohio State University in 1969.

He was named one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time by Comedy Central and was celebrated in GQ magazine’s list of the “20th Century’s Most Influential Humourists”.

Lewis told GQ his signature look came from watching the TV Western show Have Gun – Will Travel, with a cowboy in all-black, when he was a child.

He also popularised the term “from hell” – as in “the job from hell” or “the date from hell”.

“That just came out of my brain one day and I kept repeating it a lot for some reason,” he said. “Same thing with the black clothes. I just felt really comfortable from the early ’80s on and I never wore anything else. I never looked back.”

Lewis also lent his humour to charity causes, including Comic Relief and Comedy Gives Back.

Richard Lewis was known for exploring his neuroses while dressed in black. Pic: mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX/AP
Image:
Richard Lewis was known for exploring his neuroses while dressed in black. Pic: mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX/AP

After he got sober from drugs and alcohol in 1994, Lewis published his 2008 memoir The Other Great Depression, which featured a collection of fearless, essay-style riffs on his life.

His role in Curb Your Enthusiasm came from his friendship with fellow comedian, producer and series star Larry David.

Both native Brooklynites – who were born in the same Brooklyn hospital – they met and became friends as rivals while attending the same summer camp aged 13.

Lewis was cast from the beginning and bickered with David about unpaid bills and common courtesies.

He also starred as the romantic co-lead opposite Jamie Lee Curtis in the series Anything But Love and the neurotic Prince John in Robin Hood: Men In Tights.

Paying tribute in a style appropriate to the comedy they starred in together, Larry David said in a statement released to Sky News’s US partner NBC News: “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.”

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