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Richard Lewis saluted by 'Curb' co-stars, said he was 'quite well' weeks before death

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES — Comedian Richard Lewis, who died Tuesday from a heart attack, said that he was "doing quite well" a few weeks before his death, despite being absent from the Season 12 premiere of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

The so-called Prince of Pain, who played an exaggerated version of himself alongside real-life friend Larry David in the HBO series, told People on Feb. 9 that he skipped the Jan. 30 premiere because he wasn't feeling up to it.

"I have some occasional walking difficulties with Parkinson's the last couple of years," the 76-year-old told the magazine. "It's not major. I'm getting through it fine so far."

Lewis added that he didn't want to "spend five or six hours mingling with so many people," because "it's just asking for trouble."

The "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" and "Anything But Love" star revealed in April 2023 that he had been diagnosed with the degenerative brain disorder and would be retiring from stand-up comedy after 50 years, as well as countless self-deprecating jokes detailing his neuroses. However, the talk-show regular said he still planned to write and act.

The actor already appeared in the third episode of "Curb's" final season, notably bickering with David over his objection to Lewis making him the benefactor in his will. HBO also confirmed that Lewis will appear in three more episodes.

 

"We have this profound affection for one another and respect for our craft," Lewis told The Times ahead of the premiere. "And we've always been there for one another. Some of my idiosyncratic things in my behavior that he picks up on — and he has ever since we were adolescents — he really has remembered most of the juicy ones and has put them into the show."

"Because we're such old friends, I can say anything I want to him and vice versa," David said. "So there's a certain freedom that comes with that. ... Anything I say to him on the show, I would say to him in life. I think I treat him worse in life."

Upon word of his death, Lewis' friends and fans paid tribute to the iconic funnyman.

In a statement to the Associated Press, David described his co-star and longtime friend as a brother: "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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