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Actor Richard Lewis announces that he has Parkinson’s

By Sarah May
|
April 25, 2023

Sad news emerged from the world of entertainment over the weekend when comedian Richard Lewis announced for the first time that he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease roughly two years ago, as the Daily Wire reports.

Lewis, 75, informed fans of his situation in a video posted to Twitter, doing so in response to growing questions about his whereabouts and about whether he had any future plans to tour.

A “Rocky Time”

Taking to social media to provide an update for followers, the celebrated actor and comedian began, “Hey, it's Richard Lewis, how you doing?” as Fox News noted.

Lewis continued, noting that he had just completed filming the finale of the 12th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which he characterized as “amazing” and something of which he was “grateful” to be a part.

Then, he began the process of informing fans of his health concerns by saying, “But you know, the last three and a half years I've had sort of a rocky time.”

“And people have said, 'Gee, I haven't heard from you, and are you still touring?' Lewis added. “And here's really what happened.”

“S**t Hit the Fan”

The beloved jokester went on to recount that roughly three and a half years ago, while in the midst of a comedy tour, he realized that he was at “the top of [his] game” and decided that “[a]fter almost 50 years, I'm just gonna call it quits.”

Not long after, Lewis said, was when “s**t hit the fan,” and he was forced to undergo four different operations, namely, surgery on his back, two procedures for his shoulder, and then a hip replacement.

“I had four surgeries back to back to back to back, it was incredible, I couldn't believe it, it was bad luck, but that's life,” Lewis mused.

After spending a great deal of time in physical therapy as part of his surgical recovery processes, he noticed that he had “started walking a little stiffly” and shuffling his feet, and a brain scan revealed that he had Parkinson's disease.

“Everything is Cool”

In what could only be described as an encouragingly positive take on the situation, Lewis added of his condition, “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.”

Continuing in that refreshingly sunny vein, Lewis assured fans by declaring, “I have Parkinson's disease, but I'm under a doctor's care, and everything is cool, and I love my wife, I love my little puppy dog, and I love all my friends and my fans, and now you know where it's been at the last three and a half years.”

Lewis concluded his update by saying, simply, “God bless you.” WATCH:

Prolific Career

In addition to his renowned stand-up comedy performances and his fictionalized portrayal of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lewis gained a wide following for productions such as the sitcom Anything but Love, as well as his role in the 1993 film Robinhood: Men in Tights.

Though Lewis confirmed in his video message that his stand-up days are now over, he indicated that he would remain focused on writing and acting, as Fox News noted, and despite earlier rumors that the 12th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm would be the last, Variety now reports that the series is in fact expected to continue for as long as its driving force, Larry David, wants it to.

Lewis has built his decades-long career by having taken, as a biography on his website explains, “his lifelong therapy fodder and carved it into a compelling art form,” work that prompted Mel Brooks to say he “may just be the Franz Kafka of modern-day comedy.”

Also honored by Comedy Central as one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time along with GQ's list of the “20th Century's Most Influential Humorists,” Lewis' presence on the live stage will certainly be missed, but given his pledge to continue working in whatever formats his condition will permit, it seems clear there is much to which his legions of fans can continue to look forward.