- Richard Lewis was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease
- The actor/comedian disclosed the diagnosis in 2023 after undergoing four back surgeries
- The ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ star said he was ‘lucky’ to get the diagnosis ‘later in life’
Richard Lewis has been a stand-up comedy legend since the 1980s when he first showcased his self-deprecating and neurotic stage personality in the New York City clubs. The Bronx native, born in 1947, would parlay his fame into starring on the sitcom Anything But Love from 1989 to 1992 alongside Oscar-winner Jamie Lee Curtis. More TV shows and movies followed for the actor, including a bit of a Hollywood renaissance when he landed on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Sadly, in April 2023, Richard took to his Twitter to reveal he would be making some big life adjustments, like quitting stand-up, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “I’m finished with stand-up. I’m just focusing on writing and acting. I have Parkinson’s disease but I’m under a doctor’s care and everything is cool,” he said in part. Here’s everything to know about Richard’s health struggles, how he’s doing today, and more.
Richard Lewis Diagnosed With Parkinson’s Disease
In the Twitter video, Richard said that amid four surgeries for his back, shoulder and hip in recent years, he was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago. “The last 3 1/2 years, I’ve had sort of a rocky time and people said, ‘I haven’t heard from you, are you still touring?’” he said in the clip below. “Here’s really what happened,” he continued. “Three and half years ago I was in the middle of a tour and I finally ended it with a show. I said, ‘You know I’m at the top of my game, after 15 years almost I’m going to call it quits,’ and I felt great about that and then out of the blue the s— hit the fan. 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.”
“I just wanted to let you know that’s where it’s been at,” he concluded. “I’m finished with stand-up. I’m just focusing on writing and acting. I have Parkinson’s disease but I’m under a doctor’s care and everything is cool. 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. God bless you.”
What Is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that causes “unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination,” according to the National Institute of Health. As the disease progresses, those suffering may have difficulty walking and talking and are susceptible to” mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.”
The Michael J Fox Foundation website describes the disease as occurring “when brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical that coordinates movement, stop working or die.” Estimates suggest that Parkinson’s affects nearly 1 million people in the United States and more than 6 million people worldwide. Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, medicines, surgical treatment, and other therapies can often relieve some symptoms.
How Long Has Richard Lewis Been Sick?
Although the talented funnyman first announced the health battle in April 2023, he revealed he had been battling it for a few years. He said his Parkinson’s diagnosis came after he “went to a neurologist and they gave me a brain scan” because he noticed some questionable movements in his feet. “That was about two years ago.”
How Is Richard Lewis Doing Today?
In the April video, Richard appeared confident about living his best life with the diagnosis, as it came towards the end of his career. “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 explained. HollywoodLife will keep you posted on any updates on Richard’s condition!