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Richard Lewis Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Jun 29, 1947
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Standup comedians are famous for their neuroses, but Richard Lewis takes anxiety to a new level. On-stage, he energetically frets and overanalyses the most personal aspects of his life and wallows in his low self-esteem until the audience convulses with sympathetic laughter. He was born in Brooklyn, but raised in New Jersey. While attending Ohio State University as a marketing major, [[Performer~P162377~Lewis~lewis]] also studied communications. Upon graduation, he worked as the lead copywriter for an advertising agency. Four years into his career, he abandoned it to become a standup comedian, making his club debut in Greenwich Village in 1972. His first break came when he won a regular gig at [[Performer~P25099~Budd Friedman~buddfriedman]]'s the Improv comedy club and then debuted on The Tonight Show. [[Performer~P162377~Lewis~lewis]] became really well known in 1979 when he co-wrote and starred in Diary of a Young Comic, a show which gained him a cult following. Its success led him to become a television writer. In 1982, he made his first appearance on [[Performer~P42030~David Letterman~davidletterman]]'s late-night talk show and from there embarked upon a three-year cross-country tour. [[Performer~P162377~Lewis~lewis]] had great success with his first cable TV special, I'm in Pain, in 1986. His second special, [[Feature~V41258~The Richard Lewis I'm Exhausted Concert~richardlewis:imexhausted]], earned him a nomination for a Cable ACE award in 1988. Two years later his third special, [[Feature~V24340~I'm Doomed~ikiru]], was similarly nominated. He and [[Performer~P16288~Jamie Lee Curtis~jamieleecurtis]] starred in the popular ABC sitcom Anything but Love from 1989 to 1992. In the early '90s, he took a break from standup. He launched his film career in 1988 with [[Feature~V49300~That's Adequate~thatsadequate]] and continued to occasionally appear in supporting or character roles, notably in the independent film [[Feature~V135063~Drunks~drunks]] (1995) in which he won kudos for his dramatic portrayal of an alcoholic junkie. [[Performer~P162377~Lewis~lewis]] starred in a short-lived sitcom, Daddy Dearest (1993), and did not again try a television series until he and comic [[Performer~P52034~Kevin Nealon~kevinnealon]] co-starred in [[Feature~V151580~Hiller and Diller~andalittlechildshallleadthem]] in 1997. His 1995 standup routine "Magical Misery Tour" won considerable kudos and was the basis for a well-received 1996 cable special, shot live from the Bottom Line club in New York. Since 1987, [[Performer~P162377~Lewis~lewis]] was actively involved with HBO's annual Comic Relief benefits, large star-studded comedy shows in which all proceeds go toward helping the homeless. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi