Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky Were Together for 26 Years Prior to His Death

"I was able to commit to somebody finally. I met the right woman at the right time. There's a lot of compromise in any relationship."


Feb. 29 2024, Published 9:47 a.m. ET

Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky at an HBO Emmys afterparty on Sept. 17, 2018
Source: Getty Images

On Feb. 27, 2024, comedian Richard Lewis died at the age of 76. Many fans and fellow comedians began paying tribute to a man who many agreed was one of the nicest people in Hollywood. Although Richard had built a long career in Hollywood, many wanted to better understand more about who he was.

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Among the areas that many fans have focused on in the wake of his death was his relationship with his wife, Joyce Lapinsky. The two were together for 26 years, and we've compiled everything you might want to know about who she is and how the two of them ultimately came together.

Richard Lewis and Joyce Lapinsky at the premiere of 'Sandy Wexler' on April 6, 2017
Source: Getty Images
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Who was Richard Lewis's wife, Joyce Lapinsky?

Joyce was best known for her marriage to Richard, and the two first met in 1998 when they both attended an album release party for Ringo Starr. In an interview from 2010, Richard explained that it was Joyce who got down to business almost immediately.

"I guess she was Italian and 33. She said, 'Let's nip this in the bud. I'm 42. I’m a Jew from Minnesota. So if that bugs you... And if children are a major thing...' She was like reading my mind," he explained.

A friend had previously tried to set the two of them up while Richard was working on the sitcom Anything But Love, but Richard said at the time that he was too crazy. Richard admitted that he was struggling with addiction on the show, and said that their relationship wouldn't have worked out anyway. A few years later, though, Richard had been able to commit to sobriety and he was ready for a relationship.

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"I was able to commit to somebody finally," Richard said. "I met the right woman at the right time. There's a lot of compromise in any relationship. But it's easier to compromise at 60 than it is at 25."

The two of them dated for seven years, and Richard said that he eventually took Joyce to meet his therapist, explaining to his therapist that their communication problems were the reason they couldn't move forward in their relationship.

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Thankfully, his therapist managed to set him straight by yelling at him.

"In a voice that was almost satanic — it was so dark and loud that it seemed to echo through the neighborhood — my therapist screamed at me, 'This is as good as it gets!'" Lewis said. "It shook me to my core."

The two got engaged in 2004, tied the knot in 2005, and it seems like they were together right up until the end.

What was Richard Lewis's cause of death?

Although Richard struggled with addiction and was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years before his death, he reportedly died of a heart attack on the evening of Feb. 27. It isn't clear whether Richard was close to death before his heart attack, but he had announced following his Parkinson's diagnosis that he would no longer be able to perform in public.

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