Richard Belzer, ‘Law and Order: SVU’ Star and Comedian, Dies at 78
Richard Belzer, known by many for his role as John Munch on “Law and Order: SVU," died surrounded by family in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, in the south of France
Comedian and actor Richard Belzer has died. He was 78.
Belzer, known by many for his role as John Munch on “Law and Order: SVU," died surrounded by family in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, in the south of France, according to Bill Scheft, a longtime family friend.
“He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, ‘F*** you, motherf***er,'” Scheft told The Hollywood Reporter.
Belzer made his film debut in the 1974 comedy “The Groove Tube” and gained a cult following when he warmed up audiences in the early days of “Saturday Night Live.”
In 1993, Belzer starred in the critically acclaimed TV series “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” where he originated the character of Detective John Munch. He would play Munch on a total of 10 series, including in episodes of "The X-Files" and "The Wire," but most notably on "Law and Order: SVU."
Munch was a regular character on television in the U.S. longer than James Arness’ Marshal Matt Dillon on “Gunsmoke” and Kelsey Grammer’s Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers” and “Frasier,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Belzer portrayed Munch in a total of 326 episodes, according to IMDb.
"Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world," Belzer's former SVU co-star, Mariska Hargitay, wrote on Instagram.
The official Twitter account for “Law and Order” wrote, “Anyone who had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer portray Det. John Munch will never forget how much he inhabited that beloved character to make it his own. Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory.”
Billy Crystal eulogized the comedian on Twitter saying, “Richard Belzer was simply hilarious. A genius at handling a crowd. So sad he’s passed away.”
Comedian George Wallace also eulogized Belzer, saying, “1976 at Catch a Rising Star. I was called onto a stage for the first time. By Richard Belzer. Farewell. Love you forever.”
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