Actor and comedian Richard Belzer passed away on Feb. 19 at age 78. Belzer passed away at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. Writer Bill Scheft, a longtime friend of the actor, told The Hollywood Reporter, “He had lots of health issues … and his last words were, ‘F–k you, motherf–ker.’”
Belzer was perhaps best known for playing detective John Munch on NBC shows ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’ NBC and Universal Television issued a statement about Belzer’s death which read. “Anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer portray Det. John Munch—whether on Homicide or Law & Order: SVU—over four decades will never forget how much he inhabited that beloved character to make it his own. His professionalism, talents and dedication to the craft made him a pillar in the industry, but it was his humor, compassion and loving heart that made him family. Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory.”
Belzer began his entertainment career as a stand-up comedian in New York City; he was the warm-up comic on the first season of Saturday Night Live and also made appearances in SNL sketches. He also starred in other TV shows such as The Flash, as well as films such as Night Shift and Scarface, before making his debut as Munch on ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ in 1993. Belzer played the role for all seven seasons of the series, as well as in its 2000 TV film, 15 seasons of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ and episodes of eight other shows—episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, The X-Files, The Wire, UPN’s The Beat, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Arrested Development.
Belzer is survived by his third wife, actress Harlee McBride, and stepdaughters Jessica and Bree.
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