Richard Belzer, acclaimed comedian and long-time actor in NBC’s long running Law and Order franchise, has died at 78.
Richard Belzer, who began his career as a comedian and morphed into his iconic role of police detective John Munch first in Homicide: Life on the Street and then in Law & Order: SVU, among other TV dramas, died today. He was 78. There are no specifics at press time on the cause of his death.
“I’m so sad to hear of Richard Belzer’s passing,” tweeted original Saturday Night Live cast member Laraine Newman. “I loved this guy so much. He was one of my first friends when I got to New York to do SNL. We used to go out to dinner every week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster. One of the funniest people ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest.”
I'm so sad to hear of Richard Belzer's passing. I loved this guy so much. He was one of my first friends when I got to New York to do SNL. We used to go out to dinner every week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster. One of the funniest people ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest. pic.twitter.com/u23co0JPA2
— Laraine Newman (@larainenewman) February 19, 2023
Born August 4, 1944 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Richard Belzer began his career as a stand-up comedian in various clubs in New York City. He participated in the Channel One comedy group that satirized television and became the basis for the cult 1974 movie The Groove Tube, which he appeared in, and he was the audience warm-up comedian in the early seasons of Saturday Night Live. He made three appearances on the late night variety show.
His last appearance as John Munch was in a guest shot on Law & Order: SVU in 2016.
Richard Belzer was simply hilarious. A genius at handling a crowd. So sad he’s passed away.
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) February 19, 2023
Rest In Peace dear sweet kind Richard Belzer. Rest In Peace.
— Ellen Barkin (@EllenBarkin) February 19, 2023
Richard Belzer played Det. John Munch on 12 different TV shows on six different networks.
Munch was also referenced in Sesame Street, a Spider-Man/Deadpool comic, Paul Shaffer's album and an episode of Luther. pic.twitter.com/bNjladSQxi
— Christopher Moloney (@Moloknee) February 19, 2023
Aw goddamit, RIP Richard Belzer. I just always thought he’d be around ‘cause it seemed like he always was. A true original. #TheBelzBabe
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 19, 2023