Richard Belzer, stand-up comedian and beloved television star died on Sunday at his home in Bozouls, France, at age 78.
Richard Belzer was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and had a difficult childhood with physical abuse from his mother. He was expelled from Dean Junior College in Massachusetts before pursuing a career in stand-up comedy in New York City at Catch A Rising Star. After making appearances on The Howard Stern Show, Saturday Night Live, and The National Lampoon Radio Hour, Belzer made his big-screen debut in the 1974 film The Groove Tube.
In 1993, executive producer Barry Levinson brought Belzer in to read for the role of John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street and SVU. His portrayal of the wise-cracking acerbic detective became one of television’s longest-running characters. Belzer also helped write several books on conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. He also published a novel titled I Am Not a Cop! with Michael Ian Black in 2008.
Belzer had an uncanny ability to bring to life the character of John Munch. He quickly became a fan favorite with his quick wit and undeniable charm. Even when Munch’s problems threatened to derail him, fans stayed behind Belzer and Munch’s story arc as he continued to solve crimes in Baltimore and later New York City.
Belzer was also an avid filmmaker, directing two films in the 1990s- Mad Dog Time (1996) and Trial by Jury (1994). Alongside his role on SVU, he appeared in several other television shows such as The X-Files, Arrested Development, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Richard Belzer will always be remembered as the sharp-witted detective John Munch. He was an actor who truly brought his characters to life, and he will be missed dearly by fans of all ages. His passion for comedy and activism also made him a unique figure in the entertainment industry.
Belzer left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten as an acclaimed stand-up comic and a beloved television star. The comedy world has lost one of its brightest stars, and his absence will be felt throughout the industry forever.