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Richard Belzer, comedian-turned-iconic TV cop on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ dies at 78

Comedian and actor Richard Belzer, best known for his role as Detective John Munch in the “Law & Order” franchise, has died at the age of 78, longtime family friend Bill Sheft told CBS News on Sunday. confirmed to

Sheft said Belzer died surrounded by family in Beaulieu-sur-Mer in the south of France.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT — “Spring Awakening” Episode 1524 — Photo: (lr) Mariska Hargitay as Sgt. Olivia Benson, Richard Belzer as Special Agent John Munch —

Michael Parmelee / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

A stand-up comedian with a devoted following, Belzer got his acting start in the 1974 film The Groove Tube. He was also featured in an early episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’.

But Belzer’s most memorable role is that of Detective John Munch in Homicide: Life on the Streets from 1993 to 1999. Belzer continued his role in the “Law and Order” series, appearing in the show’s first episode in 1993. IMDb.

With sharp, dark suits and glasses, Belzer cut a striking yet relatable figure, making the often cynical but dedicated detective a television icon. Awarded Favorite Scene Stealing Star.

“I loved this guy so much,” comedian and original SNL cast member Laraine Newman wrote on Twitter. “She’s one of the funniest people ever.”

actor and comedian Henry Winkler The quote was tweeted by Newman to mourn Belzer. “Rest in Peace, Richard” Winkler I have written.

Belzer’s former SVU co-star, Mariska Hargitay, wrote on Instagram:

“How lucky the angels are to have you. I can already hear them laughing,” the actress added.

Wolf Entertainment, Dick Wolf’s production company that produced the entire “Law & Order” franchise, also released a statement from Wolf himself.

“Richard Belzer’s Detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters,” Wolfe wrote.

“Richard brought humor and joy to our lives. He was a consummate professional. We will miss him,” Wolff added.

Belzer’s other credits include the drama films ‘Santorini Blue’, ‘Scarface’ and the biopic ‘Man on the Moon’ about the late comedian Andy Kaufman.

Belzer is survived by his wife, actress Harley McBride, and stepdaughters Jessica and Brie.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/richard-belzer-law-order-special-victims-unit-actor-dies-at-78/ Richard Belzer, comedian-turned-iconic TV cop on ‘Law & Order: SVU’ dies at 78

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