Richard Belzer comedian and Law Order SVU actor dies

Richard Belzer, comedian and Law & Order: SVU actor, dies aged 78

1 of 1 Photo taken on December 11, 2012 shows American actor and comedian Richard Belzer during the premiere of the film ‘Django Unchained’ in New York. — Photo: Andrew Kelly/Portal/Archive Photo taken on December 11, 2012 shows the American actor and comedian Richard Belzer during the premiere of the film “Django Unchained” in New York — Photo: Andrew Kelly/Portal/Archive

American comedian and actor Richard Belzer, known for his standup performances and for his role as Detective John Munch in the series “Law & Order: SVU”, died this Sunday at the age of 78 (19). He was, according to The Hollywood Reporter, at his home in Bozouls, southern France, Bill Scheft, a friend of the comedian.

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Belzer first played the quickwitted and witty Detective Munch in a 1993 episode of the series Homicide (originally Homicide: Life on the Street). He reprized the same role in several other productions over two decades.

In the most famous of them, “Law & Order: SVU”, he made his last appearance in 2016. Munch, known for his attachment to conspiracy theories, has also appeared on ’30 Rock’ and ‘Arrested Development.’

Belzer never auditioned for the role. He was invited by executive producer Barry Levinson after appearing on The Howard Stern Show.

“I would never become a detective. But if it were me, it would be,” Belzer once said.

In 2008, Belzer copublished the novel I am not a cop! with Michael Ian Black. He also helped write several books on conspiracy theories on subjects such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Belzer’s career

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Belzer said he had an attraction to comedy as a child, which he said was abusive because he was beaten by his mother. “My kitchen was the most difficult space I’ve ever worked in,” he told People magazine in 1993.

After being expelled from Dean Junior College in Massachusetts, Belzer began performing standup in 1972 in New York. It was around this time that he became a regular attraction at the Catch a Rising Star club.

He made his cinematic debut in Ken Shapiro’s The Groove Tube (1974). The production, which spawned from the humorous group Channel One, of which Belzer was a member, was a satire of the television universe, starring Chevy in Chase.

Early in his career, Belzer also appeared with John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray, some of the leading names in American comedy of the time.

In 1975 he began starring in the then newly released Saturday Night Live. While many performers rose to fame quickly, Belzer mostly made minor cameos.