The beloved comedian and veteran actor died on Sunday at the age of 78.
Mariska Hargitay is paying tribute to her late Law & Order: Special Victims Unit co-star Richard Belzer. The beloved comedian and veteran actor died on Sunday, February 19, at the age of 78. Belzer was best known for his role as Detective John Munch on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. "Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world," the 59-year-old actress who plays the unstoppable Olivia Benson on the show wrote on Instagram. "I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years," she added.
She concluded with a sweet note saying, "How lucky the angels are to have you. I love you so very much, now and forever." Co-star Christopher Meloni also tweeted a photo of Hargitay feeding Belzer on the set of Law & Order: SUV. "Good bye mon ami. I love you. #TheBelz," Meloni wrote on Twitter in a heartfelt message along with a photo of the Elliot Stabler actor kissing Belzer on the cheek.
The actor appeared in nearly 330 episodes of SVU between 1999 and 2013. He first played the role on NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street in 1993 and reprising the character in the Law & Order parent shows. He also had cameos in 2014 and 2016, according to PEOPLE.
Richard Belzer appeared as Det. Munch on Homicide, Law & Order, SVU, Trial By Jury, The Wire, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Beat, Arrested Development and The X-Files among others and was the first actor to play the same character on 10 different live-action shows.— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) February 19, 2023
NBC and Universal Television said in a statement, "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." They praised his "professionalism, talents and dedication to the craft" which made him a "pillar in the industry, but it was his humor, compassion and loving heart that made him family." They added, "Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comic died early Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. Writer Bill Scheft, a longtime friend of the actor, told the outlet, “He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, ‘F*ck you, motherf*cker',” Scheft said. The official cause of death has not yet been revealed.
I am crushed to hear of my friend Richard Belzer departing. Smartest and funniest man in the room. Tough as nails when he had to be,but as kind a man as one could imagine. Heaven just got cooler and funnier. Love you Belz pic.twitter.com/8HeFYKKBTw— TitusWelliver (@welliver_titus) February 20, 2023
In a 2008 interview with The Comic's Comic, the late actor who was also an author said of his famous TV role that it was "flattering to me to see me depicted in a script and that I’m so recognizable and lovable as the sarcastic detective and smart-ass. Much to my delight, because he is a great character for me to play, it’s fun for me. So I’m not upset about being typecast at all.”
The last appearance of our dear Richard Belzer. We will miss you 💔 pic.twitter.com/4k2NkYnWGN— Law & Order SVU (@NBCSVU_fans) February 19, 2023
Cover Image Source: Getty Images (L) Photo by Vince Bucci (R) Photo by Andrew H. Walker