Celebrity News

Stand up comedian and actor Richard Belzer dies aged 78

You won't believe what his last words were...
Loading the player...

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU) star Richard Belzer has died at the age of 78 at his home in Bozouls, France.

The news was confirmed by his long time friend Bill Scheft to the Hollywood Reporter.

The comedian Laraine Newman then announced the death on Twitter with actor (and Richard’s cousin) Henry Winkler writing ”rest in peace Richard.”

The award-winning actor was best known for his portrayal of BPD Detective, NYPD Detective/Sergeant, and DA Investigator John Munch, whom he portrayed for an impressive 23 years from 1993 until his retirement in 2016.

Richard retired from acting in 2016.

(IMAGE: Getty)

Believe it or not, Richard actually never auditioned for the iconic role.

After hearing him on The Howard Stern Show, the producer Barry Levinson brought Belzer in to read for the part.

“I would never be a detective,” Belzer once said. “But if I were, that’s how I’d be.

“They write to all my paranoia and anti-establishment dissidence and conspiracy theories. So it’s been a lot of fun for me. A dream, really.”

Richard was known for his iconic shades.

(IMAGE: Getty)

As well as playing the character on Law & Order: SVU, Richard also made regular appearances in the role on NBC police drama series Homicide: Life on the Street as well as several others.

In fact, the character is the only fictional character to appear on eleven different television shows.

Even more impressive is the fact that these shows aired across six different networks and were as far ranging as The X Files, 30 Rock, The Wire and Arrested Development.

Speaking on what made the character of John Munch so beloved, Richard told The Comic’s Comic in 2008 that he actually never asked to be written into any additional shows.

”It’s doubly flattering to me to see myself depicted in scripts and that I’m so recognisable and loveable 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 typecast at all.”

Richard with the original cast of Law and Order: SVU.

(IMAGE: Getty)

Apart from his time on crime and cop dramas, Richard was also known as an edgy comedian, embarking on a life of stand-up comedy way back in 1972, and was even one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live when it launched in 1975.

He also authored a number of books on conspiracy theories on topics such as JFKs assassination, the Malaysian airlines flight 370, and if Elvis is actually still alive.

Whilst an official cause of death has not yet been confirmed, it is understood that he died of complications of circulatory and respiratory conditions.

Accordion to his friend Bill, who is believed to have been by his side until his passing, Richard’s last words were ”Fk you, motherfker.”

Related stories