The American actor Richard Belzer, famous for his role as detective John Munch in the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has died at the age of 78 at his home in Bozouls, in the south of France, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The news has been given by his friend Bill Scheft exclusively for the magazine, and he explains that, continuing with his usual humor, his last words before passing away have been: “Fuck you motherfucker”.
Belzer made his debut in the comedy film The Groove Tube in 1974, but his television career was consolidated thanks to his character Detective John Munch, based on a Baltimore agent who existed in real life. Law & Order creator Dick Wolf went so far as to say that Munch “He is one of the most iconic characters on television”.
Wolf first worked with Belzer on the Law & Order/Homicide crossover, and was so impressed with the character that he asked to make him one of the leads in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. With that same role, Belzer appeared in series like The Wire, 30 Rock or The X-Files. In addition, his career did not stop there: he also participated in Saturday Night Live and wrote several books, one of the most popular How to be a stand-up comic (1998).
How the actors have reacted to the death of Richard Belzer
Several actors and actresses have mourned the death of Belzer on social networks, such as Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. The latter played the character of Olivia Benson in Law & Order, and wanted to say goodbye to him through Instagram: “Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you. Your light and your vision were singular in this strange world. I feel blessed to have known and adored and worked with you, side by side, for so many years. How lucky are the angels to have you. I can already hear them laugh. I love you so much, now and always”.
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Laraine Newman, who was a member of the cast of Saturday Night Live and one of the people closest to the actor, has also posted a message on her Twitter account to say goodbye to Belzer: “I loved this boy so much. He was one of my first friends when I came to New York to do SNL. We used to go out to dinner every week. One of the funniest people ever”.
On a personal level, Richard Belzer already dealt with testicular cancer in the 1980s, which inspired his comedy Another Lone Nut. In that same genre, he joked about an alleged episode in which Hulk Hogan choked him on his show, causing him to lose consciousness and fall, hitting his head on the stage. Belzer filed a lawsuit against Hogan, although they eventually settled out of court.