‘Law & Order: SVU’ actor Richard Belzer dead at age 78

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Actor Richard Belzer, finest recognized for his position on the beloved crime procedural “Legislation & Order: Particular Victims Unit,” died on the age of 78 on Sunday, NBC confirmed in an announcement Sunday.

Belzer began out as a standup comic who ultimately discovered his dwelling on the silver display, starring in a number of tv sequence over time.

Common Tv and NBC issued a joint assertion Sunday issuing condolences upon information of Belzer’s demise.

“Anybody who ever had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer painting Det. John Munch — whether or not on ‘Murder’ or ‘Legislation & Order: SVU’ – over 4 many years will always remember how a lot he inhabited that beloved character to make it his personal,” the assertion mentioned.

“His professionalism, abilities and dedication to the craft made him a pillar within the business, however it was his humor, compassion and loving coronary heart that made him household.”

Representatives for Belzer didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark from NBC Information.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Belzer turned a warm-up comic for “Saturday Evening Reside” in 1975 earlier than ultimately visitor starring in a number of episodes, according to his IMDB biography.

He made a sequence of appearances on numerous movies and tv reveals from then on, ultimately touchdown 10 episodes on the 1990 sequence “The Flash,” his longest tv gig at that time.

However then in 1993, Belzer landed a daily position on “Murder: Life on the Road,” a serial drama concerning the murder division in Baltimore. It was the primary time he’d seem as John Munch , a detective that might quickly change into synonymous with Belzer.

He appeared as John Munch in different reveals, resembling “The X-Recordsdata” and “The Wire,” however it was his position on NBC’s “Legislation & Order: Particular Victims Unit” that made the actor a family staple for generations.

Munch’s obsession with conspiracy theories and dry humor made him a fan-favorite.

Belzer was on greater than 300 episodes of the present and left in Season 15, along with his character retiring from the New York Police Division. His final look was in 2016, making a quick return to help then-lieutenant Olivia Benson with a case.

Mariska Hargitay, who portrays Benson, mentioned on her Instagram Sunday that she liked Belzer, “now and endlessly.”

“Goodbye my expensive, expensive buddy. I’ll miss you, your distinctive gentle, and your singular tackle this unusual world,” she mentioned. “I really feel blessed to have recognized you and adored you and labored with you, aspect by aspect, for therefore a few years. How fortunate the angels are to have you ever. I can hear them laughing already.”

Dick Wolf, the creator behind the “Legislation & Order” franchise, known as Detective John Munch “one in every of tv’s iconic characters” in an announcement posted to Wolf Leisure’s Instagram web page.

“I informed Tom (Fontana) that I needed to make him one of many unique characters on ‘SVU.’ The remaining is historical past,” Wolf mentioned. “Richard introduced humor and pleasure into all our lives, was the consummate skilled, and we are going to all miss him very a lot.”

Along with his comedy and performing, Belzer was a printed creator. He penned two books on his personal with Simon & Schuster, “I Am Not A Cop!” and “UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Do not Need to Be Loopy to Consider.” He additionally co-authored “How you can Be a Stand-Up Comedian,” according to his author page.

Laraine Newman, an unique forged member of “Saturday Evening Reside,” tweeted a tribute to Belzer, recounting discovered recollections of their early friendship.

“I liked this man a lot. He was one in every of my first pals after I bought to New York to do SNL,” Newman mentioned. “We used to exit to dinner each week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster. One of many funniest individuals ever.”

Invoice Crystal additionally tweeted about Belzer, calling him “merely hilarious.”

“A genius at dealing with a crowd. So unhappy he’s handed away,” Crystal wrote.

Comic Marc Maron known as Belzer an unique,

“One of many greats, babe. I liked the man,” Maron mentioned.

Warren Leight, former “SVU” author and showrunner, mentioned Belzer was the primary actor to welcome him when he joined the present.

“Open, heat, acerbic, whip sensible, surprisingly type,” Leight tweeted. “I liked writing for Munch, and I liked being with Belz.”

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