The legendary stand-up comic Richard Belzer, who played the iconic detective John Munch in the television series Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: SVU, has passed away. He was 78.
Belzer passed away on Sunday at his house in Bozouls, southern France, according to Bill Scheft, a close friend of the actor. His passing was originally reported on Twitter by comedian Laraine Newman. Rest in peace, Richard was written by Belzer’s cousin, the actor Henry Winkler.
Belzer portrayed the witty, sardonic homicide detective inclined to conspiracies for more than two decades spanning ten programmes, including cameos on 30 Rock and Arrested Development. Munch was portrayed by Belzer for the first time on a 1993 episode of Homicide and for the last time on Law & Order: SVU in 2016.
Belzer never went on a trial run for the part. Barry Levinson, the executive producer, invited the comic in to audition after hearing him on The Howard Stern Show.
“I’d never make a good detective. But if I were, I would be that way: “Belzer stated once. “They write to all of my conspiracy beliefs, anti-establishment dissidence, and paranoia. As a result, I’ve had a lot of fun. in reality, a dream”
From that improbable beginning, Munch played by Belzer would go on to become one of television’s longest-running characters and a sunglasses-wearing presence for more than two decades. I Am Not a Police!, a book written by Belzer and Michael Ian Black, was published in 2008. He also contributed to the writing of a number of publications on conspiracy theories, including those involving President John F. Kennedy.
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His longtime pal and fellow comic Richard Lewis wrote on Twitter, “He made me laugh a billion times.
Belzer, a Bridgeport, Connecticut native, claimed that amid his mother’s beatings as a boy, along with his older brother Len, he was driven to comedy. According to Belzer, “my kitchen was the worst place I ever worked in,” in 1993.
Belzer began a life of stand-up in New York in 1972 after being dismissed from Dean Junior College in Massachusetts. Belzer established a routine at Catch a Rising Star. He made his big-screen debut in The Groove Tube, a TV parody directed by Ken Shapiro and starring Chevy Chase, which came up as a result of the comedic group Channel.
Belzer was a part of one.
Belzer was on the National Lampoon Radio Hour with John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and others before Saturday Night Live altered the comic landscape in New York. He was hired in 1975 to perform as the opening act for the brand-new SNL. Belzer played largely minor cameo roles, but numerous cast members quickly rose to fame. Afterwards, he claimed that SNL creator Lorne Michaels broke his pledge to include him in the programme.