Richard Belzer, a longtime stand-up comedian known for “Saturday Night Live” and one of TV’s most memorable detectives as John Munch in “Law & Order” show, is dead at the age of 78 years old.
According to his friend Bill Scheft, Belzer died peacefully Sunday at his home with his family in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, in southern France.
On how Richard Belzer died, Scheft, a writer who had been working on a documentary about Belzer, said there was no known cause of death, but that Belzer had been dealing with circulatory and respiratory issues.
Comedian Laraine Newman, who had worked with Belzer during his appearances on “SNL” from 1975 to 1980, paid tribute to him. “I’m so sad to hear of Richard Belzer’s passing. I loved this guy so much.”
“He was one of my first friends when I got to New York to do ‘SNL. We used to go out to dinner every week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster. One of the funniest people ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest,” She added.
Richard Belzer was born to a Jewish family in Bridgeport, Connecticut on August 4, 1944. According to him, he discovered his talent for comedy while trying to make his mother laugh, inorder to distract her from constantly abusing him and his brother.
For over two decades and across 10 series, including appearances on 30 Rock and Arrested Development, Belzer played the wise-cracking, acerbic homicide detective prone to conspiracy theories. Belzer first played Munch on a 1993 episode of Homicide and last played him in 2016 on Law & Order: SVU.
Belzer’s Munch would then become one of entertainment’s longest-running characters for more than two decades. In 2008, Belzer and Michael Ian Black published the novel “I Am Not a Cop!”. He also helped write several books on conspiracy theories, about things like President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.