Richard Belzer, who is best known for his iconic role as Detective John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order, has passed away at the age of 78, his longtime manager has confirmed. According to writer Bill Scheft, a longtime friend of the actor, he died early Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. Scheft told The Hollywood Reporter: “He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, ‘Fuck you, motherfucker.’”
“Richard Belzer detective munch is one of television’s iconic characters,” Law & Order creator Dick Wolf wrote in a post shared on social media. “I first worked with Richard on the ‘Law & Order’ / ‘Homicide’ crossover and loved the character so much. I told Tom (Fontana) that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on ‘SVU.’ The rest is history. Richard brought humor and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional, and we will all miss him very much.”
Dick Wolf’s Response
Belzer’s Law & Order: SVU co-star Chris Meloni also said: “Good bye mon ami. I love you.” His other co-star, Mariska Hargitay, wrote: “Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world. I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years.”
Fans also poured in with messages regarding Belzer’s passing. One user wrote in response to Wolf’s post, “So sad. Honestly, there should just be three Munch episodes aired Thursday instead of new episodes for each Law & Order show.” Another added: “Rest In Peace. Life is strange, in last weeks SVU IceT talks about his former partner Munch so lovingly.”
Belzer’s Detective Munch first appeared in Homicide: Life on the Street from 1993 to 1999. He later reprised the role for several episodes of Law & Order. Then, he became a series regular on Law & Order: SVU, appearing in 326 episodes between 1999 and 2016. In addition to working as Munch, Belzer appeared as a detective in numerous other shows over the years. He also did so on The Wire and The X-Files, as well as comedies 30 Rock, Arrested Development, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Chris Meloni’s Tribute