Search icon


20th Feb 2023

Law & Order star Richard Belzer’s unbelievable final words as he dies aged 78

Steve Hopkins

‘Richard Belzer’s Detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters’

Richard Belzer, best known as detective John Munch in Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: SVU, has died.

He was 78.

Belzer died on Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southern France, his longtime friend Bill Scheft told the Hollywood Reporter.

He said the actor used his final breaths to say: “F**k you, motherf**ker.”

It is not known to who those words were directed at.

The circumstances of his death have also not been revealed, but Scheft said his friend had “lots of health issues”.

Belzer played the wise-cracking homicide detective prone to conspiracy theories over more than two decades and across 10 series, and also appeared on hit comedies 30 Rock and Arrested Development.

He first played Munch on a 1993 episode of Homicide and last played him in 2016 on Law & Order: SVU.

The comedian Laraine Newman first announced Belzer’s death on Twitter.

Law & Order and SVU creator Dick Wolf confirmed Belzer’s death in a statement to Variety, saying:  “Richard Belzer’s Detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters.

“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.”

Wolf added: “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.”

The actor Henry Winkler, Belzer’s cousin, wrote: “Rest in peace Richard.”

Mariska Hargitay, the SVU star who portrayed Olivia Benson, 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. How lucky the angels are to have you.

“I love you so very much, now and forever.”

Chris Meloni, who played Elliot Stabler, posted a photo of them together on Twitter, alongside a caption that said: “Good bye mon ami. I love you.”

Ice-T, who played Detective Sergeant Odafin Tutuola, added: “Highs and Lows… After one of the most amazing weeks of my life. I wake up to the news I lost my friend today. Belz is gone. ‘Damn it!’ But remember this..When you are having real fun and are truly Happy. Enjoy it to the fullest! Cause Pain is inevitably coming. I’ll miss you Homie.”

Belzer never auditioned for the role on Law & Order: SVU.

After hearing him on The Howard Stern Show, the producer Barry Levinson brought Belzer in to read for the part, the Guardian reported.

“I would never be a detective,” Belzer once said.

“But if I were, that’s how I’d be.

“They write to all my paranoia and anti-establishment dissidence and conspiracy theories. So it’s been a lot of fun for me. A dream, really.”

In 2008, with Michael Ian Black, Belzer published the novel I Am Not a Cop! He also helped write several books on conspiracy theories, about things like the assassination of John F Kennedy and the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Before Belzer scored the ultimate role of Detective Munch, he was a comedian, and have becoming a household name he appeared in 11 different shows across multiple networks, from The X-Files to Arrested Development. He also was cast in several movies, including Scarface, Nightshift, and The Groove Tube.

Belzer made his big-screen debut in Ken Shapiro’s 1974 film The Groove Tube, a satire co-starring Chevy Chase that grew out of the comedy group Channel One. Before Saturday Night Live changed the comedy scene in New York, Belzer performed with John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and others on the National Lampoon Radio Hour.

In 1975, he became the warm-up comic for the newly launched SNL.

Related links:

No posts have been found