Richard Belzer, Actor Known for 'Law & Order: SVU' Role, Dead at 78

Image via Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty
Image via Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty

Actor and comedian Richard Belzer has died at the age of 78. Belzer “passed away peacefully” at his home in France following a struggle with “health issues,” the actor’s manager Eric Gardner said, per CNN. Belzer, who is known for starring in Law & Over: Special Victims Unit, among other roles, is survived by his wife, actress Harlee McBride, 74.

“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.”

In 2016, Belzer reprised his iconic role as Detective Munch in Law & Order: SVU’s “Fashionable Crimes” episode. Beloved fans and the Law & Order cast were excited to have Belzer back as a guest. “We love having Richard back on set, [and] this episode was perfect for Munch’s cynical eye,” executive producer Warren Leight said.


Belzer’s Law & Order: SVU co-star Chris Meloni also remembered the late actor on social media, writing, “Good bye mon ami. I love you.”

Laraine Newman took to Twitter to share a heartfelt tribute to the late actor. “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 wrote. The two worked on set on NBC’s Saturday Night Live together in the late ’70s to early ’80s.

Comedian Jeff Ross also shared a tribute, posting a throwback picture with Belzer. “The Belz… Even holding his dog, he was always the coolest cat in the room,” Ross wrote via Twitter.

Related Articles

More Complex

Sign up for the Complex Newsletter for breaking news, events, and unique stories.

Follow Complex on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok