Richard Belzer, 'Law & Order: SVU' Veteran, Dead at 78

The renowned actor and comedian's passing was confirmed in a statement shared by a former co-star.

Former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Richard Belzer has died. He was 78. 

Belzer's longtime friend and former Saturday Night Live co-star, Laraine Newman, announced his death via Twitter today, Feb. 19, 2023.

"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," she wrote. "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."

Related: Celebrities and Fans Pay Tribute to Late 'Law & Order: SVU' Star Richard Belzer

According to statements shared with The Hollywood Reporter, Belzer died peacefully at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. The actor's longtime friend and writer, Bill Scheft, told the outlet, "He had lots of health issues, and his last words were: ‘F*** you, mother****er.'"

Belzer is survived by his third wife, actress Harlee McBride, whom he married in 1985, and stepdaughters Jessica and Bree.

There is no word on his specific cause of death or plans for a memorial service.

The comedian, born August 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, got his start as a stand-up comedian performing in various New York City venues before he made his way to the SNL stage, where he worked with Newman during his appearances on the late-night comedy sketch show.

He went on to book roles in huge feature films like Fame, Author! Author!, and Scarface, later starring in multiple television shows, including MoonlightingThe Flash, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanMiami Vice, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Arrested Development, 30 Rockand many more.

Belzer had his big breakout role playing John Munch in Homicide: Life on the Street and continued his tenure as the character in Law & Order: SVU for over two decades–from 1993 until he retired from acting in 2016 at age 71.

Belzer also published multiple books surrounding his fascination for conspiracy theories and the assassination of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy.

Our hearts go out to Belzer's loved ones.