BREAKING: ‘Law and Order: SVU’ actor Richard Belzer passes away aged 78

Image of American actor Richard Belzer. Credit: Wikipedia - By Jay Tamboli -, CC BY 2.0,

The American actor, Richard Belzer, who starred in, among other shows, ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’, passed away at the age of 78.


Richard Belzer, the acclaimed American actor who played the television character of NYPD detective, John Munch, passed away today Sunday, February 19. He starred as Munch in both NBC police drama series ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’, and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’.

His death, at the age of 78, was not confirmed by family members or his representatives, but high-profile entertainment figures paid tribute to Belzer on social media. These included Julie Martin, one of the SVU producers, comedian Marc Maron, and Jon Stewart. It was also reported by the celebrity news outlet TMZ.

Belzer had a long and diverse career in the entertainment industry but will be best remembered for the detective that he played on television for 23 years, from 1993 to 2016. He retired from acting in 2016 at the age of 71.

Early in his career, he worked as a stand-up comedian, including a stint as the warm-up on the legendary Saturday Night Live. Belzer also made three guest appearances on the iconic show between 1975 and 1980. He also had small parts in the films Fame, Cafe Flesh, Night Shift, and Scarface.

“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”, posted the original ‘SNL’ cast member, Laraine Newman, on Twitter.

Jon Stewart wrote: “Rest in Peace Belz. No better time than sitting in the back at Catch watching Richard wreck crowd after crowd…a master”.

“Missing Richard Belzer today. Working with him on Homicide to SVU has been a hilarious, surprising and always joyful experience. I’m sure he’s giving ’em all a lot of laughs upstairs”, posted SVU producer Julie Martin.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]