Richard Belzer Obituary, Death – Belzer, Richard, passed away. On Law and Order: SVU, he was most known for playing the cynical Detective John Munch. According to Bill Scheft, a former writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, the actor passed yesterday at his house in Bozouls, southwest France, at the age of 78.
The former late-night writer revealed the news in a letter to The Hollywood Reporter, stating that he had “plenty of health concerns.”Richard Belzer passed away on Sunday at his home in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France. As John Munch on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and other programs, he became one of American television’s most lasting police investigators. He was 78. Bill Scheft, a friend of Mr. Belzer, verified the demise. The actor has been struggling with circulatory and respiratory issues for years, according to Mr. Scheft, who had been working on a documentary about Mr. Belzer’s life and career.
In his role as Detective Munch, Mr. Belzer was smart but tough, cynical but caring. He donned sunglasses at night and listened in stony silence to the horrific tales of rape victims. He was the kind of policeman who casually referred to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and author Elmore Leonard. He employed wit, and when called a filthy old man, he quipped, “Who are you calling old?” When Mr. Belzer wasn’t performing stand-up comedy, he was a stand-up comedian, and in a 2010 interview with AARP The Magazine, he described his television alter ego as “Lenny Bruce with a badge.”
Mr. Belzer had great success with Munch. Mr. Belzer stated in The Huffington Post that he had played Munch in more than 500 hours of programming on 10 separate episodes in 2013 when the character was written out of “SVU” (also known as the “Law & Order” spinoff). The character first appeared in 1993’s “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and around that time he also made cameos on “Sesame Street” and “30 Rock.” At the time of his retirement, Mr. Belzer was frequently referred to as the actor who has been in the most various television shows while portraying the same role over the course of the longest period of time.