Actor Richard Belzer, who played the character of Detective John Munch on the shows “Homicide: Life on the Streets” and “Law & Order,” has died.
Belzer, who also had a career as a comedian, was 78, according to KGAN-TV.
Belzer launched his career as an audience warm-up act for “Saturday Night Live” between 1975 and 1980 and was also featured on the “National Lampoon Radio Hour” with multiple SNL stars.
In 1993 he took the part of Munch for “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” Six years later, he moved to “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” where Munch became a fixture.
Munch was written off the show in 2016, and retired from acting.
As noted on the website Popculture, Belzer played the character of Munch on 11 different shows, appearing on six different networks in the course of his career.
Belzer’s fans and friends remembered him on Twitter.
“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,” Laraine Newman wrote on Twitter.
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. pic.twitter.com/u23co0JPA2
— Laraine Newman (@larainenewman) February 19, 2023
The last appearance of our dear Richard Belzer. We will miss you 💔 pic.twitter.com/4k2NkYnWGN
— Law & Order SVU (@NBCSVU_fans) February 19, 2023
RIP Richard Belzer. We know that he played Munch on a hundred different shows for over two decades. The reason why is because he was so damn good. Watch those early seasons of HOMICIDE when he’s partnered with Ned Beatty. Great stuff. pic.twitter.com/8tY4sTQ16f
— Ian Brill (@ibrill) February 19, 2023
The man was sarcastic, funny, and a genuine good man all rolled into one. This hit a little hard, but RIP Richard Belzer. Keep making them laugh in heaven. pic.twitter.com/BXEegDyhFt
— QueenRyan (@RyanTurkington4) February 19, 2023
“I knew Richard, he was from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Acerbic and charming, he was famous for going everywhere with his little dog. If he came to Michael’s restaurant or Elaine’s, the little pup would get a spread-out blanket and a bowl of water beneath the table,” Roger Friedman wrote on Showbiz411.
“According to my sources, ‘SVU’ often asked Belzer to fly in from France to do cameos, but he was frail and could never make it,” he wrote.
Friedman noted that the character of Munch received a sendoff on his former show.
“This past Thursday, Munch was mentioned on ‘SVU’ by actor Ice T as Fin, his old partner,” he wrote.
“Fin said Munch had gone back to living in Baltimore, the home of ‘Homicide,’ had opened a bar and was happily married. The producers must have known Belzer was ill, and gave him a fitting goodbye tribute,” Friedman wrote.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.