- Richard Belzer was a well-known humorist who made his movie debut in 1974’s The Groove Tube
- The actor performed Det. John Munch on ‘Murder’ and ‘Regulation & Order: SVU’
- He died on the age of 78 in his dwelling in France
Richard Belzer was a beloved humorist and actor who handed away on February 19, 2023 at his dwelling in France on the age of 78. His good pal and coworker on the early days of Saturday Evening Stay, Laraine Newman, shared a touching tribute on her Twitter, writing, “I liked this man a lot. He was one in every of my first mates after I received to New York to do SNL. One of many funniest folks ever. A grasp at crowd work. RIP dearest.” One other longtime pal, author Invoice Scheft, summed up Richard’s acerbic wit when he informed The Hollywood Reporter, “He had a lot of well being points, and his final phrases have been, ‘F*** you, m***********.’”
I am so unhappy to listen to of Richard Belzer’s passing. I liked this man a lot. He was one in every of my first mates after I received to New York to do SNL. We used to exit to dinner each week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster. One of many funniest folks ever. A grasp at crowd work. RIP dearest. pic.twitter.com/u23co0JPA2
— Laraine Newman (@larainenewman) February 19, 2023
Preserve studying to seek out out all about Belzer, under.
How did Belzer get his begin?
Richard Jay Belzer was born on Aug. 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut and rapidly discovered his comedic chops would assist him out in life, particularly with an abusive mother. “She all the time had some rationale for hitting us,” Belzer informed People in 1993. “My kitchen was the hardest room I ever labored. I needed to make my mother snort or I’d get my ass kicked.”
Earlier than touchdown on his profession of selection, Belzer tried his hand at a collection of wierd jobs, “together with census taker, dock employee and jewellery salesman,” in accordance with The Hollywood Reporter. For a time, he additionally labored on the The Bridgeport Publish newspaper.
His father’s suicide prompted him to pursue comedy
Three years after his mother handed away from breast most cancers, Belzer’s father tried to die by suicide in 1967, however Belzer discovered him earlier than it was too late, per THR. Nevertheless, his dad ended up profitable in his try a yr later. Notably, Belzer’s brother would find yourself leaping off his residence constructing to his loss of life in 2014 following his spouse’s passing.
After the loss of life of his father, Belzer determined to deal with his function and signed up for a comedy troupe within the East Village referred to as Channel One. The group ultimately made a sketch comedy film referred to as The Groove Tube, which was the movie debut for Chevy Chase as nicely.
“We have been very excessive — once we wrote it, once we shot it, once we premiered it and once we realized we’d made a film,” Belzer stated in 2010 interview with The A.V. Club. “It was actually underground within the sense that earlier than it was a film, we had a bit of theater and we confirmed Groove Tube on three screens in a 90-seat theater. So for folks to pay to see tv, earlier than cable, it was fairly progressive.”
Belzer was handpicked for his most well-known position of Det. John Munch
Murder government producer Barry Levinson admitted that he heard Belzer on The Howard Stern Present and thought he’d be an ideal match for Detective John Munch. “We have been another actors, and after I heard him, I stated, ‘Why don’t we discover out about Richard Belzer?” Levinson stated in a 2016 interview for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television. “I just like the rhythm of the best way he talks. And that’s how that occurred.” Belzer would find yourself enjoying the policeman on ‘Murder’ for all seven seasons.
“When Murder was canceled, I used to be in France with my spouse and he or she stated, ‘Let’s open a bottle of champagne and toast: You probably did this character for seven years,’” Belzer recounted within the 2009 guide Regulation & Order: Particular Victims Unit Unofficial Companion. “After which I remembered that Benjamin Bratt was leaving L&O, and so I referred to as my supervisor and stated, ‘Name Dick Wolf — possibly Munch can turn out to be [Det. Lennie] Briscoe’s associate’ —- as a result of we had teamed for the crossover.”
Nevertheless, Wolf had a special present in thoughts for Belzer: a derivative. When Regulation & Order: SVU debuted in September 1999, Munch had relocated from Baltimore to New York to affix forces with Det. Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). He stayed for 14 seasons.
He performed Munch on ‘The X-Information,’ ‘Arrested Growth’ and extra exhibits
Belzer was capable of showcase Munch on a wide range of packages. Munch appeared in X-Information in 1997 and was noticed on The Beat, Regulation & Order: Trial by Jury, The Wire and even Arrested Growth, 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
“I by no means requested anybody to be on their present. So it’s doubly flattering to me to see me depicted in a script and that I’m so recognizable and lovable because the sarcastic detective and smart-ass,” Belzer stated in a 2008 interview. “A lot to my delight, as a result of he is a good character for me to play, it’s enjoyable for me. So I’m not upset about typecast in any respect.”
Belzer was married 3 times
Belzer was married to Gail Susan Ross from 1966 to 1972 and Dalia Danoch from 1976 to 1978. Each marriages led to divorce. In 1985, Belzer married actress Harlee McBride, who was well-known for her Playboy work and showing in Younger Girl Chatterley. The couple have been collectively till his loss of life, and he’s survived by Harlee’s two daughters as nicely, Bree and Jessica.
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