Richard Belzer, longtime NBC star Law and order franchise has died at the age of 78, according to friends and former colleagues.
Belzer died on Sunday at his home in Bozouls, southwestern France, said writer Bill Scheft, a friend of the actor and veteran comedian. The Hollywood Reporter.
“He had a lot of health issues and his last words were, ‘Fuck you, motherfucker,'” he told the outlet.
Belzer starred as John Munch for 23 years Homicide: life on the street And Law and orderfrom 1993. The Connecticut-born comedian retired in 2016 and aged 71.
Universal Television and NBC released a joint statement Sunday offering their condolences.
“Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer play Det. John Munch – whether on ‘Homicide’ or ‘Law & Order: SVU’ – for four decades will never forget how well he inhabited this character. -loved to make it his own,” the statement read.
“His professionalism, talent and dedication to craftsmanship made him a mainstay in the industry, but it was his humor, compassion and loving heart that made him family.”
Dick Wolf, creator of SVU also paid tribute to Belzer in a statement to Variety.
“Richard Belzer’s Detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters,” Mr. Wolf said.
“I first worked with Richard on the ‘Law & Order’/’Homicide’ crossover and I liked the character so much that I told Tom (Fontana) that I wanted to make him one of the characters “SVU” originals.
“The rest is history. Richard brought humor and joy to all of our lives, was a consummate professional and will be greatly missed by all of us.
Belzer’s longtime friend Laraine Newman, who worked with him on Saturday Night Livetook to Twitter to remember him.
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“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 came to New York to do SNL“, she tweeted.
“We used to go to Sheepshead Bay for dinner every week for the lobster. One of the funniest people of all time. A master of crowdwork. Very expensive RIP.
SVU showrunner Warren Leight also took to Twitter to pay tribute to Belzer and post a video of his final scene on the show.
“Richard Belzer was the first actor to welcome me when I started at SVU. Open, warm, acerbic, smart whip, surprisingly kind. I loved writing for Munch and I loved being with Belz. felt this would be his farewell scene. Godspeed Belz…,” he tweeted.
Julie Martin, executive producer and screenwriter for SVU, also paid tribute to the actor by tweeting heartbroken emojis.
“Richard Belzer is missed today. Working with him on Homicide to SVU was a hilarious, surprising and always joyful experience. I’m sure he brings them a lot of laughs upstairs,” she tweeted.
Munch’s character has appeared in nine television series on five networks, more than any other fictional character, according to Variety.
The character’s 22 seasons on television were two more than gun smoke Marshall Matt Dillon or Frasier Crane, on Cheers And fraser.
Belzer appeared as Munch as a guest star on 3rd rock from the sun, Development stopped, 30 Rock, the thread, X files And Rhythm.
He is survived by his third wife, actress Harlee McBride whom he married in 1985, and his stepdaughters Jessica and Bree.