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Richard Belzer, Actor Who Played John Munch on Law and Order: SVU, Dead at 78

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Belzer portrayed the police detective for 22 consecutive seasons across multiple TV series

Richard Belzer dead at 78
Richard Belzer, photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images
Richard Belzer, an original Saturday Night Live cast member who became synonymous for his role as detective John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has died at the age of 78.

Laraine Newman, Belzer’s longtime friend and fellow SNL cast member, confirmed his passing on Sunday. Writer Bill Scheft, another longtime friend of the actor, said Belzer died early Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. “He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, ‘Fuck you, motherfucker,’” Scheft told The Hollywood Reporter.

A native of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Belzer began his career as a stand-up comedian in the 1970s, quickly winning over audiences thanks to his sharp wit and acerbic style. In 1975 he was hired to serve as the warmup comedian for SNL’s inaugural season, and proceeded to make several guest appearances throughout the show’s first five seasons.

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