Law and Order: SVU alum, Richard Belzer, has passed away at the age of 78.
Belzer played John Munch, a character that began on Homicide: Life on the Street and transferred over to Law & Order. During his time playing Munch for NBC, Belzer appeared in more than 300 episodes of television, across 30 years.
Belzer’s character was designed especially for him, playing on Belzer’s own skepticism and penchant for conspiracy theories. Belzer once told Besides being an actor and comedian, Belzer was an author of multiple books surrounding conspiracies and a regular on Howard Stern’s talk show.
His Law & Order co-stars rushed to deliver heartfelt tributes on the internet.
“Goodbye my dear, dear friend,” Mariska Hargitay wrote. “I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world. I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years. How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so very much, now and forever.”
Danny Pino thanked Belzer for making a tremendous impact on his personal development, saying, “You…made me laugh. welcomed me. emboldened me. showed me how precious, beautiful and ridiculous it all is. taught me to hit a speed bag. made me a Rolling Stones fan. taught me grace. opened your home. gave back. made me laugh. made us laugh. l… Love you, Belz.”
Even Christopher Meloni wrote a simple farewell on Twitter, attached to a photo of him kissing Belzer’s cheek. “Goodbye mon ami. I love you. #TheBelz”
Showrunner, Dick Wolf, made a touching statement on Belzer’s portrayals on his television shows.
“Richard Belzer’s Detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters. I first worked with Richard on the Law & Order/Homicide crossover and loved the character so much, I told [screenwriter] Tom [Fontana] that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on SVU. The rest is history. Richard brought humor and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional and we will all miss him very much.”
Mariska Hargitay Reacts to ‘Law & Order’ Costar Richard Belzer’s Death (people.com)
Christopher Meloni, Others React SVU Star Richard Belzer’s Death at 78 (people.com)
Richard Belzer, comedian and TV detective John Munch on ‘Law & Order,’ dies at 78 (msn.com)