Everyone loved Detective John Munch on “Law & Order.” He graced our screens for several decades and was adored by fans all across the country.
Now, at the news of his death, fans all around the world are mourning this heartbreaking loss. Keep reading to learn more about Belzer’s last days…
“He passed at home early this morning in the south of France — in his home in the south of France — with his family around him,” writer Bill Scheft, an old friend of the late actor confirmed to the media.
“He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, ‘F— you, motherf—er,’” Scheft told the media.
Since his passing, old colleagues and Hollywood heavyweights have stepped out to offer their condolences and express their regret over this loss. Laraine Newman, a former Saturday Night Live cast member tweeted, “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.”
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
Belzer had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1983. His diagnosis and treatment ultimately inspired his 1997 HBO comedy special “Another Lone Nut.”
In 1985, an incident occurred on Belzer’s talk show. Professional wrestler, Hulk Hogan put Belzer in a chokehold which caused him to pass out and hit his head on the studio floor. Belzer sued the wrestler but the two of them made a settlement out of court.
He first appeared as Munch on NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street” in 1993, and later reprised the character on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He appeared in nearly 330 episodes of “SVU” between 1999 and 2013 and also made additional cameos in 2014 and 2016.
Highs and Lows… After one of the most amazing weeks of my life. I wake up to the news I lost my friend today. Belz is gone.. Damn it! But remember this..’When you ARE having real fun and are Truly Happy. ENJOY it to the fullest! Cause Pain is inevitably coming.’ I’ll miss you… https://t.co/WmaHvj629b pic.twitter.com/Fca9qiaDLV
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) February 19, 2023
Belzer was also a self-proclaimed author and authored a book on his subject of interest; conspiracy theories. In 2016 he released a book titled “Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination.”
Other books the comedian and actor penned were titled “UFOS, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to be Crazy to Believe” and “Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups.”
Quiet life on the countryside
Richard Belzer met married Harlee McBride in 1985 and relocated to France. After leaving Hollywood, the couple lived a quiet life in the French countryside with their four dogs.
Not shaving pic.twitter.com/Vpcx5pPsJv
— Richard Belzer (@MRbelzer) September 3, 2016
Belzer decided to leave Tinseltown after being choked by wrestler Hulk Hogan during a talk show in 1985. He sued the WWF star and won.
”He came very close to killing me. I was told by a sports medicine expert that if I had fallen a few inches either way, I could have been crippled for life; I could have been dead,” Belzer told broadcaster Roy Firestone in 1990.
According to Richard, his four dogs prolonged his life, and he loved caring for his wife and their home.
He is now survived by his wife, Harlee McBride. The pair do not have any biological children together but McBride has two daughters from a previous marriage; Jessica and Shannon Benton.