Richard Belzer, comedian and ‘Law & Order: SVU’ actor, dies at age 78

Actor Richard Belzer, a core member of network giant Law & Order, has died at the age of 78.

He was known for wearing his tinted glasses and dishing out his cynical shots as Detective John Munch in the franchise’s spin-off Law & Order: SVU, which aired to a record(Opens in a new tab) 24 years and remains one of the most watched shows on television.


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Belzer’s death was announced on social media by friends and Hollywood colleagues, who shared memories of the actor’s long career. Aside from a statement regarding his death, no further information regarding his death was released The Hollywood Reporter(Opens in a new tab) that he had suffered from “many health problems”.

In a statement to diversity(Opens in a new tab)Show creator Dick Wolf said, “Richard Belzer’s Detective John Munch is one of television’s most iconic figures… Richard brought humor and joy to all of our lives, was the consummate professional and we will all miss him dearly.”

The role of Detective Munch was history in its own right – Munch appeared in more television series (nine in total) than any other fictional character. Belzer played the role for 21 years and established the scathing detective on the 1993 show Murder: Street Life. Belzer left the role on “SVU” in 2013 but briefly returned to the show in 2016, continuing a string of guest appearances on a variety of shows. Before his role as a detective, Belzer was known for his comedic talents both as an actor and as a stand-up comedian.

As longtime fans mourn the loss of “Law & Order,” Belzer’s friend and writer Bill Schef said he left the world with one final Munch-ian line(Opens in a new tab): “Fuck you, motherfucker.” Richard Belzer, comedian and ‘Law & Order: SVU’ actor, dies at age 78

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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