Comedian, actor, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Richard Belzer died in France on Feb. 19. His longtime friend Bill Scheft confirmed the news of his death to The Daily Beast and stated that Belzer “died at home with this family around him.” He was 78.
Belzer starred as fan-favorite character John Munch on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for the first 15 seasons and guest starred in multiple episodes after his departure. He made his final appearance in 2016, shortly before retiring from acting.
What was Richard Belzer's cause of death?
Although his cause of death has not been confirmed as of this publication, the former star had “lots of health issues" according to Bill, and they have been worsening for quite some time. Belzer's health has not been talked about publicly for years, but he battled testicular cancer in the 1980s.
Several former 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' co-stars have paid tribute to Richard Belzer since his death.
Most of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit past and present co-stars have posted tributes to Belzer, including present and past front-runners Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni. Mariska posted a statement on her social media, which was a message to say goodbye and call him a "dear, dear friend."
Christopher Meloni also posted a message to the late star, stating that he's a "beautiful soul, a dapper dresser, with the spirit of a child." He also dropped a comment in response to Belzer's final words before his death ('F--k you, motherf--ker"), saying "Your last words have helped make your passing easier to take."
Other notable stars who've posted tributes include Ice-T, Dean Winters, and Warren Leight. Actors who've also paid tributes include Billy Crystal and Laraine Newman.
His 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' character will live on in several shows.
Not only is he famous on NBC, but the character of John Munch has gained fame on several television networks, including ABC and HBO. He became the first and only fictional character played by a single actor to physically appear on 10 different television series. His character is also one of the few in history who's appeared in crime and comedy shows.
Belzer is survived by his wife, retired actress Harlee McBride, and stepdaughters Bree and Jessica. Our thoughts go out to his loved ones at this time.