Richard Belzer was an American comedian, actor, and author who passed away on October 19, 2021, at the age of 78. He was known for his sharp wit and dry sense of humor, which he showcased in his stand-up comedy routines, as well as in his roles in television and film.
Born on August 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Belzer grew up in a Jewish family and attended Fairfield Warde High School. After graduating, he pursued a career in comedy, performing at various clubs and venues in New York City. In the 1970s, he became a regular performer on the popular variety show, “The Gong Show.”
Belzer’s breakthrough came in the 1980s when he played the role of Detective John Munch on the NBC police procedural drama, “Homicide: Life on the Street.” He later reprised the character on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and several other TV shows, becoming one of the longest-running characters in the history of American prime-time television.
Apart from his acting career, Belzer was also an author, publishing several books, including a collection of his own essays, “UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe,” and a novel, “I Am Not a Cop!” He was also an outspoken advocate for animal rights, serving as a spokesperson for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Belzer’s death was met with an outpouring of tributes and condolences from fans and fellow performers, who praised his talent and contributions to comedy and entertainment. His legacy as a comedian and actor will be remembered for many years to come.