Richard Belzer, legendary comedian and Jewish TV cop of all seasons, passes away at 78 years.
In the 1970s, Richard Belzer served as a warm-up comedian for Saturday Night Live (SNL), appearing multiple times in bit parts during its early seasons. He made memorable appearances in films like Fame and Author! Author! In the 1980s, Richard Belzer moved onto hosting duties of cable TV show Hot Properties where he interviewed Leonard Cohen and got knocked out by Hulk Hogan (Richard Belzer later sued both parties; ultimately there was an agreement reached).
Richard Belzer most remarkable contribution to culture was his role on Homicide: Life on the Street, playing Det. Munch – an ever-cynical Baltimore Police Department detective for 122 episodes. However, Richard Belzer wasn’t limited to that show and soon made an appearance on The X-Files where he played a skeptic; though later in life his beliefs would become even more conspiratorial.
Munch’s resume is one to be envied, having appeared on shows such as The Wire and Mad About You before landing his most enduring employment with NYPD’s special victim unit on Law & Order: SVU for 20 seasons. In doing so, Munch created a shared TV universe with characters like the Muppets and Tobias Funke.
“It was truly a miracle how I got the part,” Belzer remarked about Munch in an interview, noting how Homicide executive producer Barry Levinson brought him in after hearing him read on The Howard Stern Show. “I would never become a detective, but if I were, that’s exactly how I would act – they capture all my paranoia, anti-establishment dissidence and conspiracy theories perfectly.”
Belzer, who retired from acting in 2016, was known for his out-of-character assertions about the U.S. government and co-authored Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to JFK Assassination and other books. A veteran of National Lampoon Radio Hour, Belzer also appeared on Alex Jones’ InfoWars during the 2010s.
At the start of 2013, Belzer, who warned that America was becoming a “fascist state,” lived in southern France.