Late ‘Law and Order’ actor Richard Belzer mourned by stars including Ice-T
The late ‘Law and Order’ actor Richard Belzer is being remembered by a flood of stars as everything from “whip smart” to one of the funniest men who ever lived.
His passing aged 78 at his home in Bozouls, south-west France after a series of health issues was confirmed on Sunday (19.02.23) – and his last words according to his writer friend Bill Scheft were: “F*** you, motherf*****”.
A flood more of his famous pals have now paid tribute to the comic-turned actor, who previously survived testicular cancer and was famed for spending more than two decades playing detective John Munch on a total of 11 TV shows including ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ and then on ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’, ‘X-Files’ and ‘The Wire’.
‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’ showrunner Warren Leight said: “Open, warm, acerbic, whip smart, surprisingly kind. I loved writing for Munch, and I loved being with Belz. We sensed this would be his parting scene. Godspeed Belz.”
SVU star Christopher Meloni posted a photo of Belzer on Twitter, while his fellow SVU star Mariska Hargitay said online: “I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world.
“I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years.
“How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so very much, now and forever.”
Another of Richard’s SVU co-stars, Ice-T said on Instagram: “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 Homie.”
Dick Wolf, 76, creator and executive producer of SVU, wrote in a statement shared with People that Richard’s detective Munch was “one of television's iconic characters”.
He said: “I first worked with Richard on the ‘Law and Order’ / ‘Homicide’ crossover and loved the character so much… the rest is history. “Richard brought humour and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional and we will all miss him very much.”
Comedian Paul Shaffer said in a statement to People: “Since we met in the mid-1970s, an evening with Richard Belzer was an evening reserved for laughs.
“As a stand-up, he presaged the comedy explosion still felt in entertainment today. And although he had seamlessly transitioned to serious acting, ‘Belz’ remained the standard bearer with regard to what was funny. Everyone should have a best friend who makes you laugh that hard.”
Actor Michael Warburton hailed Richard as a “stand up guy” and “a dude”.
He added: “He was so many things ≠ a great Comedian and Wit, an Actor, a Writer (his Work on JFK’s assassination was excellent), an Activist, a challenger of authority and the Establishment.”
Among the stars who led tributes once news of Richard’s passing broke on Sunday was comedian Billy Crystal, who tweeted: “Richard Belzer was simply hilarious. A genius at handling a crowd. So sad he’s passed away.”