‘Law and Order’ actor Richard Belzer dies aged 78 with last words: ‘F*** you, motherf*****’
‘Law and Order’ actor Richard Belzer has died aged 78 after battling a series of health issues – and his last words were “F*** you, motherf*****”.
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’ – died in at his home in Bozouls, south-west France, early on Sunday. (19.02.23)
Writer Bill Scheft told The Hollywood Reporter: “His last words were, ‘F*** you, motherf*****’.”
The actor’s death was first announced by former ‘Saturday Night Live’ comic Laraine Newman, 70, who tweeted: “I’m so sad to hear of Richard Belzer’s passing. I loved this guy so much.
“He was one of my first friends when I got to New York to do ‘SNL’.
“We used to go out to dinner every week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster.”
She added Richard was “one of the funniest people ever” and a “master” at crowd work during his comedy gigs.
Among the stars leading tributes once news of his passing broke was comedian Billy Crystal, 74, who tweeted: “Richard Belzer was simply hilarious. A genius at handling a crowd. So sad he’s passed away.”
Fellow stand-up and podcaster Marc Maron, 59, added online: “Richard Belzer died. He was an original. One of the greats, babe. I loved the guy. RIP.”
Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Richard said he got into comedy by making his physically abusive mum laugh, as he said if he didn’t he would “get my a** kicked”.
He went on to work as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post and as a census taker before turning to comedy full-time after his dad took his life.
His brother Leonard also committed suicide in 2014.
Known for taking his dog with him everywhere he went with him when in moved to New York, by the early 1970s Richard was a regular on the ‘National Lampoon Radio Hour’, alongside John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.
His TV career started after he took career advice from Jerry Lewis, and he started with minor roles in the 1990s before becoming a household name from 1993 when he first played Detective Munch in ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’.
He became a renowned conspiracy theorist and was a regular on Alex Jones’ show – once referring to the Boston Marathon bombing as a false flag event.
Richard also famously sued wrestler Hulk Hogan, 69, for $5 million after the star dropped him on the head after the actor asked him to show him one of his signature ring moves, but they settled out of court.
Married three times, Richard stayed with his third wife, retired actress Harlee McBride, 74, until his death and had been living in southern France from around 2019.