Richard Belzer – Bio, Death, Net Worth, Family, Wife, Career, Movies

Richard Belzer was an American actor, stand-up comedian, and author. He was well-known for his role as BPD Detective, NYPD Detective/Sergeant, and DA Investigator John Munch, whom he portrayed as a regular cast member on the NBC police drama series “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit“. He portrayed the character for 23 years, from 1993 until retiring in 2016. He played John Munch on eight other television shows, including “The Wire”, “Arrested Development”, and “The X-Files”. Sadly, he dies on 19th February 2023 at the age of 78. 

Belzer started his career in entertainment as a stand-up comedian, performing at various venues in New York City in the 1970s. His early acting role was an appearance in the 1974 movie The Groove Tube. From 1975 to 1980, he appeared on Saturday Night Live for three episodes. Richard was also an author. Some of his books include Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination; UFOs, JFK, and Elvis; and Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups. He also wrote books that are not focused on conspiracy theories. They include How to Be a Stand-Up Comic, I am Not a Psychic! and I Am Not a Cop! 

What was Richard Belzer’s nationality?

Richard Belzer was born with the birth name of Richard Jay Belzer on August 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA. He held American nationality whereas his ethnicity was mixed. He was the son of Frances Belzer and Charles Belzer. He described his mother as frequently physically abusive, and he declared that his comedy career began when trying to make his mother laugh to distract her from abusing him and his brother. His dad was a tobacco and candy retailer. He grew up in a Jewish family. For the last time, the actor celebrated his 78th birthday. 

Richard Welzer graduated from Fairfield Warde High School. Next, he attended Dean College which was then known as Dean Junior College, in Franklin, Massachusetts but was expelled for leading demonstrations for truly stupid causes.

How did Richard Belzer start his career?

  • Richard Belzer initially started working as a stand-up comic at Pips, The Improv, and Catch a Rising Star. After that, he participated in the Channel One comedy group that satirized television and became the basis for the cult movie “The Groove Tube”. Likewise, he was the audience warm-up comedian for “Saturday Night Live”. Moreover, he also opened for musician Warren Zevon during his tour supporting the release of his album “Excitable Boy.”
  • He then became an occasional film actor between the late 1970s and early 1980s. He made his appearance on “Sesame Street” in a season 9 episode in 1978. He is noted for small roles in “Fame”, “Café Flesh”, “Night Shift”, and “Scarface”. In addition to this, he appeared in the music videos for the Mike + The Mechanics song “Taken In” and for the Pat Benatar song “Le Bel Age”, as well as the Kansas video “Can’t Cry Anymore”. He next appeared in “A Very Brady Sequel” as an LAPD detective. 
  • Besides his acting and comedian career, he was also active in radio work. He was a featured player on the National Lampoon Radio Hour, a half-hour comedy program aired on 600 plus U.S. stations from 1973 to 1975. He co-hosted Brink & Belzer on 660AM WNBC radio in New York City in the late 1970s. Moreover, he was a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show. After Randi Rhodes departed from Air America Radio, he guest-hosted the afternoon program on the network. 
  • In the 1990s, he was a regular on “The Flash” as a news anchor and reporter. He played Inspector William Henderson in several episodes of “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” followed by Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1999), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–2013), The X-Files (Fox), The Beat (UPN), Law & Order: Trial by Jury (NBC), Cheers (1982–93), St. Elsewhere (1985), The Tortellis (1987), Wings (1990), The Simpsons (1994), Frasier (2002), Arrested Development (Fox), The Wire (HBO), 30 Rock (NBC), and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix). 
  • He voiced the character of Loogie for most of the “South Park” episode titled “The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000”. 
  • As an author, Richard Belzer wrote five books – UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe (2000), Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups, Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination, Corporate Conspiracies: How Wall Street Took Over Washington, and Someone Is Hiding Something: What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? In 2008, Belzer published a novel, I Am Not a Cop! 
  • He announced his retirement from acting in 2016, citing health concerns.

Who was Richard Belzer married to?

Richard Belzer has been married three times during his lifetime. His first two marriages were to Gail Susan Ross (1966–72) and boutique manager Dalia Danoch (1976 – c. 1978). Both of his two marriages ended in divorce. In 1981 in Los Angeles, he met 31 years old, Harlee McBride, a divorce with two daughters, Bree Benton, and Jessica. Belzer and Harlee then married in 1985. They remained together until the death of Richard in 2023. 

Richard Belzer and his wife, Harlee McBride

Richard Belzer does not have any biological children of his own. He had been an advocate for children’s rights and has been involved in various organizations supporting children’s welfare. In all his marriages, he became a foster parent and took care of several children. He had spoken publicly about his experience as a foster parent, including in his book “I Am Not a Cop!” in which he discusses the joys and challenges of raising children. 

How did Richard Belzer die?

Richard Belzer, the comedian and actor best known for playing the acerbic Detective John Munch across a number of NBC crime dramas, including “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” dies at 78 on 19th February 2023. He died at his home in Beaulieu-sur-Merl. His death cause was complications of unspecified circulatory and respiratory conditions. Belzer “passed away peacefully” early Sunday morning local time at his home in France, according to Eric Gardner, his manager. Writer Bill Scheft, a longtime friend of the actor, told The Hollywood Reporter that Belzer had “lots of health issues.” 

“SVU” star Mariska Hargitay posted a heartfelt message to Instagram. “Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world,” she wrote in a statement. She added, “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.” 

How much was Richard Belzer’s net worth?

Richard Belzer was a successful and talented actor who was known for portraying Detective John Munch on the television series “Homicide: Life on the Street.” He began his career as a comedian. Before becoming a famous stand-up comedian, Richard Belzer had many jobs including teacher, census-taker, jewelry salesman, and dockworker. 

Richard Belzer had an estimated net worth of $16 million at the time of his death. Some of his wealth came from his work as an author. He wrote many books focused on conspiracies surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He lived a lavish lifestyle from his career earnings. 

How tall was Richard Belzer?

Richard Belzer had a standing height of 6 feet 1 inch. He had a slim body type with a glowing face and charming smile attracting a lot of people towards him. He wore black glass that suits him very well. He had a salt-pepper hair color and his eye color was dark brown. On Feb. 19, 2023, at age 78, Richard left this world due to the complications of unspecified circulatory and respiratory conditions. 

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