Richard Belzer is being remembered by peers and fans as “whip smooth,” a “challenger of power” and “one of the most funniest of us ever.”
The longtime comedian and Legislation and Provide an explanation for: Special Victims Unit has died at age 78, former Gradual Demonstrate with David Letterman author Bill Scheft confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday.
After the records of his death snappy unfold, costars and company shared their reminiscences of the man identified for engaging laughs both as a comedian as effectively as playing beloved detective John Munch within the assortment from 1999 to 2016.
“I’m so unhappy to listen to of Richard Belzer’s passing,” actress Laraine Newman, who was amongst the first to pay tribute, wrote on Twitter.
“I beloved this man so noteworthy. He was one of my first company after I got to New York to attain SNL,” she shared. “We passe to exit to dinner a week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster. Regarded as one of the most funniest of us ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest.”
A couple of of Belzer’s SVU costars and mates also paid tribute to the actor, who originated the role of Munch on NBC’s Assassinate: Life on the Avenue in 1993 and reprised the character within the Legislation & Provide an explanation for parent assortment.
Loyal by his time as Munch, he later appeared in nearly 330 episodes of SVU between 1999 and 2013, with two extra cameos in 2014 and 2016.
“Richard Belzer was the first actor to welcome me after I began at SVU,” wrote showrunner Warren Leight. “Start, heat, acerbic, whip smooth, surprisingly style. I beloved writing for Munch, and I beloved being with Belz. We sensed this is able to maybe perchance well be his parting scene. Godspeed Belz.”
After files broke of Belzer’s death, SVU well-known particular person Christopher Meloni shared a sweet checklist of Belzer to Twitter.
Fellow SVU well-known particular person Mariska Hargitay shared some words on social media herself, calling Belzer a “dear buddy.”
“I could proceed out you, your unfamiliar light, and your singular address this unfamiliar world,” Hargitay, 59, wrote. “I feel blessed to own identified you and adored you and worked with you, facet by facet, for so decades.
“How fortunate the angels are to own you. I will hear them laughing already. I fancy you so very noteworthy, now and with no wreck in sight.”
Diane Neal also shared a tribute to her former costar. “my hero. We regularly had fun. Essentially. At work. On fade back and forth. Wherever,” Neal wrote. “The particular individual that made every 2d better. I could proceed out you terribly.”
Alongside a throwback SVU checklist, Jon Seda applauded Belzer’s life and profession. “[Belzer] was one of the most particular ever to grace our monitors. I learned so noteworthy from him. Forever in our hearts he’ll live. RIP buddy,” Seda wrote.
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Danny Pino shared an emotional impress to the SVU alum, too. “You…made me giggle. welcomed me. emboldened me. confirmed me how precious, excellent-making an try and ridiculous all of it is a ways. taught me to hit a hotfoot acquire. made me a Rolling Stones fan. taught me grace. opened your design. gave help. made me giggle. made us giggle. l… Esteem you, Belz,” Pino captioned a checklist of Belzer.
SVU costar Ice-T posted to Instagram: “Highs and Lows… After one of the critical unbelievable weeks of my life. I wake up to the records I misplaced my buddy at this time. Belz is long gone.. Damn it! Nonetheless take into accout this..’Whenever you ARE having accurate fun and are In truth Relaxed. ENJOY it to the fullest! Quandary off Peril is inevitably coming.’ I could proceed out you Homie 🙏”
S. Epatha Merkerson on occasion called Belzer, “one of a style” in her own tribute.
Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of SVU, wrote in a assertion shared with PEOPLE that Belzer’s Munch is “one of tv’s iconic characters.”
“I first worked with Richard on the Legislation & Provide an explanation for/Assassinate crossover and beloved the character so noteworthy, I told Tom [Fontana] that I wished to scheme him one of the most distinctive characters on SVU,” Wolf, 76, wrote. “The leisure is history. Richard introduced humor and joy into all our lives, was the consummate knowledgeable and we are able to all proceed out him very noteworthy.”
Dean Winters, any other SVU costar and legislation enforcement partner on the assortment, acknowledged Belzer was instrumental in his being solid. “All americans can own water, now now not everyone can own class. Richard Belzer had class for days. I could proceed out this man very noteworthy,” he acknowledged in segment.
Varied performing highlights from Belzer’s profession embody his role as a Babylon Membership M.C. within the 1983 film Scarface, his role as the president within the 1998 film Species II, and The Flash TV assortment in 1991.
The funnyman also had a noteworthy-lauded comedy profession, and was vocal about his perception in varied conspiracy theories, having written a quite loads of of books on these subjects as effectively.
Friend and fellow comedian Paul Shaffer acknowledged in a assertion shared with PEOPLE: “Since we met within the mid-Seventies, a night with Richard Belzer was a night reserved for laughs.”
“As a stand-up, he presaged the comedy explosion light felt in entertainment at this time,” Shaffer added. “And though he had seamlessly transitioned to excessive performing, ‘Belz’ remained the customary bearer with regard to what was comic. All americans must own a most sharp buddy who makes you giggle that now now not easy.”
“Lacking Richard Belzer at this time,” wrote SVU author and executive producer Julie Martin. “Working with him on Assassinate to SVU has been a hilarious, aesthetic and infrequently at ease journey. I’m sure he’s giving ’em all loads of guffaws upstairs.”
Actor Michael Warburton also shared style words on Twitter, calling Belzer “a rise up man, a dude, & what I name a accurate citizen.”
“He was so many issues – a mighty Comedian & Wit, an Actor, a Author (his Work on JFK’s assassination was mighty), an Activist, a challenger of authority and the Establishment,” Warburton wrote.
He also shared a comic 2d from The Green Room in 2011 the achieve Belzer takes segment in a “Jagger-Off” — or a contest of Mick Jagger impressions — with comedian Rick Overton.
Saturday Evening Are living author and longtime buddy Alan Zweibel gave Belzer praise, calling him “as style as he was comic” in his Twitter tribute on Sunday.
“I could proceed out his designate of comedy that was now now not confined to boundaries,” he wrote. “And can regularly be ecstatic a couple of friendship that lasted nearly 50 years.”