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Richard Belzer, stand-up comedian and TV detective, dies at 78 : NPR

Richard Belzer is pictured on the 2013 Tribeca Movie Competition in New York.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

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Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Richard Belzer is pictured on the 2013 Tribeca Movie Competition in New York.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

NEW YORK — Richard Belzer, the longtime slapstick comedian who become one in every of TV’s maximum indelible detectives as John Munch in Murder: Existence at the Boulevard and Regulation & Order: SVU, has died. He used to be 78.

Belzer died Sunday at his house in Bozouls in southern France, his longtime pal Invoice Scheft informed The Hollywood Reporter. Comic Laraine Newman first introduced his dying on Twitter. The actor Henry Winkler, Belzer’s cousin, wrote “Relaxation in peace Richard.”

For greater than twenty years and throughout 10 collection — even together with appearances on 30 Rock and Arrested Construction — Belzer performed the wise-cracking, acerbic murder detective at risk of conspiracy theories. Belzer first performed Munch on a 1993 episode of Murder and final performed him in 2016 on Regulation & Order: SVU.

Belzer by no means auditioned for the function. After listening to him on The Howard Stern Display, government manufacturer Barry Levinson introduced the comic in to learn for the section.

“I might by no means be a detective. But when I have been, that is how I would be,” Belzer as soon as mentioned. “They write to all my paranoia and anti-establishment dissidence and conspiracy theories. So it is been numerous amusing for me. A dream, truly.”

From that not going starting, Belzer’s Munch would develop into one in every of tv’s longest-running characters and a sunglasses-wearing presence at the small display screen for greater than twenty years. In 2008, Belzer revealed the radical I Am Now not a Cop! with Michael Ian Black. He additionally helped write a number of books on conspiracy theories, about such things as President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and Malaysia Airways Flight 370.

“He made me chuckle 1000000000 instances,” his longtime pal and fellow stand-up Richard Lewis mentioned on Twitter.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Belzer used to be interested in comedy, he mentioned, all through an abusive youth by which his mom would beat him and his older brother, Len. “My kitchen used to be the hardest room I ever labored,” Belzer informed Folks mag in 1993.

After being expelled from Dean Junior Faculty in Massachusetts, Belzer launched into a lifetime of stand-up in New York in 1972. At Catch a Emerging Famous person, Belzer become a standard. He made his big-screen debut in Ken Shapiro’s 1974 movie The Groove Tube, a TV satire co-starring Chevy Chase, a movie that grew out of the comedy staff Channel One who Belzer used to be part of.

Ahead of Saturday Evening Are living modified the comedy scene in New York, Belzer carried out with John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Invoice Murray and others at the Nationwide Lampoon Radio Hour. In 1975, he become the warm-up comedian for the newly introduced SNL. Whilst many solid participants temporarily become well-known, Belzer’s roles have been most commonly smaller cameos. He later mentioned SNL author Lorne Michaels reneged on a promise to paintings him into the display.

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