Richard Belzer Tributes From Fellow Comics

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Actor and comedian Richard Belzer is being mourned by many former colleagues and friends. The longtime star as Det. John Munch on TV’s Law & Order franchise died today (Feb. 19, 2023) at age 78, at his home in France, after a period of declining health. One fellow comic said “he made me laugh a billion times.” The Hollywood Reporter aptly referred to him in the headline of his obituary as a “smart ass.” Here are some of the initial tributes from Richard Lewis, Laraine Newman, Pat Benatar, and others.

From Laraine Newman, a member of Saturday Night Live‘s original Not Ready For Prime Time Players:

From longtime SNL staff writer Alan Zweibel:

From Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo: “Another old friend gone… rest in peace Belz💔”

From his official biography: The veteran standup comic, actor and author was born in Bridgeport, Conn. Due to his “uncontrollable wit,” Belzer was thrown out of every school he ever attended. Prior to his career in showbiz, Belzer worked as a teacher, census-taker, jewelry salesman, dockworker and a reporter for the Bridgeport Post, among a slew of other Connecticut newspapers.

If you’ve read this far, perhaps you’re “today year’s old” when you learned that Belzer appears on the cover of Billy Joel’s Turnstiles album, just below the “I” in the title.

Speaking of which… Henry Winkler, Belzer’s cousin, tweeted, “Rest in Peace, Richard.”

From Law & Order creator, Dick Wolf: “Detective John Munch is one of television’s iconic characters… Richard brought humor and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional and we will all miss him very much.”

From the son of his longtime co-star, Jerry Orbach:

And, boy, he did a great Mick Jagger impersonation…

Related: Musicians and celebrities we’ve lost in 2023

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  1. Kirk1480
    #1 Kirk1480 20 February, 2023, 00:15

    The first time I ever heard him was on National Lampoon’s That’s Not Funny That’s Sick. He was talk show host Dick Ballentine, “the best looking guy you’ll ever hear”. This album had a lot of characters who became the original SNL gang, which is why he almost was also.

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  2. Dragyn
    #2 Dragyn 20 February, 2023, 15:48

    One of the best on L&O, sad day when he retired, but he’s Home now, and entertaining the crowds! RIP, Belz, you are missed…

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