Hollywood has lost one if its finest.
Richard Belzer — the actor, comedian and author likely best known known for starring as detective John Munch on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — has passed away.
He was 78 years old.
Belzer died early Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southwest France, according to writer Bill Scheft, a longtime friend of the actor.
“He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, ‘Fuck you, motherfucker,’” Scheft told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday.
Belzer made his big screen debut in the The Groove Tube (1974) and then warmed up audiences in the early days of Saturday Night Live.
He made his first appearance in 1993 on the first episode of Homicide and his last as Mulch in 2016 on Law & Order: SVU.
In between those two NBC dramas, Belzer portrayed the same jaded and acerbic police force member on eight other programs.
“I never asked anyone to be on their show. So it’s doubly flattering to me to see me depicted in a script and that I’m so recognizable and lovable as the sarcastic detective and smart-ass,” Belzer said in a 2008 interview.
“Much to my delight, because he is a great character for me to play, it’s fun for me.
“So I’m not upset about being typecast at all.”
After news of this death went public earlier today, Belzer was mourned by a number of famous friends and well-known names.
“Richard Belzer died. He was an original. One of the greats, babe. I loved the guy. RIP,” wrote Marc Maron, for example.
“The Belz… Even holding his dog he was always the coolest cat in the room,” added Jeff Ross, sharing a throwback photo of Belzer with his poodle-fox terrier mix Bebe.
In 2016, Belzer released the book Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination.
His other books include, but are not limited to, UFOS, JFK and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to be Crazy to Believe and Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups.
Belzer is survived by wife Harlee McBride, who he married in 1985.
May he rest in peace.