Prolific comedian Richard Belzer, who rose to fame for his performance on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, passed away at age 78. The actor died early Sunday in his house in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France, as confirmed by his longtime friend Bill Scheft.
Scheft told The Hollywood Reporter that Belzer had a lot of health issues, which eventually took over the actor’s body. In his younger days, he appeared on Saturday Night Live and entertained audiences with his charm and way of words.
RELATED: Popular Child Actor Lance Kerwin, Who Shot to Fame as the Star of NBC’s ‘James at 15’, Passed Away at 62
Friends Commemorate Stand-Up Legend And Smart-Ass TV Cop Richard Belzer
Richard Belzer’s friends in the industry paid their tributes and reminisced their moments together. Law & Order creator told Variety:
“I first worked with Richard on the ‘Law & Order’/’Homicide’ crossover [episode in 1997] and loved the character so much, I told Tom (Fontana) that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on ‘SVU.’ The rest is history. Richard brought humor and joy into all our lives, was the consummate professional, and we will all miss him very much.”
NBC and Universal Television also remembered Belzer and his contribution to the entertainment industry.
“His professionalism, talents and dedication to the craft made him a pillar in the industry, but it was his humor, compassion and loving heart that made him family. Our condolences go out to his loved ones as we join them in mourning his loss, but also in celebrating his memory.”
RELATED: Eminem’s Long Time Stunt Double Ryan Shepard Gets Fatally Hit by a Truck
Richard Jay Belzer was born on August 4, 1944 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He attended Dean College in Massachusetts but was unfortunately expelled. He started working as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post in the 1960s.
When Belzer moved to New York in 1972, he began working as a stand-up comedian. He became part of the Channel One comedy group, which served as the basis for the film The Groove Tube. Belzer made his first TV appearance in the said movie.
Known for his detective roles, Belzer admitted he was not afraid of being typecast. In a 2008 interview with The Comic’s Comic, the comedian explained that it is “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.”
RELATED: Gregory Allen Howard, Writer Behind ‘Harriet’ and ‘Remember the Titans’ Has Passed Away
A Brief Outline Of Richard Belzer’s Outstanding Career
Richard Belzer’s film credits include Fame, Scarface, Fletch Lives, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Mad Dog and Glory, The Puppet Masters, and A Very Brady Sequel, to name a few. His TV guesting include Moonlighting, Miami Vice, The Larry Sanders Show, and Mad About You.
The comedian also worked in radio and co-hosted a show entitled Brink & Belzer in the 1970s on New York City’s 660AM WNBC. He also appeared as a guest host on Air America Radio in 2008 and was a frequent visitor on The Howard Stern Show.
Belzer was also an author. He wrote UFO’s, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe, How to Be a Stand-Up Comic, and Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups.
His other TV stints include The X-Files, The Beat, The Wire, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Richard Bezler is survived by his third wife, Harlee McBride, who also starred in Homicide: Life on the Street, and two stepdaughters.
Source: THR, Variety, The Comic’s Comic
RELATED: Bob Marley’s Grandson and Celebrated Reggae Artist Jo Mersa Marley Passes Away at 31