Mariska Hargitay & ‘Law & Order’ Cast Remember Richard Belzer – Hollywood Life

Mariska Hargitay & More ‘Law & Order’ Stars Mourn Richard Belzer: ‘I Miss Your Unique Light’

Richard Belzer's 'Law & Order' family paid their respects to the beloved actor, as Mariska Hargitay said she misses his 'singular take on this strange world.'

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Richard Belzer was honored by his TV family from Law & Order: SVU after he passed away at the age of 78. The legendary comedian/actor played Detective John Munch on the celebrated series from 1999 to 2016. Following the news of his death on Sunday, February 19, Mariska Hargitay started the outpouring of love and support from the cast of the police procedural by taking to her Instagram. “Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world,” she wrote alongside a lovely photo of the late comedian/actor.

Mariska Hargitay

“I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you side by side, for so many years,” the actress continued. “How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so very much, now and forever.” See more tributes from other Law & Order: SVU stars below.

Christopher Meloni

Christopher Meloni took to Twitter to share his tribute to his late co-star. He posted a throwback photo of himself giving Richard a big smooch on the cheek, with Richard flashing a big smile while staring straight at the camera. “Good bye mon ami,” Christopher wrote. “I love you. #TheBelz.”


Ice-T also starred on SVU with Richard, and posted a photo of them on set together to Instagram. “Highs and lows,” he wrote. ‘After one of the most amazing weeks of my life, I wake up to the news that I lost my friend today. Belz is gone. Damn it! But remember this..’When you ARE having real fun and are truly happy, ENJOY it to the fullest! Cause pain is inevitably coming.’I ‘ll miss you homie.”

Dean Winters

Dean Winters played Richard’s partner on the show, and shared his own touching tribute on Instagram, as well. “Richard Belzer was my brother,” he wrote. “We became fast friends in 92 when I was a bartender, faster friends when I did my first job on NBC’s Homicide: Life on the Street. In 1998 he called me and said, ‘Baby, Dick Wolf is doing a new show called Law & Order: SVU and he wants me to be on it. I told Dick, ‘Only if you make Dean Winters my partner, Brian Cassidy.’ Baby are you in?’ I was in. There aren’t a lot of people with class like that left. Everyone can have water, not everyone can have class. Richard Belzer had class for days. I will miss this man very much.”

Dick Wolf

Dick Wolf, who created SVU, shared his sentiments about Richard in a statement to PEOPLE. “I first worked with Richard on the Law & Order/Homicide crossover and loved the character so much that I told Tom that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on SVU,” he said. “The rest is history. Richard brought humor and joy into all of our lives, was the consummate professional and we will all miss him very much.”

Julie Martin


Julie Martin, who worked as a writer and executive producer on SVU, posted her statement on Twitter. “Missing Richard Belzer today,” she wrote. “Working with him on Homicide to SVU has been a hilarious, surprising and always joyful experience. I’m sure he’s giving ’em all a lot of laughs upstairs.

Danny Pino

Danny Pino was on SVU from 2011 until 2015, and had fond memories with Richard during that time. “You made me laugh, welcomed me, emboldened me,” he wrote on Instagram. “Showed me how precious, beautiful and ridiculous it all is. Taught me to hit a speed bag. Made me a Rolling Stones fan. Taught me grace. Opened your home. Gave back. Made me laugh. Made us laugh.”

Belzer’s iconic character of Detective John Munch was first introduced on Dick Wolf’s Homicide in 1993. After the show wrapped in 1999, Wolf wrote Munch as part of the spinoff Law & Order: SVU and the detective found himself relocating from Baltimore to New York to join forces with Det. Olivia Benson (Hargitay) and Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). The show debuted in September 1999 and Belzer stayed for 14 seasons.

“I love the character. The writers got to know me. The character of Munch was really close to how I do things,” Belzer told Smashing Interviews in 2017. “It was a dream come true for me and an utter delight to play this character for so many years. I’m very lucky.”

Belzer’s longtime family friend, writer Bill Scheft, confirmed the news of his passing to The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, saying the actor “had died with this family around him.” The star passed away at his home in southwest France after a struggle with “lots of health issues,” Scheft told the outlet. And to perfectly sum up Belzer’s acerbic wit, Scheft added, “His last words were, ‘F*** you, m***********.’”

HollywoodLife will continue to share tributes from the ‘Law & Order’ cast as they come in. Stay tuned for more…