The comic and longtime star of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Homicide: Life on the Street Richard Belzer has died at the age of seventy-eight.
The sad news was shared by The Hollywood Reporter, who also spoke to his close friend Bill Scheft. As well as confirming the death of his friend, Scheft shared Belzer’s exact last words, which have been widely praised by all corners of the internet.
The actor first found success in Hollywood with his film debut in 1974’s The Groove Tube, where he starred alongside Chevy Chase.
He spoke to The AV Club about his experience filming this first project back in 2010.
“We were very high. When we wrote it, when we shot it, when we premièred it, and when we realised we’d made a movie,” he said.
“It was truly underground in the sense that before it was a movie, we had a little theatre and we showed Groove Tube on three monitors in a ninety-seat theatre. So for people to pay to see television, before cable, it was pretty innovative.”
However, it wasn’t long until Belzer found his comic ability propelling him forward, making his Saturday Night Live debut in 1975; he would go on to repeatedly feature in the iconic sketch show.
However, it has to be said that Belzer’s most defining role of his career is that as the Baltimore detective John Munch. The character came out of Homicide: Life on the Streets, but travelled much further on our screens, and appeared not only in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit but he also crossed over into productions such as The X Files, Arrested Development and even The Wire.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Barry Levinson, executive producer of the original Homicide series where the iconic character was born, said: “We were looking at some other actors, and when I heard him, I said, ‘Why don’t we find out about Richard Belzer?’
“I like the rhythm of the way he talks. And that’s how that happened.”
Speaking to The Comic’s Comic back in 2008, Belzer himself discussed how widely adored his role as the detective was.
““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 recognisable and lovable as the sarcastic detective and smart-a**,” he said.
“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.”
Tributes to the star have flooded in, and people are praising his “pretty bada**” last words.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Belzer’s friend Scheft confirmed that he has “had lots of health issues,” but also that his final words were: “F*ck you, mother*cker.”
One person said in response to this news: “What away to Go eh? Sir you have made my day.”
Another wrote: “Sad to see Richard Belzer die at seventy-eight, but if his reported last words are correct, I love him. I can only hope to have the same witty last words…”
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