American stand-up comedian, actor, and author Richard Jay Belzer. He is best known for playing Detective John Munch in the NBC drama “Homicide: Life on the Street,” which aired for seven seasons before being replaced by “Homicide: The Movie.” Moreover, his character appeared in the subsequent 15 seasons of the crime drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He joined Channel One’s sketch comedy group thanks to his humor, which also helped him land his on-screen debut in the movie “The Groove Tube.” He finally rose to the position of emcee at Catch a Rising Star after being a regular at comedy clubs in New York City. The National Lampoon theatrical performance off of Broadway then offered him a part. He also made appearances in a number of TV shows and movies during this time. Both the horror movie “Species II” and the HBO comedy special “Richard Belzer: Another Lone Nut” included him. In the biographical film “Man on the Moon,” he played himself. He also wrote works based on conspiracy theories, such as “Hit List: An In-Depth Study into the Strange Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination” and “Dead Wrong,” as well as novels like “I Am Not a Police” and “I Am Not a Psychic.”
Early Childhood & Life
Frances and Charles Belzer, who owned a tobacco and confectionery store, welcomed Richard Belzer into the world on August 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. While his father committed suicide when he was 22, his mother died of breast cancer when he was 18 years old.
After graduating from Fairfield Warde High School, he worked as a reporter for the “Bridgeport Post” for a while. Following that, he enrolled in Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts, but was expelled after taking part in student protests. So he gave a number of jobs a shot.
Richard Belzer’s Career
Richard Belzer relocated to New York City in the early 1970s and began performing stand-up comedy at establishments including Pips, The Improv, and Catch a Rising Star. He later joined the Channel One comedy troupe, which led to the 1974 release of his breakthrough movie, “The Groove Tube.”
He took part in the sketch comedy program “Saturday Night Live” and amused the crowd. He participated in the 1975 off-Broadway run of the theatrical adaptation of “National Lampoon.” He was a well-liked performer on the “National Lampoon Radio Hour” from 1973 to 1975 during his formative years. More than 600 US stations carried the show. On WNBC radio, he co-hosted the show “Brink & Belzer.”
He was cast in a number of well-known movies during the 1980s, including “Scarface” in 1983 and “Author! Author!” in 1982. He also got bit parts in “Night Shift” and “Café Flesh.”His humorous abilities helped him land the 1984 season of “The Richard Belzer Show.” He served as the anchor of the late-night television program Hot Properties in 1985. He produced two movies in 1986: “America” and “Charlie Barnett’s Conditions of Enrollment.”
Throughout the 1990s, he appeared in a variety of TV series. He portrayed a news anchor and reporter in “The Flash” in 1990, and he appeared as Inspector William Henderson in “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” in 1994.
He received critical acclaim for his performance as detective John Munch in the 1993 television series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” which he played for seven seasons from 1993 to 1999. He was cast in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” from 1999 to 2016 after the series concluded.
Detective John Munch was featured in a few episodes of seven other shows and a talk show because he was so well-liked in that role. These shows included “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” on NBC, “The Beat” on UPN, and “The X-Files” on Fox.
He also made an appearance in the 1997 HBO comedy special “Richard Belzer: Another Lone Nut,” despite portraying the tough role of detective John Munch. He appeared in the horror movie “Species II” the following year, and in the 1999 biographical “Man on the Moon,” he played himself.
He worked on several movies between 2006 and 2010, including “Copy That” in 2006, “Belzer Vizion” in 2007, “Polish Bar” in 2009, and “Santorini Blue” in 2010. He also appeared in several TV shows during this time, including “Arrested Development” in 2006, “The Wire” in 2008, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Comedy Central Roast of Joan Rivers” in 2009.
He appeared in one episode of “America Declassified” in 2013 and one episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” in 2015, both of which featured a character that was reminiscent of John Munch. His first book of fiction, “I Am Not a Police,” was published in 2008. It was based on a crime series that the made-up character Belzer investigated. ‘I Am Not a Psychic’ followed this book in 2009.
“UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe,” “UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe,” Hit List: An In-Depth Study into the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination, Dead Wrong: Plain Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups and Someone Is Hiding Something: What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?
Bigger Works of Richard Belzer
In 11 separate television series over the course of 23 years, Richard Belzer played the part of detective John Munch and nearly cemented his reputation as the character. For the first time, one actor played the same fictional character on 11 distinct television programs. He actually portrayed the role for 22 straight seasons, appearing in seven seasons of Homicide and 15 seasons of Law & Order: SVU.
He has published numerous books, but three of them—”Someone Is Hiding Something,” “Dead Wrong,” and “Hit List: An In-Depth Investigation”—were particularly well-liked and reached the top of the New York Times bestseller list.
Belzer’s Individual Life
Three marriages have been to Richard Belzer. Gail Susan Ross was the first woman he married; they were divorced in 1972. In 1976, he wed Dalia Danoch, and they were divorced in 1978. He married divorced actress Harlee McBride, who had two daughters, in 1985.
In 1983, he had a testicular cancer diagnosis, which he overcame. On July 30, 2014, Leonard Belzer, his older brother, committed himself by jumping from the 11th story of his New York City apartment. He was 73.
Belzer has multiple rescue pets, and he loves dogs. He was connected to the North Shore Animal League and Animal Fair Media in New York City. He has published a number of papers about animal abuse. He participates in initiatives to reduce gun violence in the US.
Estimated Net Worth
American stand-up comedian, novelist, and actor Richard Belzer has a $16 million fortune. The longest-running character played by Richard Belzer in “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is John Munch.