Richard Belzer Biography, Age, Family, Early Life & Education, Career

American stand-up comedian, actor, and author Richard Jay Belzer. In the NBC drama “Homicide: Life on the Street,” which ran for seven seasons before being replaced by “Homicide: The Movie,” he is best recognised for his role as Detective John Munch. At the age of 78, Richard Belzer passed away on February 19, 2023. Read on to learn more about Richard Belzer’s life.

Richard Belzer Biography

Longtime friend Bill Scheft confirmed that Belzer passed away on Sunday at his home in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, southern France. There is no documented cause of death, however Scheft, a writer who was working on a documentary about Belzer, reported that Belzer had been having circulatory and pulmonary problems. Henry Winkler, an actor and Belzer’s cousin, tweeted “Rest in peace Richard.”

Richard Belzer was a long time stand up and truly an original. Let’s know more about him from RICHARD BELZER BIOGRAPHY below.

Birth name Richard Jay Belzer
Born August 4, 1944
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
Died February 19, 2023 (aged 78)
Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France
Work includes
  • Stand-up
  • film
  • television
  • books
  • radio
Spouse Gail Susan Ross

Dalia Danoch

​Harlee McBride

Relative(s) Henry Winkler (cousin)
Notable works and roles John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Early life and education

In Connecticut’s Bridgeport, Belzer was born. He was raised in a Jewish household. Belzer worked as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post after graduating from high school. He attended Franklin, Massachusetts’ Dean Junior College.

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Belzer travelled to New York City following his first divorce, stayed there with singer Shelley Ackerman, and started performing stand-up comedy at Pips, The Improv, and Catch a Rising Star.

In the cult classic The Groove Tube, in which Belzer played a cast member of the fictional TV show “The Dealers,” he was a member of the Channel One comedy group that mocked television.

Belzer made three guest appearances on Saturday Night Live between 1976 and 1978, serving as the show’s opening act comic. Also, he served as Warren Zevon’s opening act on the tour in support of the album Excitable Boy.


Belzer started working as a bit part actor in movies in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. He is renowned for his supporting parts in Scarface, Night Shift, and Fame. Belzer then provided the voice of “The Breather” in the box office dud Student Bodies under the guise of “Richard Brando.”

Also, he had an appearance in the music videos for the songs “Taken In” by Mike + The Mechanics and “Le Bel Age” by Pat Benatar. In the motion picture A Very Brady Sequel, he played an LAPD detective.


In addition to his work in movies, Belzer appeared in the half-hour comedy series The National Lampoon Radio Hour from 1973 to 1975 with John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and Harold Ramis as his co-stars.

A number of his sketches, including a few in which he played the witty call-in talk show host “Dick Ballentine,” were published on National Lampoon albums culled from the Radio Hour.

Also, he frequently appears on The Howard Stern Show, where he is known for his aggressive yet humorous banter.

Randi Rhodes left Air America Radio, and Belzer took over as the network’s midday host in her place.

Richard Belzer Biography


Belzer frequently made appearances on television in the 1990s. He frequently appeared on the TV programme The Flash. He played Inspector William Henderson in multiple episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

In the years that followed, he played police detective John Munch in the hit television series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1999) from Baltimore and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–). As Belzer read lines from the script for “Gone for Goode,” the first episode of the series, during his audition, Barry Levinson, executive director of Homicide, called him a “lousy actor.” Belzer was instructed by Levinson to reread and practise the material before returning to study it once again. Belzer was “still horrible” during Levinson’s second reading, but the actor eventually gained confidence in his work.

Munch is the only fictional character to appear on 10 separate television shows performed by a single actor, having also appeared in episodes of seven other series and a sketch on one talk show. The following five networks carried these shows:

  • Homicide: Life on the Street (NBC)
  • Law & Order (NBC)
  • The X-Files (Fox)
  • The Beat (UPN)
  • Law & Order: Trial by Jury (NBC)

Belzer became only the third actor to ever portray the same role in six different prime time TV programmes when he appeared on Trial by Jury, which aired on April 15, 2005. The other two actors are John Ratzenberger and George Wendt, who played Cliff Clavin in Cheers (1982–1993), Norm Peterson in The Simpsons (1994), The Tortellis in Wings (1990), and Cliff Clavin in St. Elsewhere (1985).

Belzer also made an appearance in numerous of the Friars Club roasts that were broadcast live on Comedy Central. Belzer quipped, “The only time Chevy Chase has a funny bone in his body is when I screw him up the ass,” at the roast of Chevy Chase on December 1, 2002.

Belzer was honoured as the subject of the first-ever public roast on June 9, 2001, by the New York Friars Club and the Toyota Comedy Festival. Roastmaster Paul Shaffer, Law & Order star Jerry Orbach, SVU co-stars Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, and Dann Florek, as well as Christopher Walken, Danny Aiello, Barry Levinson, Robert Klein, and Bill Maher were among the comedians and pals on the dais.

Throughout the majority of the South Park episode “The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000,” Belzer also provided the voice for the character of Loogie. Sesame Street’s tenth season opener included him and Brian Doyle-Murray.

Belzer has played Det. Munch on live-action primetime television for nineteen seasons in a row, falling one season short of breaking the record of twenty consecutive seasons shared by Kelsey Grammer and James Arness, who played Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke from 1955 to 1975 and Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers and Frasier, respectively, from 1984 to 2004.

Personal life

Both of Belzer’s first two marriages—to boutique manager Dalia Danoch in 1976 and to Gail Susan Ross in 1966—ended in divorce.

In 1985, Belzer wed the actress Harlee McBride, with whom he had two stepdaughters. His earlier unions—with Gail Susan Ross (1966–1972) and Dalia Danoch (1976–1978—which ended in divorce—were both annulled. While Belzer is not working in the US, he and his wife Harlee reside in a villa in the south of France.

In 1984, Belzer overcame testicular cancer. This as well as his notoriety as a well-known “conspiracy theorist” are made fun of in his HBO special and comedy CD Another Lone Nut.

Leonard Belzer, Belzer’s older brother, committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the opulent apartment building he was living in in New York City on July 30, 2014, when he was 73 years old. Belzer’s father had committed suicide as well in 1968.

Belzer portrayed the witty, sardonic homicide detective inclined to conspiracies for more than two decades spanning 10 shows, including cameos on “30 Rock” and “Arrested Development.” We hope that you like this Richard Belzer Biography. Tap to check more Biography.