The “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” crew is mourning Richard Belzer following the news of his death at the age of 78. On Feb. 19, Universal Television and NBC issued a statement confirming the actor had died.
Belzer introduced the world to one of television’s most loved and well-known cops, Detective John Munch, on the series “Homicide: Life on the Street” in 1993. He went on to reprise the character in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and starred on the hit NBC series from 1999 to 2013.
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After learning about Belzer’s death, many of his former “SVU” cast members took to social media to celebrate his legacy. “SVU” star Mariska Hargitay posted a heartfelt message to Instagram.
“Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world,” she wrote in a statement. She added, “I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years. How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already.”
Christopher Meloni, who plays Detective Elliot Stabler in the “Law & Order” universe, uploaded an emotional photo to Twitter of him planting a kiss on Belzer’s cheek. “Good bye mon ami. I love you. #TheBelz,” he said in the post.
In a second tweet, Meloni uploaded a throwback photo of Hargitay feeding Belzer on set as Olivia Benson and John Munch. On Instagram, Meloni called Belzer a “beautiful soul” and “a dapper dresser.”
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“Never met anyone like him, and I never will again,” he wrote in a post on Feb. 19. “Ur last words have helped make ur passing easier to take.”
Dick Wolf, producer of the “Law & Order” franchise, paid tribute to Belzer on Instagram, calling Munch “one of television’s iconic characters.”
“I first worked with Richard on the ‘Law & Order’/ ‘Homicide’ crossover and loved the character so much,” Wolf recalled. “I told Tom (Fontana) that I wanted to make him one of the original characters on ‘SVU.’ The rest is history.”
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