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His legendary depiction of John Munch on well-known TV programs, such as “Homicide: Life on the Street” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which he served for a record-breaking 23 years from 1993 to 2016, was widely acclaimed.
Moreover, Belzer acted in several well-known movies, including “The Groove Tube,” “Scarface,” “Freeway,” “North,” and “Species II.”
He collaborated with great comics, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis, on the National Lampoon Radio Hour throughout the 1970s.
John Munch Record
John Munch, who Richard Belzer portrayed for numerous decades, is one of the most enduring TV characters in history. He played the part of a regular cast member on Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and the NBC police drama series “Homicide: Life on the Street.”
For the most continuous years playing a single character on television, James Arness and Kelsey Grammer previously held the record, which Belzer’s depiction of Munch shattered.
For 20 seasons, Arness portrayed Marshal Matt Dillon on “Gunsmoke,” and at the same time, Grammer portrayed Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers” as well as “Frasier.”
Belzer appeared in 122 episodes of “Homicide” and 325 episodes of “SVU” while portraying Munch for 22 straight seasons spanning 23 years, from 1993 to 2016.
In addition, he played Munch in cameos on many other television shows, such as “The X-Files,” “The Wire,” and “30 Rock.”
Richard Belzer began his career in show business as a stand-up comedian in NYC at the beginning of the 1970s.
He performed in several places, such as Pips, the Improv, and Catch a Rising Star. From 1975 to 1980, Belzer made several guest appearances on “Saturday Night Live” as an audience-warm-up comedian.
A brief-lived show called “The Richard Belzer Show” debuted in 1984. Belzer then went on to make appearances in several TV programs, such as “Tattingers,” “Moonlighting,” and “Miami Vice.”
He appeared on television more frequently in the 1990s. On the CBS television show “The Flash,” Belzer played a regular role as a news reporter.
He also played Inspector William Henderson role in several outbreaks of “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”
Belzer’s big break came in 1993 when he was cast as Detective John Munch, the lead character, in the homicide drama series “Homicide: Life on the Street.”
The program had a great deal of success and lasted until 1999 for seven seasons.
After it ended, Belzer continued to play John Munch role on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” appearing in 325 episodes until 2016.
In the separate humor “The Groove Tube,” in which he played many characters, Richard Belzer made his film debut in 1974.
He was cast in small roles in “Fame,” “Café Flesh,” “Author! Author!” and “Night Shift,” as well as Brian De Palma’s adaptation of “Scarface” in the early 1980s.
As the decade went on, Belzer made appearances in the comedy movies “The Wrong People,” “The Big Picture,” and “Fletch Lives,” as well as the neo-noir thriller “Freeway.”
During the 1990s, Belzer appeared in several films, including “Off and Running,” “Mad Dog and Glory,” “Dangerous Game,” “North,” “Get on the Bus,” “A Very Brady Sequel,” and “Species II.”
Belzer made an impression on the radio in addition to his work in television and film.
He debuted as a featured performer on the “National Lampoon Radio Hour” in the early 1970s, sharing the stage with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, and John Belushi.
In the late 1970s, he co-hosted a “Brink & Belzer” radio program in New York City. Belzer had frequently been featured on “The Howard Stern Show.” He also appeared on the right-wing conspiracy show hosted by Alex Jones.
Conspiracy Theories And Books
In addition to writing several books on the subject, including “Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country’s Most Controversial Cover-Ups” and “UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe,” Belzer was well known for his belief in conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy.