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Mariska Hargitay Mourns ‘Law & Order’ Co-Star Richard Belzer: ‘I Miss Your Unique Light’



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Image Credit: Everett Collection

Richard Belzer was honored by his TV family from Law & Order: SVU after he passed away at the age of 78. Following the news of his death on Sunday, February 19, Mariska Hargitay started the outpouring of love and support from the cast of the police procedural by taking to her Instagram. “Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world,” she wrote alongside a lovely photo of the late comedian/actor.

The cast of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ paid tribute to Richard Belzer following his death in Feb. 2023. (Everett Collection)

“I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you side by side, for so many years,” the actress continued. “How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so much, now and forever.”

Belzer’s iconic character of Detective John Munch was first introduced on Dick Wolf’s Homicide in 1993. After the show wrapped in 1999, Wolf wrote Munch as part of the spinoff. Law & Order: SVU and the detective found himself relocating from Baltimore to New York to join forces with Det. Olivia Benson (Hargitay) and Det. Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni). The show debuted in September 1999 and Belzer stayed for 14 seasons.

“I love the character. The writers got to know me. The character of Munch was really close to how I do things,” Belzer told Smashing Interviews in 2017. “It was a dream come true for me and an utter delight to play this character for so many years. I’m very lucky.”

Belzer’s longtime family friend, writer Bill Scheftconfirmed the news of his passing The News84Media on Sunday, saying the actor “had died with this family around him.” The star passed away at his home in southwest France after a struggle with “lots of health issues,” Scheft told the outlet. And to perfectly sum up Belzer’s acerbic wit, Scheft added, “His last words were, ‘F*** you, mp*********.’”

HollywoodLife will continue to share tributes from the ‘Law & Order’ cast as they come in. Stay tuned for more…

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