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General information  

  • Real name : Richard Jay Belzer
  • Place of birth : Bridgeport
  • Date of birth : 04/08/1944

Alias  

  • Belzer Richard

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Richard Belzer (1944)

Richard Jay Belzer

Type :  

  Summary  

Richard Jay Belzer is an American stand-up comedian, author, and actor. He is perhaps best known for his role as John Munch, which he has portrayed as a regular cast member on the NBC police drama series Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as in guest appearances on a number of other series.

  Biography  

 early life and education
Belzer was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He grew up in a Jewish family. After high school, Belzer worked as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post. He attended Dean Junior College in Franklin, Massachusetts.

 career
 Stand-up
After his first divorce, Belzer relocated to New York City, moved in with singer Shelley Ackerman, and began working as a stand-up comic at Pips, The Improv, and Catch a Rising Star. He participated in the Channel One comedy group that satirized television and became the basis for the cult movie The Groove Tube, in which Belzer played the costar of the ersatz TV show "The Dealers."

Belzer was the audience warm-up comedian for Saturday Night Live in its premiere season and made three guest appearances on the show in 1976 and 1978. He also opened for musician Warren Zevon during his tour supporting the release of his album Excitable Boy.

 Film
In the late 1970s and early '80s, Belzer became an occasional film actor. He is noted for his small roles in Fame, Night Shift, and Scarface. Belzer (billed as "Richard Brando") went on to provide the voice of "The Breather" in the box office flop Student Bodies. He also appeared in the music videos for the Mike + The Mechanics song "Taken In" and for the Pat Benatar song "Le Bel Age". He had a movie role as an LAPD detective in A Very Brady Sequel.

 Radio
In addition to his film career, Belzer was a featured player on the National Lampoon Radio Hour with co-stars John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and Harold Ramis, a half-hour comedy program aired on some 600 U.S. stations from 1973 to 1975. Several of his sketches were released on National Lampoon albums drawn from the Radio Hour, including several bits in which he portrayed a pithy call-in talk show host named "Dick Ballentine".

In the late 1970s, he cohosted Brink & Belzer on 660AM WNBC radio in . He has also been a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show; he is noted for his combative, but playful, banter.

Following the departure of Randi Rhodes from Air America Radio, Belzer guest-hosted the afternoon program on the network.

 Television
In the 1990s, Belzer appeared frequently on television. He was a regular on The Flash television show. In several episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, he played Inspector William Henderson.

He followed that success with starring roles on the Baltimore-based Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–99) and the New York-based Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–), portraying police detective John Munch in both series. Barry Levinson, executive director of Homicide, said Belzer was a "lousy actor" during his audition when he first read lines from the script for "Gone for Goode", the first episode in the series. Levinson asked Belzer to take some time to reread and practice the material, then come back and read it again. During his second reading, Levinson said Belzer was "still terrible", but that the actor eventually found confidence in his performance.

In addition, he has also played Munch in episodes of seven other series and in a sketch on one talk show, making Munch the only fictional character to appear on ten different television shows played by a single actor. These shows were on five different networks:

  • Homicide: Life on the Street
  • Law & Order
  • The X-Files
  • The Beat
  • Law & Order: Trial by Jury
    • Belzer's appearance on Trial by Jury, which aired April 15, 2005, made him the third actor ever to play the same character in six different prime time TV series. The other two actors are John Ratzenberger and George Wendt, who played Cliff Clavin and Norm Peterson, respectively, in Cheers (1982–93); St. Elsewhere ; The Tortellis ; Wings ; The Simpsons ; and Frasier .


  • Arrested Development
  • The Wire
  • 30 Rock
    • The characters are watching a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode, the scene was shot for 30 Rock


  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
  • Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Belzer also appeared in several of Comedy Central's televised broadcasts of Friars Club roasts. At the December 1, 2002, roast of Chevy Chase, Belzer said, "The only time Chevy Chase has a funny bone in his body is when I fuck him up the ass." On June 9, 2001, Belzer himself was honored by the New York Friars Club and the Toyota Comedy Festival as the honoree of the first-ever roast that was open to the public. Comedians and friends on the dais included Roastmaster Paul Shaffer; Christopher Walken; Danny Aiello; Barry Levinson; Robert Klein; Bill Maher; SVU costars Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, and Dann Florek; and Law & Order's Jerry Orbach.

Belzer also voiced the character of Loogie for most of the episode of South Park entitled "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000". He and Brian Doyle-Murray were featured in the tenth-season premiere of Sesame Street.

Belzer has portrayed Det. Munch for nineteen consecutive seasons on live-action primetime television, one season short of tying Kelsey Grammer (who portrayed Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers and Frasier from 1984–2004) and James Arness (who portrayed Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke from 1955–75) for the record of twenty consecutive seasons.

 personal life
Belzer married actress Harlee McBride in 1985, from whom he has two step-daughters. His previous marriages were with Gail Susan Ross (1966–72) and Dalia Danoch (1976–78), both of which ended in divorce. He owns property in the south of France, where he and his wife Harlee live when Belzer is not working in the United States.

Belzer survived testicular cancer in 1984. His HBO special and comedy CD Another Lone Nut pokes fun at this as well as his status as a well-known "conspiracy theorist".

On March 27, 1985, just days prior to the inaugural WrestleMania, Belzer requested on his cable TV talk show Hot Properties that Hulk Hogan demonstrate one of his signature wrestling moves. After consistently refusing but being egged on by Belzer, Hogan put Belzer in a modified Guillotine choke, which caused Belzer to pass out. When Hogan released him, Belzer hit his head on the floor, sustaining a laceration to the scalp that required a brief hospitalization.

Belzer sued Hogan for $5 million and later settled out of court; the settlement was rumored at $1.5 million. On October 20, 2006, on Bubba the Love Sponge, it was claimed that the settlement totaled $5 million, half from Hogan and half from Vince McMahon. During his June 23, 2008 appearance on Sirius Satellite Radio's The Howard Stern Show, Belzer suggested that the real settlement amount was actually closer to $400,000. He used the incident in his HBO special Another Lone Nut as part of his stand-up routine.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Richard Belzer", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.