Richard Belzer, 'Law & Order: SVU' Star and Beloved Comedian, Dead at 78

A cause of death for the actor is not yet known.

Richard Belzer, Law & Order: SVU star and acclaimed comedian, has died. Former Late Show with David Letterman writer Bill Scheft confirmed Belzer's death to The Hollywood Reporter. "He had lots of health issues, and his last words were, 'F**k you, motherf***er,'" Scheft told THR.

Belzer died early Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. He was 78. A cause of death for the actor is not yet known.

Belzer stared as the beloved Detective John Munch on 1993's Homicide: Life on the Streets before taking the role to where it perhaps became most notable, Law & Order: SVU. Belzer starred as Munch on the long-running show until 2013. In addition to SVU, Belzer appeared on the original Law & Order as well as Trial by Jury, playing the role for 23 years in total, across 12 different TV series including The X-FilesThe Beat, The WireArrested Development, 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. His last appearance as John Munch was in a guest spot on Law & Order: SVU in 2016.

While Belzer got his start as a comedian -- appearing as a warm-up act during the initial run of Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1980, as well being a feature player on the National Lampoon Radio Hour -- he had a handful of smaller roles in films like Fame (1980), Author! Author! (1982) and Scarface (1983). He also guest starred on several TV shows, including MoonlightingMiami Vice, and Tattingers. Additionally, Belzer had a recurring role in the original The Flash in 1991 and in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

A published author, Belzer ultimately retired from acting in 2016.

Following news of his death, Belzer was remembered by his colleagues in the comedy world, including Marc Maron and Saturday Night Live OG, Laraine Newman.

"I’m so sad to hear of Richard Belzer’s passing. I loved this guy so much. He was one of my first friends when I got to New York to do SNL. We used to go out to dinner every week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster," Newman wrote. "One of the funniest people ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest."

Maron, meanwhile tweeted, "Richard Belzer died. He was an original. One of the greats, babe. I loved the guy. RIP."

Patton Oswalt also weighed in, writing, "Aw goddamit, RIP Richard Belzer. I just always thought he’d be around ‘cause it seemed like he always was. A true original. #TheBelzBabe."

Belzer is survived by his wife, and Homicide: Life on the Street co-star, Harlee McBride, and stepdaughters Jessica and Bree.