Richard Belzer reprises his acerbic character Det. John Munch on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” having portrayed the character on a record total of five different dramas including its genesis on NBC’s acclaimed drama series “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Following “Homicide’s” seven-year run in 1999, Belzer’s character transferred from Baltimore to New York to join the crime unit on the new “Law & Order: SVU.”
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“This is one conspiracy in which I was a willing participant,” says Belzer, a renowned conspiracy theorist. In fact, Belzer has played Munch on “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Homicide,” “The X-Files,” and “The Beat.”
The veteran standup comic, actor, talk-show host and author was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Due to his “uncontrollable wit,” Belzer was politely asked to leave every school he ever attended. He first worked as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post and several other newspapers around the country. This interest in journalism is traced directly to his days as a paperboy in his hometown. Belzer eventually honed his life experiences into barbed comedic material drawn from other former jobs including teacher, census-taker, jewelry salesman and dockworker.
Belzer began his career in show business with a starring role in “Groove Tube,” the counterculture film that went on to become a cult classic. Since then, his comedic talents have been featured in every entertainment medium from off-Broadway (“The National Lampoon Show” with Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and John Belushi) to radio (“Brink and Belzer” on WNBC) to film (“Fame,” “Author, Author,” “Night Shift” and “Scarface”).
Belzer also appeared as himself in the Andy Kaufman biopic “Man on the Moon.” His other film credits include “Species II,” “Get on the Bus,” “Girl 6,” “A Very Brady Sequel,” “North,” “The Bonfire of the Vanities” and “The Big Picture.” Additionally, Belzer starred in his own HBO comedy special, “Another Lone Nut,” and released a comedy CD of the same title. He hosted the network primetime special, “When Cars Attack,” starred in the six-part Showtime comedy series “The Richard Belzer Show,” hosted the live Lifetime talk show, “Hot Properties,” and Court TV’s “Crime Stories.”
In addition, Belzer is the author of “UFOs, JFK and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe,” and is the co-author of “How to Be a Standup Comic.” He is co-writing and co-producing two feature films in which he will star, “Standup Guy” and “Noose,” and will be hosting a series of conspiracy-theory prime time specials for the Sci-Fi Channel.
In 2001, Belzer was honored by the New York Friars Club and the Toyota Comedy Festival as the recipient of the first 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, series co-stars Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, and Dann Florek, and “Law & Order’s” Jerry Orbach.
Belzer and his wife, actress Harlee McBride, have two daughters, Jessica and Bree. They live in New York City while filming the series and in France during the rest of the year. His birthday is August 4.
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