The actor played Detective John Munch in 11 prime-time shows starting in 1993.

Richard Belzer, The stand-up comedian, actor and writer died at the age of 78. The news of his death Saturday Night Live alum Laraine Newmanhe left a message about his death Twitterand later confirmed by his friend Bill Scheft for The Hollywood Reporter.

Belzer’s performing career began in 1972 after he moved to New York City and began performing as a stand-up comedian. He eventually became the opening act Saturday Night Live and made several guest appearances on the popular program between 1975 and 1980. His acting career began in 1978, and he appeared in small, background roles in projects. It wasn’t until 1992 that he found a role and a character that would define his career and be a historic achievement any actor would be proud of.


His most recognizable and consistent role is as Detective John Munch, which first appeared in the 1992 series. Murder: Life on the Streets and became the central character in both Law and order and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. He played the character until he retired from acting in 2016 at the age of 71. The X-Filesmy friend Law and order spin off Law and Order: Trial by Juryand HBO Classics The Wireacross six different networks, making Munch the only fictional character to appear in eleven different television shows played by the same actor.

Image via NBC

RELATIONSHIP: These are their stories: Every Law & Order show as rated by IMDb

Belzer’s legendary run as Munch

The 11-series stat isn’t Belzer’s only milestone as Detective Munch, as he holds the record for most consecutive seasons in the same role. Combining his 7 seasons Murder: Life on the Streets and 15 seasons Law & Order: SVUhe played a total of 22 seasons with Munch, breaking the previous record of 20. SVU co-creator and series lead Mariska Hargitay broke the record for playing the role of Olivia Benson during the series’ 24th season.

We at Collider offer our condolences to Belzer’s family and loved ones.