Richard Belzer, Comedian And 'Law & Order' Star, Dead At 78

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Actor and comedian Richard Belzer, best known for his role as John Munch on NBC's longrunning police drama Law & Order, has reportedly died at the age of 78, according to his longtime friend and fellow comedian 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. One of the funniest people ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest," Newman tweeted.

Newman didn't provide any additional details regarding Belzer's reported death.

Belzer began playing the role of John Munch in 1993, which he continued for 23 years across several different incarnations of the television series, as well as being featured across other network programs, before retiring from acting in 2016.

The Connecticut native began his entertainment career as a regular at the famed comedy clubs The Imrpov and Catch a Rising Star in 1972, before later becoming a warm-up act during the initial run of Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1980, as well as a feature player on the National Lampoon Radio Hour, working alongside comedy legends John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and Harold Ramis.

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