Richard Belzer dies at 78


February 24, 2023

(JTA) — Richard Belzer wasn’t just a hard-boiled Jew who rose from a troubled childhood to the top of his field — he played one on TV.

Belzer, who died Sunday at 78, was a familiar face because of his longstanding roles on “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” “Law and Order: SVU” and other TV shows. In each of those series, he played a presumptively Jewish detective named John Munch whose biography overlapped significantly with Belzer’s own.

Belzer was born in 1944 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and had what he described as a difficult childhood. His mother was abusive; his father and brother both di...

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