Mariska Hargitay remembers SVU costar Richard Belzer in emotional tribute

Mariska Hargitay and Richard Belzer (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage)
Mariska Hargitay and Richard Belzer (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage) /

On Feb. 19, Wolf Entertainment lost a beloved member of its family with the passing of actor Richard Belzer at the age of 78. As confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter, the former Law & Order: SVU actor passed at his home in Bozouls in southwest France.

Over his decades-long career, Belzer starred in a number of titles; however, there is absolutely no denying that his most iconic role was that of Detective John Munch. Belzer first originated the role in 1993 in the series Homicide: Life on the Street. After seven seasons, Munch was relocated to Law & Order: SVU where Belzer played the character for another 17 years appearing in 326 episodes across seasons 1-17. In between his roles on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: SVU, Belzer also played Detective Munch on eight other series.

Belzer eventually hung up his gun and badge during the fifteenth season of Law & Order SVU, before returning in season 17 for a special guest appearance. His return in season 17, episode 20, “Fashionable Crimes,” would end up being his final appearance on the show and in the role he played for nearly 25 years.

Mariska Hargitay reacts to passing of SVU costar Richard Belzer

Upon hearing the news of Richard Belzer’s passing, Mariska Hargitay was among Belzer’s many costars who took to social media to honor her former co-star with a touching and emotional message for her friend and frequent scene partner.

"“Goodbye my dead, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world. I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years,” Hargitay wrote. “How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so very much, now and forever.”"

In addition to Hargitay, fellow Law & Order: SVU costars Chris Meloni and Ice T both took to social media as well to honor their late costar in a pair of equally emotional tributes:

Watch One Chicago on fuboTV: Watch over 67 live sports and entertainment channels with a 7-day FREE trial!

On behalf of the One Chicago Center team, our condolences go out to Belzer’s family and friends, as well as to everyone at Wolf Entertainment.

Next. 9 fun facts about Chicago Fire star Jesse Spencer. dark

For the latest Law and Order, SVU, and Organized Crime spoilers and news, plus more on the entire franchise, follow the Law and Order shows category at One Chicago Center.