Richard Jay Belzer was born on the 4th August 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut USA, of Jewish descent. He is a comedian and actor, recognised as John Munch, the character from the television series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999 – present), and “Homicide: Life on the Street” (1993 – 1999). Richard Belzer has been accumulating his net worth being active in the entertainment business since 1972.
How rich is the actor? It has been estimated that the overall size of Richard Belzer’s net worth is as much as $16 million, as of the data given in mid-2016.
Richard Belzer Net Worth $16 Million
To begin with, Belzer was born the second child in the family; Belzer’s mother, Francis Belzer, died of cancer when he was 18 years old, his father, Charles Belzer, committed suicide when he was 22 years old, and his elder brother committed suicide too, in 2014.
Getting back to Belzer’s youth, after he matriculated from the Andrew Warde High School in Fairfield, Belzer studied at the Dean Junior College in Franklin (Massachusetts), but from which he was expelled after his participation as a ringleader in student demonstrations. In the 1960s, he worked as a journalist for the Bridgeport Post and briefly as a yoga teacher. Then Richard joined the US Army.
At the end of the 1960s, he moved to New York, where he pursued a career as a stand-up comedian in nightclubs like The Improv, Pips, and Catch a Rising Star; in addition, Belzer was temporarily working for the television show “Saturday Night Live” as a warm-up comedian. In the 1970s, he started his career as an actor, and in the following years he had supporting roles in films such as “Scarface”, “Nightshift” and others. There were also presentations of humorous radio broadcasts as “Brink & Belzer”, and guest appearances in programs like “The Howard Stern Show” and similar. In the 1980s, he hosted the talk show “Hot Properties”; in this show the wrestler Hulk Hogan, once demonstrated his martial art signature movement, and Belzer fell to the ground unconscious, and hit on the head, which resulted in an injury. Belzer subsequently received from Hogan a seven-figure sum for pain and suffering, with which he bought a house in France. As a result, the sum has significantly increased Richard Belzer’s net worth.
In the 1990s, Belzer appeared in numerous television series, and took part as a voice actor in animated series like “South Park”. He also appeared in “Superman – The Adventures of Lois & Clark” (1994). He starred in “Homicide” (1993-1999) and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999 – present), respectively, in the role of police detective John Munch. To add more, Belzer often participates in political and humorous television shows like “Real Time with Bill Maher”.
Finally, in the personal life of the actor, Belzer has been married three times – he has been married to Harlee McBride since 1985. Prior to this, he was married to Dalia Danoch from 1976 to 1978, and Gail Susan Ross from 1966 to 1972.
Is a supporter of the North Shore Animal League. However his poodle fox terrier, Bebe, was adopted in France when he followed Belz home one day. Bebe is his near-constant companion, especially at public events.
A paper boy in his youth in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he later worked as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post and several other newspapers around the country. Other jobs included teacher, census-taker, jewelry salesman and dockworker.
Survived testicular cancer in 1984.
Was the audience warm-up comedian for Saturday Night Live (1975) in its premiere season and made three guest appearances on the show in 1976 and 1978.
Testified on behalf of a low-level criminal who ran onto the set of Homicide: Life on the Street (1993) while fleeing actual Baltimore police and surrendered to the actors; Belzer said the look on the guy's face was sufficient punishment.
Was going to appear in Chevy Chase's movie, Modern Problems (1981), but scheduling conflicts could not be worked out. The date for the shooting of his scene was postponed twice and the day his scene was supposed to be shot, Belzer had a lucrative club date in New York, which was postponed at the last minute.
Auditioned for the role of Groucho Marx in the Tommy Tune production "A Day in Hollywood, a Night in the Ukraine". Belzer taught himself two songs from the 1930s ("Satin Doll" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"), but did not get the role.
Has played himself in the musical drama movie Fame (1980).
Wrestler Hulk Hogan hurt him while demonstrating a wrestling move on a television show called Hot Properties (1985). He was knocked unconscious and required stitches on his head. He sued Hogan for $5 million, but later settled out of court.
If you tell a lie that's big enough, and you tell it often enough, people will believe you're telling the truth, even if what you're saying is total crap.
[on his reduced screen time in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999)]: It's mystifying to me. And I have to admit my feelings are slightly hurt. But I do feel flattered my fans miss me!
[2010 - on making The Wrong Guys (1988)] Richard Lewis, Tim Thomerson, Louie Anderson. We had more laughs on that movie than legally allowed. We were slowing the filming, just laughing hysterically. That's all I remember. Really having a great time. Of course, the movie wasn't considered the Citizen Kane of comedy, but I thought it was a sweet movie. More of a kids' movie, but marketed as an adult comedy, which was the problem. A lot of good memories, though, I'll tell ya that. Richard Lewis and I were very close friends. We started hanging out in the early '70s, Catch A Rising Star and Improv. We were very close. And Tim was a good friend. Louie was a friend, I didn't know him that well, but I knew him. It was wild. One day, we literally almost died, laughing so hard. We were working on the side of the mountain, we started rolling down the side of the mountain as we were laughing. I have to say Tim Thomerson is one of the funniest people I've ever met.
[on landing his small role in Scarface (1983)] I was asked to audition. Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay and Brian De Palma directed. I went to audition for the producer, and the producer said "Okay, Richard, do your act." And I said, "No, I don't work in offices, I work at clubs. If you guys want to come down to one of the clubs and see me, then I'd be glad to." And then they gave me a script, like an MC script that they wanted me to ad-lib off of, and I refused to do that, and I could see that the producer was getting angry. I think Oliver was a bit amused, because I know 20 other comedians had gone in and done stuff for them, and I didn't. So I got the part. But the producer knew who I was and had seen me work, so he just said, "Make sure it's funny. We want the audience in the theater to laugh the way the audience in a club would." So, they let me write my own stuff, and I felt good about that. Let me make the coke jokes I wanted.
[on United States soldiers serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom] You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They're 19- and 20-year-old kids who couldn't get a job.
It's this patronizing thing that people have about if you're against the war everyone's lumped together. You know, the soldiers are not scholars, they're not war experts.
[on his long-running character, Detective John Munch] Munch is the guy who says what a lot of people wouldn't dare say.
Anybody who thinks there's not a vast right-wing conspiracy in this country must also think that Ken Starr should be our next ambassador to Luxembourg.
I've known Chevy Chase for so long, I actually knew him when he was funny!