Richard Belzer, the adored comic who rose to fame playing the cynical but tenacious detective John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, has passed away.
He was known for his edgy stand-up routines in the beginning. He was 78.
Why was Richard Belzer expelled?
Belzer’s tenure at Dean Junior College in Massachusetts came to a sudden end when he was expelled for orchestrating on-campus protests. Belzer, who self-described as having “uncontrollable wit,” frequently caused trouble in the classroom.
Then came a slew of strange occupations, such as census taker, dock worker, and diamond salesman. He once worked for The Bridgeport Post as a journalist in pursuit of a profession.
Belzer had to reevaluate his goals after a catastrophe. In 1967, three years after his mother Frances passed away from breast cancer, his father Charles, a salesman who was grieving over the loss of his wife, attempted his life.
Belzer located him and spared his life, but his father was successful a year later. (In 2014, after his wife, Sesame Street director Emily Squires, had passed away, Belzer’s brother, who created the radio show The Comedy Hour, would similarly commit suicide by jumping off the roof of his Upper West Side apartment building.)
Belzer claimed that after being deeply affected by his father’s passing, he thought it was time to try humor.
Why did Richard Belzer wear sunglasses?
Since glaucoma increases pressure inside the eyeball, Belzer conceals it by donning sunglasses. He has claimed that he has worn glasses since he was 8 years old and that he underwent laser eye surgery on one eye when the signs and symptoms of his sickness got worse.