Richard Belzer (2012)
Photo: Andrew Kelly / REUTERS
He had one of those faces that stick in the memory.
The American actor Richard Belzer, who was best known as a sharp-tongued investigator in the series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit", is dead. Belzer died "peacefully" on Sunday at his home in south-west France, with his Wife and his stepdaughter at his side, Belzer's manager Eric Gardner told the dpa news agency.
He was 78 years old.
Numerous filmmakers paid tribute to the comedian.
Belzer was "just hilarious" and a genius in dealing with his audience, wrote Billy Crystal on Twitter.
With his role as detective John Munch, Belzer created one of the "iconic" TV characters, wrote TV producer Dick Wolf.
She will miss her longtime series partner very much, wrote "Law & Order" actress Mariska Hargitay on Instagram.
"Rest in peace Richard," said a tweet from actor and director Henry Winkler (77), a cousin of the deceased.
Belzer, who was a comedian on the Saturday Night Live sketch show in the 1970s, also had supporting roles in films such as Fame, Scarface and Purgatory of Vanity.
He became known in the 1990s for his role as detective John Munch in over 300 episodes of the hit series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Until 2016, he played the cynical cop at a sex crimes squad in New York.
Trouble because of performance in Monte Carlo 2012
He made negative headlines with a performance at the Monte Carlo TV Festival in 2012.
When he attended the festival, he pressed his index and middle fingers to his upper lip and gave the Hitler salute to match his little beard.
This got him into massive trouble.
Belzer, the son of a Connecticut Jewish kiosk owner, then asserted that the Nazi salute was not meant in a "negative" way.
He only wanted to pay tribute to the Charlie Chaplin film »The Great Dictator«, in which Chaplin parodied Hitler.
"I'm a Jewish comedian, and there's this new thing, it's called satire, irony and historical reference," Belzer said at the time.